“The globe is becoming chaotic and worldwide analysts are looking for reasons. Most agree one of the reasons is in the U.S.,” China’s state-run Global Times declared on Thursday, citing left-wing assaults on female members of the Trump administration as evidence for this conclusion.
According to the unnamed “analysts” pointing fingers of blame for global chaos at the United States, it is all because our wild and unrestrained social media – which is not sensibly controlled and monitored by two million censors like China’s! – has driven the American electorate mad:
Anyone who is familiar with US politics can speak to the notion of “polarization.” Liberal media are finding fault with Trump all day. Given a lack of bipartisan budgetary agreement, the constant threat of a government shutdown has become the norm. Aggression between Democrats and Republicans is getting increasingly fierce. And now, the smell of gunpowder is filling the air even between ordinary citizens with different political leanings.
These problems of US politics are inevitable due to the development of postmodern society and social media. A prominent phenomenon in postmodern society is enlarging social division. People in different social classes tend to care about their own problems and vested interests. The emergence of social media exacerbated such division, with everyone having an exclusive circle of friends to share similar opinions. Consensus among different circles is increasingly hard to reach. As a result, when it looks like public opinions are becoming more diversified, they are actually being polarized.
Social contradictions are thus aggravated, including the divisions between ordinary people and elites, liberals and conservatives, nationalists and globalists, white supremacists and multiculturalists.
Being weighed down by a severely divided society, Washington can no longer bear its global responsibilities and has to focus on its civil strife, which is also influencing diplomacy and stirring up troubles in the world order.
Unsurprisingly, the Global Times produces no evidence whatsoever for its contention that America under President Donald Trump is “inflicting its schizophrenia on the world.” Syria certainly did not have to import any American schizophrenia, and it has been a far more “socially divided” place than the U.S. for a very long time, to name one example.
The audience for propaganda like this is disaffected Europeans and Americans, and it is more than just opportunistic sniping. It is a sales pitch for China’s brand of authoritarianism, under which “consensus” is imposed from the top down, public opinion is neither diverse nor polarized, and provocative thought is strictly quarantined.
The inherent instability of freedom will be a big part of China’s push for authoritarianism in the years to come, long after President Trump has departed the White House. Beijing has good reasons to think it can successfully export its ideology. The notion that free speech is dangerous is hardly confined to Communist China.