The Washington Post Editorial Board Is A Big Fat Idiot

0 Comment

Actually, I’m the idiot for still reading the nonsensical “arguments” published in the Washington Post editorial page. Seriously, it was clear during the run-up to the Iraq War that the WaPo editorial board was populated by a combination of the mentally/morally challenged. Now they’re weighing in on the old “China Model” debate.

Here’s the lede, which tells you a lot at the outset:

In every generation, it seems, some Americans find a foreign alternative to this country’s brand of democratic capitalism. During economic downturns, the grass on the other side of the fence looks especially green. In the Great Depression, many in the United States thought that Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union had cured unemployment. Today, some say we must learn the lessons of China’s state-run capitalism.

Ha ha. Those guys at the WaPo sure are clever. See, they aren’t really, directly comparing China to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, right? After reading that paragraph, though, I think most readers get the hint. And obviously, anything done by a regime that can be compared to those baddies must be completely wrong-headed in all things they do. Conclusion: the China Model is wrong, the U.S. is right. See how easy that was?

They also, later on in the piece, bring up a great little anecdote from a union leader who had commented favorably on the economic health of the city of Chongqing. Ha ha, nice one WaPo. Obviously, given what’s going on at the moment politically with the Chongqing ex-leadership, any and all support for policies implemented in Chongqing must be misguided, and the individuals who made those comments can be made to look foolish – making fun of union leaders is a bonus for these guys. Whether Chongqing is actually doing well or not is beside the question.

Here’s the end of the editorial. Note that the conclusion is very different from the beginning:

China’s ability to reform what is now the second largest economy will affect not only its own people, but the entire world. The fact that a country of such global importance is governed according to the Leninist principles of a self-selected elite — insofar as the rules of the game can be discerned at all — is both a source of weakness in the Chinese model and a sobering concern for the United States and other countries with which China does business.

Though some visitors to China, dazzled by the high-rises and humming factories, may miss the point, the true sources of long-run stability and prosperity, for any nation, are the rule of law and transparent government. China still has neither.

You see the trickery here? China has some political problems, and therefore anyone who expresses any admiration for what is going on in the country is wrong. Probably unpatriotic too, but that’s a guess on my part.

Now, I’m the first to point out when foreign idiots come over here on their one-week junkets and return home with an impossibly rose-colored view of China, its economy and its politics. Those people should be scorned, if not ridiculed (as they are, routinely, by cynical expats). And even China’s government admits that it has a long way to go on issues like Rule of Law, corruption, and the role of the public sector in the economy – not to mention political reform itself. Not even Beijing is out there saying that the country is some sort of utopia.

But the WaPo editorial board wants to take that further, adopting a very black and white view of the China Model debate. Hmm. Black and white view – smells like neoconservatism. In their eyes, you either take the American model or the China model; either laissez faire capitalism (which doesn’t really exist in the U.S.) or Marxism (which hasn’t existed in China for a long time). There is no in-between, there is no possibility of finding some good aspects of the China system and applying that elsewhere.

The comparison to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was all I needed to know. The WaPo folks see China as it was in the late 1960s, and reality is beside the point. Am I being hopelessly naive and childish to question why it is more folks can’t admit that neither the U.S. or China is perfect, that it doesn’t matter who is “better,” and that we can learn from each other (and other countries)?

4 responses on “The Washington Post Editorial Board Is A Big Fat Idiot

  1. ecodelta

    Do you realize that by using such strong words you are loosing the argument?

    Calm down man! And next time better use more irony

  2. Quigley

    From the headline “Chipping away at China’s state capitalism” to the conclusion focusing on “rule of law and transparent government”, as well as the emphasis on the lack of information on China’s government ala “insofar as the rules of the game can be discerned at all”, the commentary does not strike me as something that was written/approved by “A Big Fat Idiot.”

    The lead and first paragraph of the WaPo piece is a bit much, but it does not seem to be a completely unreasonable response to the Andy Stern WSJ Op-Ed “China’s Superior Economic Model: The free-market fundamentalist economic model is being thrown onto the trash heap of history.”

    I agree that it could be considered outrageously misleading to compare China to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but the WaPo comparison was focused on the positive views that Americans had to the economic models of those countries.

    The first paragraph of the WaPo piece ends: “Today, some say we must learn the lessons of China’s state-run capitalism.”

    I believe that there is a lot that the US could and should learn from China’s economic policies, in particular the long-term planning aspects and investment in infrastructure, but I agree with the WaPo that there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding rule of law/transparency that, at minimum, mean that America’s economic policies should not yet be “thrown onto the trash heap of history.”

    More discussion and transparency related to Chonqing’s economic growth and political struggles would be beneficial.