“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.” —Benjamin Franklin
This article is in response to awareness that the above admonition has not been followed that we are heading rapidly towards a situation where we will have very unpleasant choices—and yet I believe that there is a simple solution to the difficulty.
What concerns me is the vast concentration of power in small number of hands, which have systematically destroyed internal opposition, in a country that restricts it’s population’s access to foreign media whilst encouraging xenophobic nationalism that shows little respect for its citizens’ liberties, for the population of annexed countries, or indigenous people where resource concessions have been obtained. It has been threatening and bullying its neighbours, with invasion or international economic isolation. It does this whilst aggressively expanding its military capacity with no threat to its own security.
This pattern has been seen time and time again in countries that have caused great suffering internationally. I am of course in this instance talking about China. The biggest problem is that economically we are becoming more and more dependent on China, so much so our politicians drop all sense of morality for fear of losing favour with the Chinese powers. This pattern of acquiescence has a long history of creating tyrannical behaviour. Once we are totally dependent economically, appeasement will become more palatable to our politicians than facing economic disruption. We will in effect be slaves to a master who treats his current charges with little respect.
The solution is quite simple: The people of free nations should demand united trade tariffs between democracies and countries which lack elections. If a country becomes democratic the tariffs would be removed. If a democracy is overthrown, tariffs introduced. I don’t want to see a poor China, I want to keep my liberty and wish that those in China had theirs.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Attributed to Benjamin Franklin