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Cake day: Jan 18, 2020

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I think the question to ask is what results we see from maximizing freedom of speech, and what impact that has on our society. Look at things like QAnon, antivaxxers, right wing movements and so on, all of these things are a direct byproduct of western style of freedom of speech. And this of course applies to corporate media as well with media channels like Fox that propagandize their audiences, companies using their freedom of speech to disseminate mass disinformation as fossil fuel industry did, and so on. Are these outcomes a price worth paying?

And I guess we’ll have to disagree on whether what CPC does is justified or not. I think the results they’ve produced speak for themselves. Communist party lifted a billion people out of poverty, and continues to improve lives for the majority of the people with every decade. The exact opposite pattern is seen in the west however as quality of life continues to plummet.

This is a great explanation of how the party is structured, and it shows that there is far more grassroots participation than there is in western democracies.

What matters to me the most is that the government works in the interest of the majority, and that people have input in the decision making process. CPC appears to do a much better job in that regard than vast majority of western democracies, and the improving material conditions for people in China are a direct result of that.

Compare this with a recent study analyzing decades of policy in US that found the following to be true:

What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

People can use VPNs and services that avoid data collection in China as well if they put some effort into it. However, I would argue that for the vast majority of people it’s companies like Facebook that manipulate public behavior that are a far bigger concern. Only a tiny percentage of the population uses platforms like Signal and we see that most people have very little regard for their privacy making it easy to exploit them.




First thing to recognize that no country or system of governanace is perfect. China has its share of problems just like any other country, they do better in some areas and worse in others. That said, let’s take a look at the claims.

1) The whole Uyghur genocide narrative appears to be largely fabricated. Researchers in Italy just recently released a long report that concludes this narrative is geopolitically motivated.

George Bush’s chief of staff openly said that US wants to destabilize the region, and NED recently admitted to funding Uyghur separatism for the past 16 years on their own official Twitter page. An ex-CIA operative details US operations radicalizing and training terrorists in the region in this book. Here’s an excerpt:

Throughout the 1990s, hundreds of Uyghurs were transported to Afghanistan by the CIA for training in guerilla warfare by the mujahideen. When they returned to Xinjiang, they formed the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and came under Catli’s expert direction. Graham Fuller, CIA superspy, offered this explanation for radicalizing the Chinese Muslims:

The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them [Muslims] against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan and against the Red Army. The doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter Chinese influence in Central Asia.

I think this is very important context for discussing the problems in the region. In light of the fact that there was a major terrorism problem it seems that China handled it very well, and certainly better than how western nations have dealt with terrorism.

2-3) China does have more restrictions on freedom of political speech than the west. However, it’s not as if there is absolute freedom of speech in the west either. For example, Germany prohibits any promotion of fascism and nazism. Most countries prohibit calls for violence or harm to individuals, and so on. Saying that the west got the balance fundamentally right while China got it fundamentally wrong is a chauvinistic perspective.

Furthermore, while political speech might not be banned in the west, it’s certainly heavily controlled. For example, western media loves to present two sides of any issue no matter how ridiculous the other side may be as in the case of climate change. Yet, strangely we never see a both sides discussion of economics where we get a communist perspective.

People are also uncomfortable expressing their political views publicly if their views stray from the mainstream because it can affect their employability. This is especially true in the domains of politics and economics.

As a result, western economic and political systems have become very rigid and dogmatic. Capitalism is axiomatically accepted as the correct system that’s beyond question despite mounting problems and regular economic crashes caused by this system.

On the other hand, China showed itself to be much more flexible in this regard. Deng reforms integrated aspects of capitalism into overarching socialist framework. This was done through debate and self criticism the sort of which is simply unheard of in the west.

China continues to show political pragmatism and agility that led to China outcompeting the west economically. This would not be possible if Chinese system did not allow and even encourage self criticism.

I think the core difference between China and the west is that Chinese people agreed that socialism and eventual goal of communism is the right approach for politics. There is lively debate within that context, but other political ideologies such as capitalism are rejects the same way Germany and other western countries reject ideologies such as fascism. Meanwhile in the west we still haven’t decided on any single political system and we have many parties trying to steer countries in different directions.

One clear downside of western approach of multiparty governments is that they’re directly at odds with any long term planning. A party might be in power for a few years and then get replaced by a different party. Any projects the former party might have started could be rolled back by the latter. This makes it extremely difficult to tackle large scale problems like climate change effectively.

4) Mass surveillance in China doesn’t appear to be any worse than it is in the west. There is plenty of documented cases of western governments deploying mass surveillance, face recognition, hacking, and other methods at scale. In fact, I would argue that western surveillance is worse because it’s largely done by private companies that sell the data to the highest bidder, including the government. With Chinese model it’s just the government that has access to the data.

I personally see mass surveillance as a negative in both systems, but it’s incorrect to claim that the problem is exclusive to China. This is an example of a popular propaganda tactic in the west where socialist countries are held to a different standard than western ones.

Propagandists will frame problems seen under socialism as being rooted in socialism. However, if these same problems are observed under capitalism then it’s clear that socialism cannot be the root cause. Reality of the situation is that no system is perfect and there will always be problems in human societies because humans are imperfect. All a particular system can do is discourage negative behaviors and encourage positive ones.

5) Both Hong Kong and Taiwan are historically part of China and it should not be surprising that China wants to repatriate them. It also needs to be remembered that US has surrounded China with military bases and regularly conducts military exercises in South China sea. It shouldn’t be surprising that China is concerned about its national security.

Again, it’s worth mentioning that this situation is not unique to China as exact same question can be ask in places like Scotland, Ireland, Catalonia, and Donbas where there are large portions of the population who would like to separate into independent countries.


I maintain a few open source libraries for Clojure. I find open source work is really rewarding, it’s always fun to see how people end up using stuff you made.


Yeah think so, not sure how profitable it is.



I could be wrong of course, but I think there’s a market for people who are concerned about privacy and would be willing to pay for services like email from a vendor that was explicitly focused on protecting them. Apple has been successful advertising iOS as a privacy focused platform and seems like that’s working for them. But email is just an example, I’m sure there are other services Mozilla could offer that would be useful.

And I definitely agree that the way we use the internet leads to a lot of alienation. It’s very easy to get sucked into news or social media feeds and become increasingly disconnected from people around you.


Yeah, I really don’t like Mozilla funding model. I wish they’d just focus on crowd funding and building useful services people are willing to pay for. If Mozilla ran a decent mail service with good privacy for example, I’m sure a lot of people would pay for it.


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That certainly can be the case, but it’s a problem that Mozilla needs to solve in order to survive. They need some form of sustainable revenue either through crowdfunding or by selling some kind of services people want. What they’re doing now is clearly not working.



I think Mozilla really needs to refocus on just making a good browser and they need to start looking for alternate sources of funding instead of being primarily dependent on Google. A lot of people would support that purely for ideological reasons.


It’s possible that Adobe will just shut down these products if they’re not financially viable for them. The thing to remember is that Adobe is now in direct competition with Blender and all the other companies funding it. In order to stay competitive Adobe would have to match the level of aggregate effort all on their own, and to convince people to use their proprietary products over the one that’s rapidly becoming industry standard. This goes beyond simply having good features, it’s a question of ecosystem and community as well. If anybody can start playing with Blender then that’s what most people are learning. The more companies use Blender the bigger the market for people who know how to use it becomes, and so on. I expect that Adobe is simply throwing in the towel here.



I don’t think it’s so much philanthropy as the companies making a financial calculus and realizing that funding Blender saves them money in the long run. If their artists had to use a commercial product then they’d have to license it, and the cost of that can ramp up pretty fast.

With Blender the company can donate whatever they want whenever they want without any strings attached, and the cost of development and maintenance is amortized across many companies all funding the project. And since these companies aren’t in a business of making a 3D editor themselves the product itself doesn’t threaten their own business.

Ultimately it comes down to a simple cost benefit analysis.






Because China is a sane country that promotes a peaceful and multilateral world, while US has built a global empire on blood and exploitation?







Yeah I’ve read that Iceland is mostly geothermal as well, so not sure how it’s determined. Possibly, Kenya has higher overall output?






I never said I was surprised. I was making a joke that when US companies have to actually compete then US starts trying to shut competition out of their market.


I was referring to how US banned Huawei when it started outcompeting US companies in the market.



I’m guessing US is about to declare Xiaomi a national security threat 😂




crypto is very often used to mean cryptocurrency nowadays