Tuesday, December 20, 2016

General Liu Yazhou: Great Critics are Often Great Patriots | 高大伟 在美国华盛顿人的博客

General Liu Yazhou is political commissar of the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.  His blunt article addressing Chinese media is at least as applicable to our situation as it is to China's.  -gwc
General Liu Yazhou: Great Critics are Often Great Patriots | 高大伟 在美国华盛顿人的博客
***Our situation today is that “the common people don’t believe anything, the experts don’t understand anything, the media doesn’t say anything and political education is useless.” It is because you are being phony that people can’t take you seriously. You are writing things that you don’t believe yourself but want other people to believe them. How strange is that? First of all, do you believe what you are writing? Would you want your son to read it? That is a kind of dishonesty.
Writing dishonest articles and being a dishonest person are the same thing. A pen weighs a thousand pounds. Articles must be truthful. The fundamenal content of an honest article is truth. Only truthful articles are lively and vigorous. The ancients said that people must be upright and that writing should be unconventional. “Unconventional” here means be actively thinking for ourselves. People should be honest but articles should be beautiful and brilliant. The “unconventional” along with beauty and brilliance are built on foundation of truthfulness. An article that is not honest cannot be beautiful and brilliant. Simply preaching at people cannot win their hearts. Preaching in itself does not have vitality. Future generation will not benefit from important things that are not said. The problem remains a problem of the system and a problem of education. We of our generation started lying from the moment we started writing. I lied too. We have all written that kind of essay. For example, “I found a penny and gave it to Uncle Policeman, Uncle Policemen asked me my name and I said my name is Red Scarf”. We all wrote “I helped an old man cross the street, then I looked at the sun and it shined even brighter”; “After I swept the classroom, I wiped off the perspiration and laughed seeing how my red scarf shined even brighter”. I escaped from there.
After I told lies, I felt how evil it was. These days we don’t want for anything, but what we are most short of is truth! In 1958 during the Great Leap Forward in Anhui Province there were people dying of starvation. When they went to the hospital for medical care, the physician, after taking their pulse, the physician said you lack a certain kind of medicine. One word: food. The man was starving.
Today we very often are missing this medicine: truth! In an honest society, honesty itself is not something that people make a big thing of; it is in a dishonest society that honesty is particularly valuable. Truthtellers are often critics. Critics are often patriots. Great critics are often great patriots.

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