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Wake up, Americans

Americans are not aware of the real threat this country is now facing. The current events, influenced by a powerful illusion created by a zoomed-in distortion effect (intentionally or unintentionally), are a dangerous diversion from answering the real threat.

America is now facing a very harsh reality. People’s sin has caught up with them. Both the moral deficit and financial deficit, neither can be magically made to disappear. Sooner or later we will pay.

And that is starting now.

The fact that young Americans, even very upright and thoughtful ones that I know, think racial inequality is the biggest problem in the US today, is a clear sign of the unpreparedness of America facing the mounting challenges.

The threat America is now facing is a threat to a civilization, and a danger of being cut up by two crossing cutting edges of a scissor.

One side of the cutting edges is internal. It is the fact that America, the first ever major nation that offered both prosperity and personal freedom, is losing its moral strength internally, becoming too cowardice and prideful to even recognize what is right and what is wrong, too lazy and indulgent to face hard challenges, and easily attempted to focus on easier and ego-boosting problems.

The other side is external, comes from the treacherous external challenges, along with both the pressure and the temptation to react with a treacherous manner.

When these two cutting edges cut across and cut through, as it is happening now, it will be the end of the great country as we know it.

The internal and the external threats now work hand-in-hand, increasingly deepening the more fundamental problems faced by the US:

The moral deficit and the financial deficit.

The external threat, with China at its core, is unprecedented, far more perilous than the Cold war.

The China threat is not what most people think it is. It is not like that of two basketball teams competing and there is a danger that Team China might win. If that were the case, let the best team win. Besides, there’s always a proper room for the second place, the third place etc.

The situation is more analogous to the Olympic Games, in which Americans are competing on the individual basis (and of course cheered by fellow Americans to a certain degree), but China is competing on a national basis.

You may ask why there is anything wrong with competing on a national basis.

This is why: it is not about competition itself, but about the values, because in the end, the nature of the games is changed once the competition has changed from the individual basis to the national basis.

Ask yourself, do you prefer a society that has overall healthier and athletic individuals from whom champions naturally emerge (as a bonus), or one that concentrates its resources on manufacturing a selected few national champions (as a goal) at the expense of the general well-being, just for the sake of defeating other nations?

It is not even about fairness (as there can be fairness even in brutality) but fundamental values. If you also consider state-sponsored cheating, it is a matter of both fairness and values.

The Olympic Games is just an analogy for the purpose of illustration. It is of no significance compared to the struggle between the market economy and the state-run capitalism (if you think this is an oxymoron, you do not understand what’s going on in China).

The outcome of an international competition for economic and military powers has a different kind of consequences. And the particular one between US and China, due to the diametrically different fundamental values attached to it, is an existential threat to a civilization.

I fear it is a challenge that young Americans are neither aware of nor fit to face. Not when they think protesting against the police and the government can solve the nation’s problems, and much less so if many are not even trying to solve any problems but are simply indulging in carnal dissipations.

When I shared my thought with my daughter, she replied, referring to the struggle against racism, “isn’t your position like saying I shouldn’t work on fixing the broken bone just because I potentially have a terminal illness that I have no control over?”

I must say that her answer was a clever one and it is an interesting analogy.

Great in abstract, but not if wrong parties and issues are put in to specify.

If racism in the US is a “broken bone,” then what the protesters (and the media fanning behind or at the scene) are doing is not fixing the “broken bone,” but making the broken bone even more deeply and more permanently broken by trying to fix it using a wrong method. It is also trying to break the other bones. And what the looters, thieves, robbers, and arsonists are doing is of a much worse nature.

Besides, why assume that the other disease is “terminal”? It is life-threatening, but not necessarily terminal. Terminal means there is absolutely no cure.

Given such, it is foolishness to allow, and still worse to encourage, unnecessary diversion of resources from fighting and guarding against the primary threat, especially when the divergent is not just material resources but more importantly people’s heart and human energy.

As the famed futurist George Gilder has postulated, at any given time in human history, the most critical and limited resource is human resource (more fundamentally “time” according to Gilder’s theory), not natural resources as many think. I would say for a society, the focus and the direction of the social energy at any given time is the most critical factor that determines the future of the society.

But diversion is precisely what is prevailing today in the US.

On one hand, media is helping to create a great illusion. Regardless of their intention, the recent events have demonstrated how a media without a clear conscience is the enemy of truth.

It creates a powerful illusion, intentionally or not. It is natural human psychology that when you zoom in on a specific type of incidents, you see a distorted picture by ignoring the larger context.

Take the recent notorious incident of police brutality as an example.

Although the incident was a fact in itself, the media coverage creates an illusion that the kind of incidents are happening every day everywhere in the US and hence the worst and most urgent problem in this country, when it is not. Police brutality is an unfortunate fact in the US, but regardless how one’s emotion reacts to it, data do not support a conclusion of targeted brutality against any minority.

For example, one commonly quoted estimate says that a black person is about 2.5 times as likely as a white person to be killed by police in his lifetime. Even if the accuracy of the estimate is supported by facts, it does not prove targeted brutality against black men at all, because the estimate ignores the fact that a black person is about 2.5 times as likely as a white person to commit a crime (and 5 times if only serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter and robbery are counted). I’ve had people who disagree these numbers by showing some seemingly contradictory statistics, but only to find that they have forgotten to consider the percentage of white population is about five times that of the black population.

The root problem is not at the police. Black communities and families need help, because they are trapped in bad social and economic conditions. At the same time, no race is immune to this problem.

When do people learn to become rational? The irrational enthusiasm was what caused Fascism. And today the same may lead to something that is equally destructive.

You see irrational Americans. You also see irrational Chinese. Only that in this particular point of history both the American irrationality and Chinese irrationality are working in concert to defeat America.

Racism in the US is a terrible problem. But racism has its roots in human sinfulness and evil, and is not a unique product of the American system. If the American political system and society is to blame, it is its failure to satisfactorily overcome this sinful nature of human being.

But which society has done this more successfully? Just try to find another heterogeneous society that has less racism; or find another heterogeneous society that has a more just law enforcement! Do not hide in the hypothetical and theoretical. Imagine actually moving to that place to live.

I am not arguing that people should just overlook the racism problem in the US. The problem is that people do not understand or pretend not to understand the true nature of the problem, and are hacking it with actions that not only would not solve the problem but in fact would make it worse. Many are not even trying to solve any problems, but just indulging in carnal dissipation, or committing something of a more pernicious nature.

Activists and politicians are taking the current events as an opportunity to show off their inspiration and influence, calling for grand movements for social justice and personal freedom. But just like there would be no health protection without a healthy economy, there would be no social justice and personal freedom when civilization crumbles under both internal and external threats.

People fundamentally fail to understand the most basic economics. The US is already running at extremely high moral deficit and financial deficit, both of which are growing at an astonishing rate. These deficits require sacrifices, discipline, hard work, compassion, and on top of all that, faith, to gradually balance.

If you think this is too much abstract talk, let me provide a few facts to reflect upon.

Why did China’s GDP for the virus-hit quarter drop only about 10%, but the US GDP for the second quarter is projected to drop over 50%?

Why did China allocate over $1.5 trillion (over 50% of its pandemic relief package) for new technology developments, while the US focused on bailouts that are largely designed to make people feel better? (And all this has happened when the US national debt has reached over $70,000 per person, regardless of age, or over $200,000 per household.)

Why were other countries especially some Asian countries able to control the virus much more effectively than the US, and able to do this without shutting down their economies?

The answer is very simple and straightforward: The governments and people in these other countries have a hardened and disciplined attitude, while Americans have been spoiled by personal freedom.

Protesters think that they are protecting and improving democracy, but they seem to not understand that democracy is a precious privilege only guaranteed by a relatively healthy social ecosystem which is based on sacrifices, discipline, hard work, compassion and faith.

Democracy is precious but also costly. If “democracy” is analogous to a product manufactured from materials and components, it is much more costly than any other counterpart or counterfeit product such as dictatorship because democracy requires (not aspires for, but requires) much higher quality materials and components.

To be specific, democracy requires much higher level morality to be self-sustaining. Without high level sacrifices, discipline, hard work, compassion and faith, democracy will fail.

In contrast, a dictatorship does not depend on a high level morality, sometimes even thrives on corruption.

We choose democracy not because it is easier to build and maintain, but because it offers better values which we believe in.

But if people are corrupt, then they no longer deserve democracy, because democracy by a corrupt populace will be the worst political and social system in the world.

I believe all these concurrent events, international (China) and domestic (the pandemic and protests), are allowed by God so that Americans as a nation is tested: are the people still worthy of democracy?

To those protesters who sincerely believe that they are helping to solve the biggest problem of America, I say this: please reassess your analysis in light of the current threats faced by this great nation.

To those opportunists participating in sabotage and looting, I have nothing to say.

If the problems are caused by existing laws and policies that are patently unfair, then it is people’s (we the voters’) responsibility to be an agent of change to introduce better laws and policies (which was exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters did).

But if the cause of the problem is personal evil that flows from sinful people’s heart, protests do not make that good. Even better laws and policies do not make that good. It requires a whole different kind of medicine to cure that disease.

We have all seen the video. We saw evil. But going from personal evil to widespread bias, and further from widespread bias to systematic injustice (enabled through bad laws and policies), each step requires real data as rational evidence.

We ask this not to exonerate an existing evil, but to make sure we are trying to solve the right problem with the right method.

I again quote my daughter’s argument against my view: “No one said US law enforcement is the worst. But if you believe that rule of law and a fair justice system is something that makes this country great, then you should be concerned for ANY injustices and misconduct that is not held accountable, let alone the PREVALENT lack of police accountability.” (emphasis original)

That sounds great, just like the doctor who said “just ONE life is worth saving at ANY cost,” and of course no one can disagree. But a policy and actions without adequate understanding of the bigger forces and bigger threats behind will end up destroying the economy and killing and/or destroying many times more people’s lives.

And the irony is that even when that happens (and in fact is happening), the doctor who said that would still be glorified for saying what he said because it sounds professional and compassionate.

What I wish to emphasize is that the US is facing an unprecedented crisis. The country is under grave threats internally and externally. The nation cannot afford a diversion that is unlikely to solve any real problem, much more so if the diversion may even turn to devastation if it leads to widespread uncontrollable social unrest.

One does not need to first thoroughly analyze every factor and come up with a complete strategy in order to do the right thing. In fact, people have God-given conscience and common sense to follow. It may not be easy to follow one’s conscience and common sense, but it is not complicated.

The truth is usually simple, although not easy to obey.

Obeying conscience and common sense is the bravest thing one can do. No one else may notice you now when you do it, as you have nothing to show to others at the moment, but sooner or later truth always manages to come out and stand. This is the case for both an individual and a nation.

Have Americans lost courage to confess, repent and fight against sin and evil? Have Americans been reduced to just finding easy targets to release frustration, and even seeking hidden hypocritical selfishness and ego-boosting gratification?

Only love can cover sin. The example of the good Samaritan told in the Bible by Jesus Christ was not just a story of a good man, but also the best story in which love overcomes racism.

Wake up Americans, work hard and love, and do not stop believing. It is not a revolution. It is living.