Rebecca MacKinnon’s Cool Idea

Rebecca MacKinnon describes herself as a blogger, journalist and educator. I’d describe her as a lady with a cool idea.

Rebecca is a journalism teacher at University of Hong Kong, and today her blog observes a curious phenomenon: how the Chinese think Westerners are brainwashed by their media while Westerners are convinced of the same thing about the Chinese. Both sides on the Tibet issue are certain that the other side is wrong.

Rebecca suggests people of East and West listen and chat with each other over the Net in order to expand and harmonize their perspectives. She suggests joining Twitter, finding a group that writes in Chinese, and writing posts there in English. Since many Chinese speak English, she thinks there’d be a response.

I think this is brilliant, an expansion of the freedom-web (see blogs below on that subject). And joining Twitter may not even be necessary to do it. At the bottom of Rebecca’s blog, quite a discussion has already ensued between people from East and West. What better way to learn about something, if you can’t be there, than to talk to the people experiencing it?

I posted this comment:

For me, the bottom line comes out to be: every people should have the right to determine their own form of government. If the Tibetans want Communism, they should have it. If they want theocracy, they should have it. If they want democracy or even anarchy, let it be theirs.

Right now it looks to me like they want China out of there. Is this true, Tibetans? Or are most of you grateful that Communism freed you from the theocracy? All I’m seeing and hearing of Tibetans on the news and on the Net is Tibetans rising up for independence. If that’s what they want, it’s their right to have it, despite the fact that I personally think a return to serfdom and Communism would suck.

It’s not my choice, nor is it a choice for the Chinese to make or the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan people should organize a vote and unanimously decide. Then the rest of the world should respect their decision.

P.S. The people here who say Americans have no right to criticize the Chinese when we have invaded and tyrannized Iraq are absolutely right. Whether it’s Communists doing it or Capitalists, forcing yourself into another country is plain wrong. I believe the people of every culture are pretty much controlled by their governments. It sure was not the majority of Americans who wanted to invade Iraq, but did our government care what we thought? Governments run themselves, and they also run the people. It should be the other way around.

These days it looks to me like anarchy, or small groups of people governing themselves and developing a sustainable economy together, is the best form of government any people could have. The more libertarian we can become, the freer I think we’ll be, and we all should boycott our governments when they violate human rights. No one can be free when they’re being bossed around by big government, be it Communist, Capitalist or any other.

That’s my two cents. Visit’s Rebecca’s site, listen, and speak your mind.

Bronte Baxter


  1. Rob said,

    April 20, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Bronte – you’ve got some fascinating people visiting your blogs! I’ve been living in Cambodia for the past two years. While it’s not nearly as anarchic as some thrill-seeking travellers imagine it to be, many of my family and friends remember when it was. In spite of the dangers, they almost all remember it with some nostalgia. Their villages were their world and all the villagers looked out for each other. Now, as a schoolteacher here in Sihanoukville told me, “I don’t know my neighbours and I have to lock my door at night. When I was younger, I knew everyone and at night the men would take turns staying up and watching for thieves. We didn’t even have a door to lock.”

    People ARE capable of taking care of themselves and their community. Part of the great lie seems to be that we are children who need big brother to take care of us.

  2. brontebaxter said,

    April 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Rob, I’d like to hear more from you. Great comment and useful information.

    Bronte Baxter

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