The West isn’t dying – its ideas live on in China. By John Gray

NB: I agree with much of Gray’s argument about the fragility of liberal democratic values, but would like to underline one of his sentences, containing the phrase about earlier generations of ‘liberal and socialist thinkers downplaying the colossal human toll of communism in Russia and China‘. There’s no denying this, but let us also remember that of the approximately 65 million fatal casualties in World War 2, the USSR alone bore over 20 million deaths, and China close to 11 million. No country, army or society paid such a gigantic cost for defeating Nazism.

Compared to the USSR and China combined, the costs to the USA and UK were minimal. Let us keep humanity in focus, not ‘communism’ and ‘capitalism.’ And if we were to add the impact of Western colonialism to the mix, its imposition of ‘free-market economics’ led to tens of millions of dead Indians and Chinese, memorialised in Late Victorian HolocaustsDS

The West isn’t dying – its ideas live on in China. By John Gray

What the Western world confronts is not the threatening advance of alien civilisations, but its own dark shadows moving through China and Russia.    The belief that challenges to the West emanate from outside the West is a source of some comfort to liberals. The role of an earlier generation of liberal and socialist thinkers in downplaying the colossal human toll of communism in Russia and China can be forgotten. The West’s complicity in present-day crimes can be evaded.

The attempt to erase the Uighurs as a people is the most obvious example of ongoing oppression in China. Confining them in concentration camps, demolishing their mosques and cemeteries, deporting them to work in factories (some of them reportedly in the supply chains of Western brands) and subjecting women to rape, involuntary abortion and sterilisation are crimes against humanity. But any campaign against them soon confronts China’s economic power, which has the potential to derail the global market the West has constructed and on which it now depends.

Despite the Uighurs’ plight being raised at international meetings, there is little real support for them. In most Muslim-majority countries, many of them indebted to China, Uighur cries for help have been greeted with silence. A world in which hyper-liberalism coexists amicably with the restoration of slavery may well be the next stage of social evolution. The Uighurs are on the wrong side of history.

The suppression of minorities in China is instructive because it undermines a consoling liberal narrative: the modern world is based on scientific and technological innovation, which requires an open society. Dictatorship is not just wrong but inefficient and unproductive. Only liberal societies have a long-term future. China has dispelled this legend. ..

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