The Imperial Senate Endorses Theodore Roosevelt for President of the United States of America

In the words of the esteemed magazine, the Economist, “America could do better than Barack Obama; sadly, Mitt Romney does not fit the bill.” In these troubling times, only one man has the courage, the madness, the intelligence, the manliness, and the imperial authority to lay claim to the as-of-currently decadent and decrepit American throne and successfully make America great once again.

He is Theodore Roosevelt.

Skeptics voice a number of concerns about the possibility and aptitude of a third Roosevelt presidency. Some say his 20th century solutions won’t work for 21st century problems. Some say he is too hot-tempered. Some say he is too revolutionary for his time. Some say he is dead. Some say he is immortal. But rest assured: the Imperial Senate believes that Theodore Roosevelt is the only person who has the ability to successful guide America in our troubling times.

For the convenience of the American masses, we outlay the advantages of a Roosevelt presidency below, and the man’s stances on the issues:

Military and National Security

In a Roosevelt presidency, America’s military expenditures as well as security threats to America will be reduced by 100%. In fact, there will be no military. Theodore Roosevelt will be the military. He is immune to bulletfire, single-handedly destroyed the Spanish in the Spanish-American war, and is what some call a “true” Chuck Norris – that is, what Chuck Norris wishes he could be. A Theodore Roosevelt can defeat anything using any weapon, be it a large stick, a handgun, or his bare judo-trained fists. Skeptics, however, might worry about what happens after Roosevelt dies. Who will protect us then? No worry. Roosevelt has children, grandchildren, and other descendants, and according to recent genetic studies, Roosevelt and his descendants carry an immortality, ultimate badass gene that allow them to destroy anything at will. Therefore, America will forever be safeguarded. Even more so, the entire world will be safeguarded. Theodore Roosevelt can punch Assad in the face and end the Syrian civil war. He can roundhouse kick the Euro and end the Euro crisis. He can even, with his peace-making credentials (see his Nobel Peace Prize), end the China-Japan squabble over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands by stomping the islands into the sea so there’s nothing left to fight over. All in all, America and the entire world will be at peace.

Environment

Teddy Roosevelt likes hunting and bears. Therefore, he will protect the environment, because without the environment, how can anyone hunt cheetahs, elephants, and grizzly bears bare-handed like him?

Healthcare and Social Security

There will be no need for healthcare reform. In fact, there will be no need for healthcare at all under a Roosevelt presidency. Roosevelt’s immense courage will inspire all those around him, and his imposing nature will either kill or frighten off every single ailment known to man. After all, he killed his own asthma when he was a mere toddler. With everyone in perfect health, there social security will no longer be jeopardized, because no one will need to pay medical bills and thus can provide for the elderly more efficiently.

Social Issues

Admittedly, Theodore Roosevelt might offend some conservative voters with his rather liberal views. For instance, he believes that blacks are equal to whites: “the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man.” He has even appointed blacks to federal office, which has alienated some traditionalist voters, particularly in the south. Even more bravely, he has appointed a Jew to a cabinet position.

Economy

Theodore Roosevelt will punch the economy in the face, thus ending the Great Recession. Theodore Roosevelt will also punch corporation CEOs in the face for being mean, making liberals happy. He will also punch Union leaders for being wussies (compared with union leaders in his day), making conservatives sort of happy.

Education

With the immeasurable wealth pouring into America, Theodore Roosevelt can spend leftover sums of money on educating the next generation of Americans into world-class badasses. America will become the next Eden.

All in all, a vote for Theodore Roosevelt is a vote for imperial glory unmatched since the days of… well, the last Theodore Roosevelt presidency. But Roosevelt cannot be POTUS if you do not vote for him. So go out, cast your ballot for Roosevelt, and ensure a better America for tomorrow, and other idealistic nonsensical slogans designed to inspire people.

In an age of darkness, when the hordes of darkness in their darkness are darkening the already darkened world, only one man has the courage to be liberal, conservative, and moderate at the same time without being a flip-flopper; only one man has the strength to punch all of America’s problems in the face; only one man is so immortal that he cannot be killed by bullets, that even death itself cowers in fear when it merely hears his name. And only one man has the ability to solve all the world’s problems easily. That man is Theodore Roosevelt.

For this reason, the Imperial Senate wholeheartedly, firmly, and enthusiastically endorses Theodōros Roseveltēs for Byzantine-Roman Emperor, God-Emperor of mankind, and POTUS.

Actually, Teddy Roosevelt never died. He is sleeping under Mount Rushmore, waiting until the day when America needs him most. When that day comes, he shall emerge on a white steed and rid America of its enemies and woes and usher in a new age of imperial peace.

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Denounce Rick Santorum: Unite Against the Skyrim-Hating Imperialist Reactionaries

I would argue with almost 100% certainty that Mr. Rick Santorum would probably hate Skyrim for it’s pro-gay stance and endorsement of paganism (not to mention its grey and gray morality and violence). But I’m not here to talk about his homophobia or how he embarrasses Christians who believe in the separation of Church and State. Those are issues I find a bit more touchy.

However, what has irked me was Santorum’s delusions concerning history. Or perhaps he’s just a liar. Maybe both, who knows. Ultimately, he follows a long line of American nationalists (or, if you prefer, “patriots”) who fling around outdated ideas of Western superiority and why the ideals of white folks are awesomer than the ideals of everyone else. While I do agree that French Fries taste better than Tempura and that Hollywood is better than Bollywood (actually, scrap that, they’re both equally bad), the mere existence of Santorum’s Eurocentric rhetoric shows the fact that many people still do not have respect for diverse peoples and cultures.

There have been two chief instances where Santorum advocated Eurocentric delusions. In one case, he argued that the Crusades weren’t that bad. In another, he argued that the British Empire collapsed because they didn’t do enough to spread their virtues via imperialism.

Crusades

Even for those of us with a basic knowledge of history, the Crusades were anything but pretty. Last year, however, Mr. Santorum begged to differ:

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Western civilization at the core. That’s the problem.”

Ultimately, Mr. Santorum’s claim boils down to “the Crusades weren’t bad, the Crusaders weren’t mean, they were justified.” Right. BS. In the First Crusade, for instance, a bunch of Europeans went to the Levant and basically massacred the inhabitants of Jerusalem, regardless of whether they were Muslim, Christian, or Jewish. In the Fourth Crusade, as another example, a group of Crusaders basically got bored and decided to sack Constantinople and kill Orthodox Christians instead of Muslims. In short, the Crusaders sh*tted over one of the most prosperous and cosmopolitan Christian states in Europe. Most of the Western knights started killing, raping, and burning, and only the Italian knights were smart enough to hoard all the good loot, like priceless works of art, instead of smashing and setting them on fire. Love thy neighbor, anyone?

Additionally, many of the Crusades occurred not necessarily because of evil Muslims killing everyone (most Muslim states, actually, didn’t give a damn about your religion as long as you paid your taxes*). It was politics, pure and simple. The First Crusade, for instance, was partly a Byzantine ploy. Long story short, the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I inherited the empire in the 1080s when Turkish hordes of doom were knocking on his doorstep and about to annihilate the empire. Alexios, being a Machiavellian genius, decided to use the backwater states of Europe against the Muslims. Making up some bullsh*t about how evil the Muslims were, he promised the Europeans lots of rewards (like plunder and etc.) if they helped him fight against the Turks. The Crusaders thought this was an awesome idea; however, the Crusaders decided to screw over the Byzantines and go solo and Alexios’ plan turned into a fail.

That’s not to mention other Crusades, such as those against Orthodox Christians and pagans in Eastern Europe, led by the Teutonic Knights, who wore funny helmets. The Teutonic Knights were anything but pleasant; they even fought against their fellow Christians.

So much for your pure, virtuous Crusaders, Mr. Santorum. Heck, even conservatives disagree with you. Anyhow, it is a pity that the word “Crusade” still carries with it romantic connotations of a noble struggle, while the Islamic equivalent, “Jihad,” gets all the negative connotations thrown at it.

Britain is an octopus... sort of like the kind in Japanese tentacle porn or something.

British Imperialism

So said Rick Santorum, the brilliant historian:

If you look at every European country that has had world domination, a world presence, from the French to the British – 100 years ago, the sun didn’t set on the British Empire. If you look at that empire today – why? Because they lost heart and faith in their heart in themselves and in their mission, who they were and what values they wanted to spread around the world. Not just for the betterment of the world, but safety and security and the benefit of their country.

A translation of his rant: white people, in particularly the British, were just and noble bringers of civilization to the barbaric savages of the rest of the world.

Sadly, the British, like all empires – regardless of whether they were European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, or whatever – wanted money. Resources. Power. They were not colonizers“for the betterment of the world.” They were directly competing with their fellow Europeans, such as the French, Germans, and Russians, for – again – money, resources, and power. Millions of non-Europeans (not to mention lower-class Europeans!) labored and toiled to produce the resources that led to the prosperity of the European middle and upper class. The European leadership justified imperialism and colonialism because it was supposed to make the world better (c.f. White Man’s Burden). It was, of course, just propaganda used to subjugate previously-independent peoples and states under European rule.  That is not to say all European colonials were evil resource-hoarders. I’m pretty sure a good number earnestly (albeit deludedly) believed that they were helping the poor, savage folk of the non-European world. Some probably thought it was business as usual. But that doesn’t ignore the fact that a whole wollop of non-white people (and poorer white folks, too) were essentially enslaved for “the betterment of the world”.

You know, Mr. Santorum, I’m not sure why the Indians and half of Africa wanted independence, then. Maybe Gandhi was too barbaric to understand the splendor and virtues of the superior British race? Or, you know, I’m also wondering, why then did your god-heroes like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson declare independence from Britain if it was so great, huh?**

Everyone is Evil, Including Europeans, Mr. Santorum

My point here is, people like Mr. Santorum are going off blabbering outdated notions of Western superiority. We’ve gotten much better today at scoffing at such nonsense, but the Crusade (*snicker*) against Eurocentrism won’t be over under buffoons like Mr. Santorum learn that the Westerners weren’t – and aren’t – angelic messengers and warriors of god. Europeans and Americans are just as good and bad as everyone else. There were Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, African, and Native American madmen just as greedy and violent as European imperialists or Crusaders.

Being a complete douchebag isn’t just limited to a single ethnicity or racial group or religion. Being ignorant and delusion also isn’t just limited to a single ethnicity or racial group or religion, either. In fact, I suppose Mr. Santorum is a good example of the latter, at the very least.

History is never black and white. Even people we see as great and heroic can have darker sides. People we think of as villains can be heroes to others (case in point: see how Mongolians love Genghis Khan, not to mention the PRC). Heck, even Skyrim does a decent job at proving this point about history (albeit not as deeply as I hoped).***

All in all, we have a presidential candidate whose grasp on history is flawed at best, delusional at worst, and he has a whole mass of supporters who share his vision. Because of his insults to the glorious subject of history, as well as his offenses to diverse peoples and cultures, there is only one option for us: to denounce him and his imperialist, reactionary thoughts, and ensure they these thoughts not spread amongst the masses.

(As a side note, Mr. Santorum probably hates the new SimCity**** too, because it is pro-Environmental or something. Frankly, I don’t care – I just want to relive my childhood again. Long live SimCity! And that was a very long time since my last post…)

Disclaimer: I like the Imperials more than the Stormcloaks.

*The special tax, specifically, is called the jizya. In short, if you aren’t Muslim, you have to pay an extra tax, but otherwise you’re left alone; in the early years of Islam, Muslim leaders even stopped people from converting to Islam just so they could get more tax money. So much for your murdering-everyone-by-the-sword terrorist stereotype. Of course, some would then say that means the Islamic bureaucracies discriminated against non-Muslims anyways. In actuality, the Muslim leaders pretty much taxed the Muslims the same, by claiming the Muslims also had to pay an extra tax to fund charities (called Zakat). So, to summarize, Muslim rulers were just greedy tax hoarders Republicans would hate, and a lot of people originally converted to Islam for tax evasion… only to find out they pretty much had to pay the same amount as before.
**In reality the American revolutionaries weren’t exactly a bunch of nice folks, either, but I’ll rant about that another time.
*** For those of you who have no idea of what I’m talking about, basically, in Skyrim, you can join one of two equally flawed sides in the civil war. On one side you have the freedom-fighting but racist and overly idealistic Stormcloaks, on the other you have the cosmopolitan but bureaucratic and inefficient Empire.
****The new game was announced March 6. Apparently pollution from my city can drift over to my friends’ cities, which is good trolling material.

TV Series Review: The Republican Primaries 10/20

Well, at least it’s better than some crappy harem anime (that’s plural) I watched ages ago.

Some of you have probably heard the hit series, The U.S. Presidential Elections, currently in its 57th season. If you haven’t, you can still catch up on new episodes of its currently running first part, called the The Republican Primaries. So far, I’ve been watching a few episodes of The Republican Primaries, and I have to say, I’m actually kind of fascinated by all the drama and plot twists and so forth.

Even though this is the 57th season, the producers and writers did not really attempt to do anything too new, probably in an effort to keep the show’s fanbase – not that I mind. Thus, the story is still the same as it had been for the previous seasons, concerning a big fight between two factions, the Democrats and the Republicans. Basically, a bunch of misfits compete within both factions against each other in a contest of wits, strength, and charisma called the “Primaries,” and the Democrat and Republican champion then goes on to claim the glorious title of President.

Anyways, I’ll rate this season using the same rating method I use for all works of fiction. So far I’ve used this method mostly on anime, but it can work for any medium. In this method, I judge a piece of fiction based on four criteria: character (how well-written are the characters and their dynamics), structure (the plot and internal consistency), atmosphere (ability to invoke emotion/inspiration), and guts (a gut rating of the series). A series can get a maximum of five points for each criterion, with five representing the highest standards in storytelling technique, and zero representing absolute abomination.

Character – 3/5

The 8 heroes of The Republican Primaries are believable and deep characters for the most part. Unfortunately, most of the season seems to be focusing on two of these heroes, Romney (a recurring character from the previous season) and Perry. The dynamic between the two is admittedly interesting, with methodical and “I AM A POLITICIAN” Romney going against fiery cowboy Perry. Still, I would appreciate that the other Republican characters get more screen time other than the once-in-a-way “spotlight character of the episode” episode. We have fiery Bachmann (who surprisingly isn’t considered to be much of a token female), crazy old guy Ron Paul, normal and reasonable (i.e., boring and unassertive) Huntsman, pizza dude Cain, other crazy old guy Gingrinch, and angry-face Santorum. Why is the screenwriter not bringing them out more? And furthermore, what about Obama? Why does he seem to be more of a background character? I don’t even know if he’s a villain, anti-hero, or (in a plot twist) the true hero. Is he planning something?

Ultimately, the characters are good. But there needs to be more interesting interaction other than the Romney vs. Perry dynamic, and the other characters need to be given more screentime. I love good character dynamics and characterization, and while this season has been doing a good job so far, there’s still room for improvement.

Structure – 2/5

I usually don’t care about plot as much as I should. Still, The Republican Primaries doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere much in terms of plot. Sure, as I said above, we have our Romney vs. Perry dynamic, but even that is starting to fade out a bit with the last couple of episodes. There isn’t really much clear conflict – who’s on whose side, who’s against who, and so forth. In some stories it’s good to have lots of uncertainty and confusion, but this isn’t one of them, especially since The U.S. Presidential Elections has always been a series defined by reasonably clear divisions and sides to support and love. However, the plot isn’t terrible, so I’ll just say it does its job, but it could do a lot more. At least everything stays consistent, right?

Atmosphere – 3/5

Atmosphere concerns the general, well, atmosphere of the story – whether it can invoke emotion, or inspiration, or imagination, and so forth. With the possible threat of the 2012 Apocalypse, an Islamo-Socialist America, and worst of all, the downfall of freedom and democracy and American power around the universe, The Republican Primaries has been precisely doing that. But perhaps the real genius of the series is that the audience doesn’t exactly know where the threat is coming from – is it from the inside, or the outside? The many twists also irk the interest of most who’ve seen this, and I can’t disagree. However, I don’t exactly love the atmosphere of Patriotism (and/or lack/manipulation thereof), so I can only say the series does an adequate, even good, job here, but not necessarily a great one.

Gut – 2/5

The Republican Primaries is definitely a well-crafted story, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t really get that heavy of a reaction out of me. My guts simply tell me it could do better.

Conclusion: 10/20

The Republican Primaries, so far, gets a 10/20 in my book. While that looks like an atrocious score, it’s not. 10/20 is somewhat equivalent to “decent” or “average” in my book, so sort of like a C grade. I mean, at least it did better than some other anime abominations. Still, on the other hand, it isn’t evoking the same kind of reactions as, say, stuff like Azumanga Daioh or Samurai Jack did. The story is solid, of course, even great, but it simply doesn’t have the *punch* to it.

I’m still waiting to see what twists the next few episodes will bring, and I wonder what the fans will think. Just as long as there isn’t Romney x Perry yaoi fanfic.

Where's Rick Perry?

Someone's missing, can you figure out who?

The Historical Importance of 9/11 (Or Lack Thereof)

Stalin once said, “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”

Except that quote might have been misattributed to him, but let’s ignore that.

9/11 was undoubtedly a tragedy by any means, and a sad example that even in the modern day and age, mankind is still capable of, well, terror. Now that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is upon us, newspapers, television, and politicians will remind us of how important 9/11 is in a historical context, and how history took a turn for the better or worse – the War on Terror, the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the realization that the world will never be the same…

Or is it?

As a student of history, I have to ask myself: was 9/11 actually an important event? Did it define the first decade of the new millennium? Will it have ramifications for decades and centuries to come? In truth, I feel the answer to all of these is a cautious “no.” Or at the least, “not as much as one would think.”

For the people who lost loved ones and/or who were directly affected, 9/11 is undeniably a turning point in their lives, and I won’t argue against that. But for the rest of us? For the world? I don’t feel that history is really controlled by single, prominent events like 9/11, even though we certainly like to think that way. We like to think that World War I was caused solely by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. We like to think that the Roman Empire suddenly collapsed solely because some Germans razed the city in 476 CE.

But history usually doesn’t works that way; I think history follows trends, not single events. For instance, World War I was going to happen, sooner or later (even Bismarck predicted the Balkans would cause a mess). The whole war was the culmination of decades, even centuries, of European competition for power and resources. And as for the Romans, the Empire was already on decline for two hundred years, and Rome wasn’t even the capital anymore (the capital shifted to Ravenna several decades previously). The whole Fall of Rome was the culmination of a trend of barbarian migrations and a failing Roman economy, and it didn’t happen overnight in 476 CE.

Occasionally, of course, you have some really crazy people or groups of people, like Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan, who totally upset the balance of things and define their era. But that doesn’t happen a lot. And I don’t think Osama bin Laden defined our era, nor did terrorism.

In reality, I think that history since the end of the Cold War has been defined by at least two main trends (there probably are more, but these two are the ones off the top of my head). Firstly, we have the technological boom and increasing globalization. Internet. Computers. The Eurozone (chuckle). E-Commerce. The entire world is connected so much more than it was even one year ago, than it was since 9/11. This has led to some good things – like the spread of knowledge and ideas – and also to some not-as-good things – like how the economic recession affected everybody in the world.

Secondly, we have the overall geopolitical trends. The collapse of the USSR appeared to make the US the dominant power of the world. But there are always rising powers, and even some older ones, waiting in the sidelines. China is the most prominent example, but other important ones include Russia, India, Brazil, and so forth. Furthermore, within the past two decades, it’s been clearly shown that the US doesn’t dominate the world 100%, and not just because it’s too focused on the War on Terror.

Other things have been happening in the previous decade, too – the Middle Eastern revolutions, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the establishment of the Eurozone, the economic recession …

Heck, has anyone noticed that the Republican presidential candidates don’t talk too much about the War on Terror? It’s all about the economy. 9/11? Yes, it’s sad, we say, but we’re more worried about our jobs and income right now. And that’s how Stalin’s purported quote works: when it’s one person, or something dear to us, or something immediate that we can focus on, it’s a tragedy. But when it’s something far away, or something we can’t exactly grasp, it’s just a statistic. And you can think of history like one very, very big and vague statistic.

Of course 9/11 was a terrible thing. We should remember those who died, and also remember what evils humans are capable of. But it wasn’t the only thing – good or bad – that has happened within this past decade or two. It didn’t define history so sharply. Rarely does history suddenly “change.” It usually slowly morphs from one era to the next. But that’s not all bad.

This will sound a bit corny, but it’s like growing a tree. We have to sow the seeds of prosperity and success for future generations. The seeds won’t become big trees right away – maybe not even in our lifetimes, but if we take care of them right, water them, and give them a supportive environment, they’ll be nice, big trees someday.

Of course, the problem is that everyone disagrees on how to take care of those seeds. And that’s how many conflicts start, from political deadlock to big wars.

But at least we can try. We can turn the seed of 9/11 – of all that has happened in this past decade – into something better for future generations. I’d like a nice tree, literal or symbolic. Not too many trees. A nice, solid, figurative tree in a huge figurative meadow of figurative flowers or something. I hope my grandchildren would appreciate that.


I’d Vote for Rick Perry if Teddy Roosevelt was his Vice-President and if He Learned Respect for Diverse Peoples and Cultures Like China

Teddy Roosevelt: Awesomest American ever.

I find Rick Perry problematic, much like how I find soggy French fries, inefficient bureaucracy, and Asian chicks who dye their hair ridiculous colors and act cutesy problematic. But that aside, I want to praise glorious People’s Republic of China at Perry’s expense.

In a recent interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Perry made the following side comment about China:

You know, China disregarded the world for a millennium… and they lived in their own little world. [America] can’t afford to do that.

I don’t know if the average Chinese person would be offended, but I would be if I were Chinese. This attitude about historical China – that it was a reactionary, isolationist civilization that refused to change – is one that even some historians believe.

Even a quick glance at Chinese history within the last “millennium,” as Perry puts it, would easily undermine any such claim that China “disregarded” everyone else and “lived in their own little world.” Some examples:

  • China was one of the if not the largest economies in the world up until the 1700s and 1800s. Chinese products such as silk, ceramics, coins, and so forth, have been found as far as places like Italy, Arabia, Persia, India, Indonesia, Russia, Kenya, Mozambique, and maybe even Zimbabwe. Why the heck do you think all those crazy white dudes like Columbus wanted to sail to China? To be brainwashed by Chinese propaganda?
  • The Imperial Chinese government allowed for various ethnic, religious, and political groups to settle in China, not counting those that were already in China. During the past millennium, people such as Muslims, Nestorian Christians, Central Asians, Southeast Asians, Persians, and other white people all moved to China, particularly because of the lucrative economic opportunities.
  • China was very much involved in the political affairs of everyone around them. Up until the 1800s or so, nearby countries were forced/persuaded to pay tribute. These included states in modern-day countries such as Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and all those Stans in Central Asia. You don’t go around asking for tribute if you, well, “disregard the world.” Additionally, China did get involved in international affairs in other states. For instance, China assisted Korea in defending against a Japanese invasion in the late 1500s, of which had important historical ramifications for the three countries and even Mongolia. China also invaded Vietnam a few times, but they all failed because Vietnamese housewives beat their husbands.

    Chinese ships helping their Korean comrades by blowing up Samurai.

  • Chinese ships helping their Korean comrades. The Samurai don’t stand a chance. Notice the rockets. So much for a backwards military.
  •  Perhaps one of the clearest shows of Chinese power and domination during the Imperial era were the voyages of Zheng He, which lasted from 1405 to 1433. Long story, a Muslim eunuch named Zheng He (he was Muslim, but the Chinese emperor didn’t really care about that, now did he?) was appointed admiral and sailed in this huge fleet to a bunch of places, including but not limited to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, India, Persia, the Middle East, and Africa. The ships sailed by Zheng He were possibly some of the largest ships in the world until the 1800s, reaching hundreds of feet in length and holding hundreds of sailors and other personnel. Regardless, Zheng He made a good point convincing most countries he met why pleasing China was a good idea (or at least that China meant $$$ and a good business opportunities).

    Zheng He, epitome of what Rick Perry considers to be a civilization that "lives in its own little world."

  •  Even after China stopped these voyages and put restrictions on merchants and other travelers on where they could go, that did not mean that China suddenly “lived in their own little world” and turned into a backwards reactionary state in two seconds. During the Ming Dynasty, for instance, when these restrictions were first imposed en masse, the Chinese were still willing to trade with Europe; in particular, China stockpiled on a lot of silver coming from Spanish colonies in the America (the collapse of Spain’s gold and silver markets in the early 1600s might have been one of the causes of the collapse of the Ming Dynasty). Again, this doesn’t show “disregard for the world” if you go stocking up on stuff that is mined half a world away by Amerindian and Black slaves.

So given all these blatant counterexamples to Perry’s claim that China “disregarded the world” and “lived in [it’s] own little world” for the last “millennium”, why do a lot of people like Perry – and even some academics – continue to claim that China was a stagnant, self-interested, reactionary civilization in the previous millennium, and particularly the last few centuries?

It’s quite simple, I think, and it all rests on the fact that the Chinese (and other powerful non-Western civilizations such as India, Persia, Indonesia, Arabia, and West Africa) weren’t (and aren’t) white Europeans. China didn’t go around exploring vast territories, killing most of the natives, colonizing now empty lands, and reaping in the resources. But Europe did. Since Chinese people aren’t like Europeans, the Europeans logically concluded that they must have been inferior. Respect for diverse peoples and cultures at its finest.

Though China didn’t go on mass murdering colonization rampages (that’s not to say they didn’t do very mean things themselves), they did progress in different ways. For instance, China developed a number of innovations during this time, including but not limited to gunpowder, barreled gunpowder weapons, paper currency, movable type printing, archaeology, grenades, land mines, naval mines, forensics, rockets, multi-stage rockets, bureaucratic red tape, and political corruption.

Technically this is a Korean weapon, but it is similar to a number of Chinese rocket weapons during the same era. In short, rockets beat samurai.

Economically speaking, China had no reason to go on crazy adventures like the Europeans. It was not necessarily because they had all the resources they needed back home; rather, it was because places like the Americas and the African coasts were too far away, and merchants were already moving back and forth between other parts of Asia and the Middle East already making good profits, so why bother waste funds sending Chinese men on risky expeditions to the middle of nowhere?

Perry’s claim that China “lived in their own world” is perhaps fueled by a Western misconception of China’s own perception of its place in the world. For a very long time, China considered itself the center of the civilized world, hence its modern name “Zhōngguó,” which means “Middle Kingdom” or “Middle Nation”. It had good reason to be, though, given all its achievements and how big it was compared to most of the states around it. Thus, when Europeans first came to China, the Chinese scoffed at them, particularly when the Europeans refused to pay respects to the Chinese officials in the Chinese way (kowtowing) for instance. So much for respect for diverse peoples and cultures. Europeans and Americans have since misinterpreted this attitude as an arrogant, self-interested one, since, of course, anybody who wasn’t going around colonizing and killing was either stupid and uncivilized or self-interested and backwards.

In fact, the Chinese were just as self-righteous, prejudiced, and conceited as the Europeans were. They just expressed their bastardom in different ways.

And that, I think, is what respect for diverse peoples and cultures boils down to: learning how and why other peoples and cultures are just the same bastards as you are.

I don’t blame Perry for his comments, though; as stated earlier, most people – and even a number of historians – still hold the same, outdated misconceptions of China, and these misconceptions won’t go away for a while. I just hope that everybody learns to respect diverse peoples and cultures. Seriously. It would make international relations a lot easier.

Anyhow, still, when it comes to Republicans, I think I’d rather trust Jon Huntsman over Perry when it comes to China. Actually, just make Teddy Roosevelt the Republican nominee again, seriously. I’d totally willingly vote Obama out of office if that happened.