None of this means, however, that we can rest content with democracy’s performance over the past couple of decades. My end-of-history hypothesis was never intended to be deterministic or a simple prediction of liberal democracy’s inevitable triumph around the world. Democracies survive and succeed only because people are willing to fight for the rule of law, human rights and political accountability. Such societies depend on leadership, organizational ability and sheer good luck.
The biggest single problem in societies aspiring to be democratic has been their failure to provide the substance of what people want from government: personal security, shared economic growth and the basic public services (especially education, health care and infrastructure) that are needed to achieve individual opportunity. Proponents of democracy focus, for understandable reasons, on limiting the powers of tyrannical or predatory states. But they don’t spend as much time thinking about how to govern effectively. They are, in Woodrow Wilson’s phrase, more interested in “controlling than in energizing government.”
With the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests coming June 4, the Chinese government is tightening a fist of censorship.
BEIJING — Even by the standards of the clampdowns that routinely mark politically sensitive dates in China, the approach this year to June 4, the anniversary of the day in 1989 when soldiers brutally ended student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, has been particularly severe.
The days preceding June 4 often mean house arrest for vocal government critics and an Internet scrubbed free of even coded references to the crackdown that dare not speak its name.
But this year, the 25th anniversary of the bloodshed that convulsed the nation and nearly sundered the Communist Party, censors and security forces have waged an aggressive “stability maintenance” campaign that has sent a chill through the ranks of Chinese legal advocates, liberal intellectuals and foreign journalists.
In recent weeks, a dozen prominent scholars and activists have been arrested or criminally detained, and even seemingly harmless gestures, like posting a selfie in Tiananmen Square while flashing a V for victory, have led to detentions.
The police have been warning Western journalists to stay away from the square in the coming days or “face grave consequences,” according to several reporters summoned to meetings with stone-faced public security officials.
It’s a maglev train that runs in near vacuum.
1,800 mph is California to London in three hours. Plus another three hours getting the happy ending patdown from airport security.
The trip would take two days, passing through Russia, 125 miles the Bering Strait, down Alaska and Canada to finish up in the US.
And it’ll be nicer than going from Ontario, CA to San Diego by bus.