The NBA-China spat reveals some interesting truths, by the Z-Man.
The NBA’s public relations disaster with China is one of those unanticipated events that is both amusing and clarifying. The amusing part is easy. The people who run the NBA are the worst sorts of people, so watching them get slapped around by the Chinese government brings lots of pleasure. Seeing the Chinese carry on like hysterical girls is a lot of fun too. The paper-thin skin of the ChiComs is a reminder that despite their tough talk, they live in mortal fear of the society over whom they rule.
The clarifying part is the most important, as it reminds us that despite what our rulers tell us, countries still matter. China likes consuming product, but they like being Chinese more than they like watching the human flea circus that is the NBA. When the choice is between who they are and consuming product, the former is going to win. As John Derbyshire pointed out, the Chinese are focused on becoming a global power, not folding themselves into the bland nothingness of the global community.
Of course, what makes this so clear is that the NBA is a billion-dollar enterprise that throws its weight around America in the culture wars. When George Zimmerman shot the hoodlum Trayvon Martin, the NBA players took the side of the hoodlum. The players would wear hoodie sweatshirts like the hoodlum. When the Ferguson cop shot Michael Brown, the players came out against the cop. The league and its players drip with anti-white animus and no one in authority dares say anything about it.
In contrast, one unfortunate tweet and the NBA owners were crawling on their bellies, begging the ChiComs for mercy. Lebron James, the league’s biggest star, was seen volunteering to harvest organs from executed Chinese political prisoners. As Derbyshire pointed out, it was a display of raw power. The NBA will tell Donald Trump to take a hike, but they won’t dare get on the wrong side of the communists. The ChiComs have no fear of the human flea circus. They know who holds the power.
Power and nationalism:
This incident gets to some eternal truths about human society. One of those is that power springs from identity. The man who is confident in who he is, will project power, regardless of his circumstances. This scales up very well. Societies that have a strong sense of identity, can punch well above their weight. You see this in Eastern Europe where countries like Poland and Hungary are successfully squaring off with the EU over immigration policy. The EU can’t stop the Poles from being Polish.
Of course, that strong identity is not enough. The people have to believe they have a shared destiny. They need a coherent narrative to explain how it is they are a people and why they have a future. It does not matter if that narrative is true. What people believe will always trump facts. That is another one of those eternal truths about humanity. The Chinese believe they are a people with a future, one where China dictates terms to the world. That’s what makes them so bold. …
The next link in the great chain of causality is culture and that’s something China has more than anyone. It probably has to do with the homogeneity. The Han are roughly 92% of the Chinese population. The other people are relegated to the fringe. When there is no need to accommodate differences, the culture can concentrate. Whatever the reason, Chinese culture is as strong as any on earth. So strong, in fact, it could endure the homicidal maniacs of the Cultural Revolution.