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Take the insult like an adult
On insulting portraiture, our lonely pale blue dot, and remembering who's fundamentally at fault for the costly global decoupling afoot
Humanity has shown itself again and again to be better-off when people are free to communicate, trade, and cooperate with one another across borders. Fundamentally, people are far more alike than we are different, and the more we can compound our ingenuity by working freely with one another, the better we can hope to achieve those measures of progress that make us all healthier, wealthier, and safer.
■ But there remain those who put their faith in coercion rather than freedom. Most powerful among them are probably the cabal that self-perpetuates its rule over China. It is a power structure so sensitive to criticism that its reaction to protesters hanging a poster criticizing its leader in front of a consulate in Manchester, England, was to beat a protester in full view of both cameras and the British police.
■ Just imagine: A gross violation of both the protester's own rights while on British soil, and of the most basic diplomatic protocols, merely because (in the consulate's own words) the protesters had "hung an insulting portrait of the Chinese president at the main entrance". For that, they responded with masked thugs in body armor literally committing a kidnapping in plain sight.
■ It is fundamentally wrong when these things happen within the borders controlled by such a government. An assault on protesters would be deplorable in Beijing. It becomes an act of flagrant hostility to the peaceful and respectable world order when it takes place in front of a consulate in England's third city.
■ Economic decoupling is expensive and political rifts that keep nations from working together on the problems that confront us as an entire humanity are bound to cause missteps, costly missed opportunities, and needless roadblocks to progress. Humanity as a whole loses for every day spent emphasizing petty, narcissistic squabbles when we're all on the same lonely pale blue dot.
■ Nobody should celebrate growing divisions among the various nations of the world. But neither should anyone be the least bit confused about who is provoking the discord. Sometimes "an insulting portrait" is the same as a look in the mirror.