Friday, September 24, 2010

Dangerous Public Opinion

The recent Sino-Japan relationship is not very good due to the collision of a Chinese fishing vessel to some Japanese defense vessels. The Chinese captain was detained in Japan for their investigation and possible legal proceeding. Though he was released two days ago, it doesn't look like that has calmed down much the escalated tension between two countries.

We all know that there are nationalistic extremists in both camps. In my opinion, their existences should be protected even though I subjectively disagree with their views. For a relatively ideal society, diversification of views should exist and have freedom of expression. Cuz, it is not important to agree but to protect and respect the minority’s views. Certainly, people with extreme views should operate within the legal limit, at least not inciting any harm to the others who have different stands. Freedom of expression is extremely precious and important. Besides the idealistic moral high ground, it is practically better to let people to voice out their concerns openly rather than suppressing them to drive them underground which would take some unexpected and harmful activities at unknown time.

However, extreme view shared by a small group of people is one thing. What get me more worried is the way that some of them ‘twist’ their views and promote them in a way that truth is being fudged. The way they do is to slightly twist the fact by few degrees in the wording that they use in publication. Then, they associated a single incident to other individual incidents by linking some loose denominators among them. Meanwhile, they magnify the incident to higher levels so as to construct and support a conspiracy of secret motive. After repetition of the above for certain period of times, some twisted ultra-nationalistic hostility towards other nations is cultivated in the back of minds of a larger group in the population. In addition, the government authority has its own strategy that interact those twisted opinions, and the mass media also have their own agendas which may not deviate much from the government’s view. All of these together could someday create some unpleasant results that harm everybody.

I find it quite upsetting that many innocent but relatively educated young people are picking up those twisted views, their minds are clouded to a point that they cannot tell the difference and relationship among these terms: nation sovenignty, government, regime, leaders, ethnicity, race, national interests, national pride, foreign relations, international laws, international treaties, etc. Those are very important concepts. Without clear understanding them, one will not be able to tell an apple from an orange. Then, by means of twisted and some outright wrongful associations, a large youth group of the population have risen up to express their anger and frustration to some innoecent people or targets. In some occasions, materialized damage and injuries are resulted. I am really sad as well as worried of this trend. I don’t have any solution to it. I just hope people would read and listen more diversified views which would still be able to be expressed given the risk they are exposed. Cuz, I don’t think people can put stop signs or red lights in public opinion, but at least those diversified views can act as speed bumps or rotary signs to slow down the buildup of traffic flow that might lead to a cliff.

It is a tough topic to talk discretely. Nonetheless, I hope I still get my current points across.

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