[private] A most revealing aspect of the WikiLeaks saga for me is how politicians have mastered the art of writing and speaking badly in order to keep the general public confused. Many have engaged in deliberate manipulation of language to obscure the truth. Transparency and clarity are the enemies of deceit and duplicity which is anathema to corrupt politicians everywhere. Another compelling facet of the WikiLeaks phenomena concerns the U.S. and China. But first, let’s deal with our own exposed weaknesses.
A most revealing aspect of the WikiLeaks saga for me is how politicians have mastered the art of writing and speaking badly in order to keep the general public confused. Many have engaged in deliberate manipulation of language to obscure the truth. Transparency and clarity are the enemies of deceit and duplicity which is anathema to corrupt politicians everywhere. Another compelling facet of the WikiLeaks phenomena concerns the U.S. and China. But first, let’s deal with our own exposed weaknesses.
Our immigration enforcement can be portrayed in two categories, domestic and foreign. The foreign framework begs for reform. Visitors are normally given 90 days stay, with no option for renewal. At the end of your stay, you are required by law to leave the country. In practical terms, few people do. Immigration officials are eager to accommodate those willing to pay. So instead of those funds going into the national treasury, they end up in private pockets. For a country desperate for revenue, this is truly bizarre.
On the domestic front, there is no policy in place. Hordes of people arrive daily from the mainland without rhyme, reason or restrictions. The locals have a saying, “If the island were a ship, it would’ve already sunk due to overcrowding.” As a result we the locals now find ourselves in the minority and feel threatened. The “imports” consider themselves disfranchised and deserving of a greater share of the pie. Meanwhile, services are being stretched to the breaking point, unemployment is off the charts (around 40% on the mainland), and public schools are overcrowded to the point of some teachers being reduced to nothing more than glorified babysitters. Add to this an increase in criminal activity and things could get out of control.
We have always been able to look to the U.S. for guidance regardless of the area of need, particularly in the field of education; but, for how much longer? This is where China clearly comes into focus. International education experts were stunned that students in Shanghai, China, outscored their counterparts in other countries in reading as well as math and science. This is according to the latest statistics from the widely respected Program for International Students Assessment (PISA) tests which measure learning by 15-year-old students in 65 countries. Shanghi represents the best of China, and the best of China is now scoring better than anywhere else in the world. In contrast, America’s 15 year olds ranked 14 in the world in reading skills, 17 in science and a distant 25 in math. Chinese students finished first in all three major categories. In addition, China now also possesses the fastest computer (outdueling the Pentagon’s best) and has also developed the fastest trains, reaching speeds of over 300 miles per hour.
What has been revealed is that during the past decade the social structure of the world has changed. Asian and Latin American countries in particular have begun to catch up. Living standards are now converging, thanks to the reductions in global poverty through enhanced educational standards, along with improvements in healthcare. In a changing world of relative equals, the United States may have to learn to define itself not by its rank but by its values.
After the WikiLeaks saga, privacy as we once knew it no longer exists. The proverbial quotation by author Jonathan Edwards has become singularly relevant in today’s computer-controlled world: “Resolved–never to do or say anything I would be afraid to do or say if it were the last hour of my life.” [/private]