Netizen Voices: Thought, Hope, and Imagination

Shi Shusi, director of the editorial board for the Worker’s Daily weekly magazine, piqued his Weibo followers on November 24 with this post:

ShiShusi: U.S. Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis: “It is hazardous to discourage thought, hope, and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government.”

石述思:美国联邦最高法院大法官布兰代斯:对人们自由思想、未来的希望及想象力的吓阻是危险的;因为恐惧会导致自由的压抑,长期之压抑将导致怨愤,而怨愤将威胁政府的稳定。

Portrait of Louis Brandeis by Andy Warhol.

The quotation comes from Brandeis’ famous defense of freedom of speech in the 1927 case of Whitney v. California. California had convicted Anita Whitney under the Criminal Syndicalism Act in 1919 for her role in establishing the state’s Communist Labor Party, which it alleged encouraged the overthrow of the government. The case went before the Supreme Court for possible violation of due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the court unanimously agreed that California had not violated the amendment, Brandeis spoke out against the presumption of guilt for association with an organization that it merely alleged taught violence. The quotation is part of a larger argument in favor of any speech which does not pose “clear and imminent danger.”

Brandeis’ words as no less powerful out of context. Many readers find Brandeis, and in turn Shi, inspiring. Others scoff at seeing this quotation from journalist for one of China’s oldest government mouthpieces. From CDT Chinese:

PoliticalCommissarq: Mr. Shi’s citation is quite right. I hope the government can design a channel for people to vent their anger.

政委q:石兄代言的相当正确,希望政府能设计出一个泄愤的通道

Evanxin: reply@PoliticalCommissarq: This already exists. It’s called Weibo.

evanxin:回复@政委q:已经有了,就是微博啊

VMicroViewpoints: I guess this theory doesn’t hold in countries like North Korea and West Korea?

V微观点:这理论用在朝鲜类国家失效了吧?

argence: Don’t they understand these principles? The only thing they demand is that the current government maintain stability for the time being.

argence:这些道理难道他们不懂吗?他们只要本届政府能压住能暂时稳定

liqiao68: Gradually getting used to servility and repression, that’s what to be feared.

坚定地活着:就怕慢慢习惯了奴性和压抑

BeiYesUtopia: Everything that ought to be said has been said, we just refuse to believe it!

北野的理想国:人家把该说的都说了,可是不信!

No1EconomistIsMe: That’s America.

第一经济人是我:那是美国

Silver1502: Not every government has this concern.

Silver1502:不是所有政府都会有这种忧虑

Qiaochuba: Discontent is spreading among the people. The consequence will be serious. We don’t even know who to turn to if we have differing opinions. @XinhuaViewpoint @PeoplesDaily

乔楚爸:群众民怨起,后果很严重。现在都不知道有意见跟谁提?@新华视点 @人民日报

BoYuanYongAn: American words aren’t useful in China.

柏源永安:美国人说的,在中国不管用。

BearTailang 1115: My mom basically doesn’t eat or drink anything she hasn’t tasted before. In other words, she firmly resists unfamiliar lifestyles and ways of thinking. She essentially has no understanding of freedom or democracy; her independent thinking is almost at zero; Xinwen Lianbo is the truth of the world. There are billions of submissive people like her. Changing their mindset is not something that can be done overnight.

熊太郎1115:我妈基本上不吃她没吃过的东西,基本上不喝她没喝过的东西,就是说她坚决抵制不熟悉的生活和思想方式。自由民主她基本不懂,独立的思考基本为零,新闻联播就是世界的真相。像她老人家这样的顺民当以十亿计,若想改变他们,绝非一朝一夕之功!

MidnightWanderingGod: The Corruption Party practices authoritarianism on others but liberalism on themselves!

午夜游荡神:腐败党专制别人,自己自由!

wb30058889: “Hate” fits our current symptoms!

说真话难:怨愤适合现在症状!

Jiashidao: This is the opinion of every patriot. Too bad that those thugs and bandits don’t think this way. They want to dredge for money, power, and sexy ladies. Those who are somewhat better will at least think about their offspring. The funny part is that these hypocrites lecture to you about patriotism! Jeez, you’ve all become America’s dependents!

贾世道:这是每个爱国者的想法,可惜流氓土匪们不会这么想。他们想捞钱、弄权、美女,好点的至少也要想想后代〜滑稽的是这帮伪君子给你讲爱国!尼玛,你们都成美国家属了!

Rocp: Spread it.

董永雷:扩散


Read more comments at CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.

Note: Many naked officials move their families and assets to the United States. Back.