Thursday, June 21, 2007

The tallest tree attracts the whinge

There is something about liberal commentators that means they can not resist the inscrutable sayings of the Chinese - no matter how daft they are. Isabel Hilton falls into the trap in today's Grauniad when she quotes a Chinese minister talking about China becoming the world's biggest polluter.

"A tall tree attracts the wind".

Don't you just love it? Of course, it's a stupid saying because - if we're talking about wind as in air currents caused by thermal fluctuations then tall trees attract no more wind than short trees - they just get caught in the wind a little more. On the other hand, if we're talking about wind as in the verbal flatulence of Guardian commentators then he got it spot on.

As China overtakes the USA as the world's biggest polluter, Hilton suggests we should lead by example to encourage China to fall into line regarding climate change - as if this is likely to have any influence whatsoever. China has hardly rushed to follow our "lead" on things like democracy, human rights, the rule of law and personal liberty. If anything, we're heading more their way than they are ours.

But Hilton seems to think they can be won over this time. Does she seriously believe that China would watch us hamstring our economic future with punitive regulation and high cost to industry and then say "hey, that looks like a good idea. Let's do it!" or would they see it as an opportunity? An opportunity to bring in more investment as manufacturers look for countries with less punitive regulation and lower costs to make their goods in.

The basis of Hilton's argument is the liberal self-loathing - or rather self-righteous loathing of the west and particularly the USA. The USA has been, for some time, the "tallest tree" economically speaking - and the one thing the tallest tree is guaranteed to attract is the axe.


bernard said...

China seems to be much in vogue these days. For some reason a bloke called A. MaCann on an otherwise erudite blog called AWT, has also started to quote stupid chinese sayings like 'don't eat chickens before they hatch or you'll get an oxe through the door'...or something.

Stan said...

I never quite understood why people find Chinese sayings so wonderful - they can be quite lyrical, but sometimes it just sounds like gobbledegook.

Typically, it's lefties who like to refer to these sorts of things like "the tallenst tree attracts the wind", although I don't think Andrew is a leftist. Equally typically, the lefties tend to ignore the two Chinese who are eminently quotable - Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu - who produced two of the best quotes ever.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life" - which is, of course the antipathy of socialist welfarism which provides handouts over handups.

"Know your enemy and know yourself and you need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles" - which is probably the single most relevant quote today - given that our refusal to acknowledge the very real threat of militant Islam for what it is combined with our inability to recognise that the collapse of our Christian heritage has created a moral vacuum which that militant Islam is keen to exploit.

We don't want to know our enemy or ourselves - and until we start finding both we're certain to lose a thousand battles or more.

bernard said...

Stan..that was heavy, man. But..true enough.

Here's a chinese proverb I learnt at primary school...just to cheer you up:
'He who goes to bed with sex problem on mind, wakes up with solution in hand'.