Sometimes it seems, as if autocrats are on the advance. I hear, the future belongs to China. Putin has outmaneuvered America. Erdogan is firmly in power. But I think:
No nation that defames and imprisons its best people is going to become great. No country that is afraid to let a man such as Liu Xiaobo speak freely can possibly be described as strong. Dictators who persecute 10thousands peaceful opponents really are full of fear Regimes that are fearsome are brittle, too.
Westerners besotted by the “rising China” hypothesis often make the case that while the country’s human-rights record is lamentable, it has no bearing on its economic future. Economies, they say, run on inputs, not values. If anything, they believe that China’s dictatorship confers advantages in efficiency and decisiveness that fractious democracies can only dream about.
I remember well people predicting at the beginning of the 1960ies the Soviet Union would overtake USA till 1990. We all know, what did happen 1991. And 80 years ago not only in Germany many people thought, Hitler-Germany would have a great future. We all know very well, how it did end 1945.
The core mistake is to assume that values aren’t inputs. “The process of abandoning the ‘philosophy of struggle’ was also a process of gradual weakening of the enemy mentality and elimination of the psychology of hatred,” Liu Xiaobo wrote in a courtroom statement that would become his Nobel lecture
Creativity requires freedom. Ideas need room to compete and collide, free of social and legal penalties. As economies approach the creative frontier, the need for freedom expands commensurately. The gap between available information and necessary information needs to be as narrow as possible. Much of what is economically necessary information is also political information, making censorship and repression incompatible with the requirements of a dynamic economy.
As a novelist I know about the importance of creativity and I think that`s not only true in the world of art but in politics and economics too. No truly successful government can be based on military violence. When Soviet tanks rolled down democratic development in Prague 1968, I remembered the verses of the poet Bert Brecht
On the bed of the Moldau, the stones are churning,
The days of our rulers are ending fast.
The great don’t stay great, the order is turning,
The night has twelve hours, but day comes at last.
And we know what did happen 21 years later.
Don`t give up the hope of freedom or let me say with the words of the peace nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai:
The pen is mightier than sword!