在全球化民族融合再造的今天，边巴次仁的观点不仅落后，一旦得逞，比天朝管制下的西藏可能更可怕。要知道，民族不是一个固化概念，它可以成型，也在演化，更可能消失，融入到新的民族中去。这个演化速度有快有慢，但相较于个体生命要漫长的多。回族的出现就是很典型的例子。宗教也一样，佛教传到西藏，和当地自然、人文环境结合，就成了藏传密宗，和内地农耕社会的禅宗大不相同。到了电子化时代，各个教派来往紧密，没人能预料未来藏传佛教会是什么样子。所以西藏当然可以是自己的西藏，但更应该是西藏人的西藏，包括认同自己是藏人的藏族、汉人和其他种族和民族。这样的西藏也应该是各个宗教教派和平竞争和共处的西藏，而不只是藏传佛教的西藏。做不到这些, 结果会依然是残酷的教派斗争, 甚至是种族清洗和屠杀。本来以为这些年达赖喇嘛们流亡在外，已经深刻体会到世界大势。现在看起来不完全如此，骨子里的民族主义种族主义宗教至上的排他思想，和天朝并无二致。
偶然读到威廉学院Ashraf 与 布朗大学Galor 2011年合写的旧作，《文化多元，地理隔绝与国家财富的源起》Cultural diversity, geographical isolation, and the origin of the wealth of nations，大为震撼。作者立足新制度经济学，中间揉合了社会生态和进化观点，虽然数学模型大众亲近不易，但论断极为简单。该理论貌似简单，实则解释力惊人。
由此看来，农业时代的东西方，不过五十步笑百步，总体差别不大。 差别只是运气好坏，盛衰早晚而已。去各自老祖宗那寻根，如新儒家、文艺复兴等，不过是浪漫主义的幻觉。最大的用处，是历史学研究，探讨社会转型临界点（critical mass)形成的时间和具体因素。有意义，但不大，因为临界点成形有如预测地震带地震，必有大震，但至于何时发生，无法准确预测。
工业化社会至现今，社会科技水平大幅提高，资源流动全球化，速度快周期短，文化聚合发散（cultural fusion and diffusion) 能加速分工合作，推进科学技术制度创新。社会文化发散型聚合是工业及后工业社会的主要动力。这也解释了文艺复兴、理性启蒙、私有财产、个性自由、民主回归、自由贸易等等现象。
后来读麻省理工Acemoglu与芝大Robinson 2013年合著的新国富论 《国家衰落之谜—论国力、繁荣与贫穷的根源》 Why nations fail：The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty 。作者秉承新制度经济学传统，以典型国家和地区经济发展史为蓝本，讨论解决盛衰因果如墨西哥和美国边境接壤的姐妹小镇、西非津巴布韦等。资料翔实，深入浅出，虽不能比拼当年亚当斯密《国富论》的开创见识，对马克斯韦伯清教徒文化决定论、精英治国、专家治理等各种流行论断的批判却是针针见血，毫不留情。指出同等条件下 ，实施民主制度、法治健全、主权稳定的国家，往往更能充分发挥市场繁荣经济的巨大作用。遗憾的是，全书自始至终，未能建立可复制的模型，给出逻辑解释，有先入为主，套套逻辑的嫌疑。
Professor Barry Spurr’s downfall was not considered incidental but the result of a political conspiracy against the then freshly released National curriculum review. Spurr and a few other supporters believed that New Maltida had targeted at them in order to attack the government. Spurr, as one of the 15 experts appointed by the Education Minister’s two men review panel, reviewed the English curriculum. His view on the newly minted national curriculum English is surprisingly similar to Dr Kevin Donneley’s, a full professor of education at Australia Catholic University who is the chair of an one-men not for profit educational consultancy and on the two-men review panel that led the review.
Spurr’s report in this regard may conjure up allegations of academic cronyism as his conclusion echoes neatly with Donneley’s early advocacy that the Australia curriculum has sidelined the Western, Judio-Crhistrian tradition for being too pro-Asian and -aboriginal. He even stressed a lack of biblical references in the new curriculum. Many would see their view as criticism against multiculturalism but few would question their passion for continuing the so-called universal value imbued in the western civilization, even though their insistence on the biblical references is seemingly ridiculous.
However, under the context of anti-immigration campaigns in Australia and several European countries such as Germany and France, such an insistence is not surprising. The New-Nazi xenophobia is disguised in the veil of so-called Judeo-Christian value system and any other ethnic purification campaigns. At its extreme would be purge of the aliens or any exotic, assimilation/integration-resistant living beings. Strangely, compassion and acquiescence towards such purge-prone sentiment are often pervasive in that their view is staunchly conservative, speaking to the traditions, truths, and classics, as has been captured by the bleak movie trilogy The Purge. Conservatives seen in this haze is an honorable term that has no connotations for the left or the right wing but a symbol for acting on principles.
Being conservative is nevertheless equivalent to being careful with, and or nostalgic of, values, beliefs and principles. However, without delimiting its scope with certain conditions, it has little or no credibility in offering credible interpretations or can stand fast as a principle. In fact, it can be discredited quickly in their followers’/advocates’ own practices. Dr Donnelly, for instance, has made himself headlines again lately while claiming the benefit of reintroducing the cane to school, one of the many tools for conducting corporeal punishment. It is not surprising that as a school principal himself in the 70s and 80s, he was candid in equating disciplining to (the pathway to) education. With regard to his advocacy for the Judo-Christian value in education, the cane unmistakably embodies power to domesticate its participants, for conformist good manners regardless of their group or individual identifications. Again, Donnelly is not a lone wolf. Similar zombie ideas, proposals, and policies have resurrected and started to remerge lately in education, politics, and many other pockets of our contemporary society. Some UK schools, for instance, have boasted about plans for recruiting former militants to discipline their pupils to ensure effective education delivery.
The cane is neither dead, repackaged as a preservation-worthy tradition, nor will it depart as an embodiment of power. The Nazis are never buried to vanish their returns in the name of preserving traditions, heritage, characters, and strengths. The conservatives will never give in when they send missionaries to preach traditional values: nostalgic, displaced, but romanticized. The argument both Spurr and Donneley have tried to market resonates with their conservative stance and the so-called tradition, value, and ideologies without the white being ostentatiously flagged as the referent. In many ways, they deflect criticisms as a safe haven for the Donneleys and Spurrs to continue their amusement at others’ bewilderment. The problem is: when the cane is conveniently and systemically manipulated by the state to abuse its non-mainstream/conformist citizens, be it discursive, symbolic, or physical, the abused may resort to various possible means including violence or barbarian actions to avenge. Terror is the last and easiest means for the repressed to feel empowered at all cost. Even worse, it can be inevitably manipulated by those who are thirsty for power and control, as history has repeatedly been producing instances, from Lenin, Starlin, Hitler, to Mao Zedong. The recent tragedy at Paris in which twelve people at a satirical magazine was murdered by a three armed ISIS terrorists may serve a footnote. However admirable the 44 world leaders are when joining the post-massacre protest, the problem persists, as was captured aphoristically in Foucault’s argument:
“…the State is no longer an instrument that one race uses against another: the State is, and must be, the protector of the integrity, the superiority, and the purity of the race…racism is born at the point when the theme of racial purity replaces that of race struggle, and when counterhistory begins to be converted into biological racism” (Foucault, 2003, p. 81).
The terror will continue globally as long as the cane of the Judeo-Christian continues in operation.
In the academic circle, Barry Spurr was known as Australia’s first chair professor of poetry serving at the University of Sydney and was well regarded internationally as an established T.S. Eliot scholar before his dramatic suspension. Professor Spurr’s misfortune spiraled on 18 October 2014 when the editor of Newmatilda (www.newmatilda.com), an independent online media, published an email transcript allegedly hacked through Spurr’s university email box. In those emails, the professor “whimsically” though invariably, played with derogatory, racist terms such as abs and chiken-poohs. He also defamed the indigenous household in his suburb as “tips of rubbish iceberg” and blamed female rape victims for their own irresponsible dress and behaviors. Newmaltida’s release of some of the emails, sparked swift and intense anger from the public and he was suspended immediately by the University for a thorough investigation.
While looking over the email transcript, I was struck, however, is not by that he is a racist under cover–any one including myself can succumb to some shades of racism at some point of time, wittingly or unwittingly, in a matter of a slip of tongue, mind, or judgment. Upon reflections on the incident, I became deeply uncomfortable with this accomplished scholar’s pride, of being a member of the white, of being part of the Western civilization, and of being a gatekeeper of the standard to decide on the inclusion and exclusion of people. Without a doubt, he is a sensible person with a sense of social responsibility that is obsessive with a sense of reversed white guilt– a guilt in which white people as his kind must shoulder greater social responsibilities. A super hero complex inbuilt in his sense of whiteness is naturally manifested. It is his responsibility to provide solutions to other inferior people (including white bogans) in the dire of various social problems and to offer rescue.
Identified as a non-white, I am deeply concerned about the literary professor’s deplorable contempt on/ignorance of fundamentals of science and the obliviousness of time and space in his thinking. He is not intentionally anti-intellect but the pride, to a large extent, has led him to such a fate of defeat. He himself is a victim of the whiteness virus by birth or through education and career pursuit and has become a carrier of this virus. What chilled me even more is that he is not a lone wolf. He has a pack considering his academic ranking and that he is a member of the review panel of Australia’s National Curriculum English. He is the chosen one!
Interestingly on this note is Spurr’s attitude towards the Australian bogan culture. What at play here elucidates that indeed is not race or ethnicity that infiltrates Spurr’s conscience but rather than his privilege to be a superior or in other words, to be the powerful, materially or symbolically, a dangerous savior positioning held fast by many members of today’s ivory tower.
All talks about Donald Trump’s antics are on his shrewd showmanship which is indisputably effective, in retaining attention and drowning criticisms. But critics have taken no note of the power of his language, as well as his way of performing his language in texts such as his campaign speeches and press conference rants. Instead they ridicule it, ruthlessly and stupidly. Media coverage is flooded by the kind of comments such as Year 3 grammar and vocabulary, grammatical mistakes, typos, overtly simple text structure, illogical arguments …The list goes on. All of them certainly make sense if Trump’s language is compared with the style shared by the past US presidents and contemporary world leaders which is polished, grammatical, conspicuously academic, and unmistakably elite like. The kind of questions here I’d like to ask is: is this style really typical of the elite? Or is it simply outdated and out of touch.
Frustrated by Trump’s rusty-belt support, appeal to the lower-income white families, and so-called anti-intellect trend, very few critics and activists have calmed down and reflect on our language practices. For instances. How do we create text in digital times on our phone, blog, Facebook, and Twitter? Do we really use those classic rhetorical devices and the text conventions mediated by the print? Not really. In fact, over the past 20 years, our text practices and training basically have been turned upside down while we are migrating to the digital space. It seems the majority of us are doing well and are ripping all kinds of benefit from this change. To just name a few: speedy communications, easy access, and diverse channels and media.
But surprisingly and unfortunately, the majority of politicians and educators share the same front in language education and are active in condemning the new landscape of literacy education. They are worried about the Generation Y: too much screen time, lack of handwriting, dwindling interest in classic literature, too much video/VR gaming, insatiable texting… The list goes on, as well, and certainly it is an ominous sign of downgrading literacy and constitutes literacy jeopardy . To rescue the new generations, they throw billions of dollars into implementing conceivable sorts of standardized tests to name and shame students, schools, and universities and restore the old, outdated literacy skills. Many mainstream media are trapped in this mentality and have become accomplice in redistributing this discourse, uncritically.
Well this may seem ironic, or even trivial. But triviality is often where rebellion and revolution originate, if we genuinely believe those famous sayings that words are swords and that texts (discourse, narratives, etc.) have power. In retrospect, we must reassess Trump’s language and the texts he and his team are creating. They are not Year 3 level and they are embraced by the Gen Y dearly, wittingly and unwittingly. It really does not matter what type of membership we are holding. As Trump is a successful show business veteran, he understands and uses our language and texts all too well and he has been performing by exactly the same script to grab our eyes and hearts. To sum up with a blunt and bleak statement: we are all Trump fans, subconsciously. And even more troubling is: virtually, Trump has no rivals among his contemporaries in creating and performing our text . It is no secret that Trump will continue instigating controversies and causing serious problems, unless brave leaders of the Gen Y are willing to stand up.