Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, wrote a piece in the New York Post today arguing that the Bo Xilai scandal in China proves that the U.S. is superior. He says that “China should learn from us,” implying that there is nothing to learn from China.
The problem with his argument is that he only speaks about the corruption in China while completely ignoring the widespread corruption in the U.S. By painting only a one-sided, incomplete picture, his point is, well, pointless. Let me provide a counterpoint to each one of his points. First, the U.S. has also had its share of mysterious deaths such as those of Vince Foster and Clifford Baxter whom many believe were cover-ups not too dissimilar to the charge levied against Bo’s wife. Second, the U.S. also has its share of mafia-like groups in government who routinely engage in conflicts of interest to benefit themselves financially. For instance, 60 Minutes recently reported that members of Congress exempted themselves from insider trading laws so that they often make millions from the laws they pass. Third, China is not the only police state that infringes on civil rights. U.S. law enforcement officials have violated U.S. Constitutional rights when Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested since the Supreme Court had ruled in CLARK v. COMMUNITY FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE in 1984 that “overnight sleeping in connection with the demonstration is expressive conduct protected to some extent by the First Amendment.”
The bottom line is that corruption exists in every nation so the existence of it does not prove or disprove one form of governance is superior to another. The best all nations can do is to find ways to reform current systems and find ways to limit further corruption. Using China’s corruption scandal as an excuse to remain complacent and avoid serious conversation about reform in the U.S. would pose enormous setbacks to Americans. Yes, China needs to clean up its government corruption. The U.S. however, is also not perfect. Rather than bask in self-satisfaction, the U.S. should ask itself what it can learn from what China does right as well as its mistakes.