Winning the Opium Wars on American Will

November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

Commentary

In early August Economic Information Daily, a communist Chinese government mouthpiece, accused the multibillion-dollar online video game industry of peddling “spiritual opium” to Chinese teenagers.

Comparing video game playing to opium addiction has explicit historical and national security connections. Opium addiction, spurred by Great Britain, undermined China’s social and political cohesion and physically harmed the Chinese people. Addicts can’t think; they barely move; they certainly can’t soldier.

No wonder EID asserted, “No industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation.” Some 60 percent of Chinese teenagers play video games. The afflictions of degenerating eyesight and physical passivity associated with internet addiction of all types, including to social media, exact a national physical and mental toll.

Subsequently Beijing’s National Press and Publication Administration regulatory bureau limited minors to three hours of video gaming per week. NPPA declared, “Teenagers are the future of our country, the protection of their physical and mental health is directly linked to the vital interests of the people, and is related to the youngest generation at a rejuvenating period of our country.”

Overreaction by a dictatorship? Definitely knee-jerk. Kids can jink NPPA restrictions by lying about their age. However, stopping a damaging threat to social morale and physical fitness is a reasonable political and social response by any thoughtful government, including a nation founded on visionary commitment to inalienable individual rights, the United States being the premier and, in truth, the only example thereof.

I believe China is preparing for war against the United States. Physical decline and addictive behavior sap the “wolf warrior” spirit China’s president and threat to global peace, Xi Jinping, extols.

But similar digital, addictive, and manipulative ills stalk his designated enemy, America. Marxist “critical race theory” (CRT), repeating the Marxist model of oppressors versus oppressed, seeks to divide America by race. Straight out of “Alice in Wonderland,” CRT’s dense, obscurantist, and slippery opium lingo ultimately means: Hate America, facts be damned. American flaws are exaggerated; the flaws of the rest of the world? Victims! Everybody else is a victim!

CRT and other cults of victimhood ultimately place feelings first, not education and useful, truly critical knowledge. Victim cults do not communicate; they isolate by group and play US versus THEM. Individual aspirations, efforts, and successes? They are either ignored or damned.

CRT and victim cults simultaneously seed social division and disdain individual achievement. Ultimately, they weaken America.

The next generation of American warriors is confused, sidetracked, and pre-defeated by asserted blows to tender psyches and perceived microaggressive social pains. The next generation of American thinkers is cheated of knowledge when self-crowned elites claim math is racist. Sorry—2 plus 2 only equals 3 in Marxist hells ruled by bayonets.

CRT and the victim cults are huge con games, with arbitrary word rules that change. The cults are designed to intimidate, isolate, and manipulate.

Arbitrary rules are like arbitrary algorithms. Which is where the peculiar evil of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook enter.

In September media began publishing documents provided by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen that revealed the cruel impact Zuckerberg’s algorithms have on Facebook users. Facebook manipulators, using a technique sometimes called “amping,” amplified “provocative content” in order to promote “user activity,” which meant more money for Facebook.

Amping promoted posts and content that triggered emotional responses—negative, hateful, and emotionally damaging responses—and it pumped bucks into Zuckerberg’s bottom line.

Magnate Zuckerberg has doubled down on fantasy. He’s shape-shifted his company into Meta, purveyor of a metaverse of complete virtual reality. He offers addicts an opium world where life is a game of clicks, manipulative images, and amping.

What to do about educational and digital warfare waged on America?

Parents need to complain to school boards.

We can also combat harmful, fascist fantasies with intelligent narratives. Reading isn’t passive. Honest, warts-and-all histories of the U.S. are winners. So are informative novels. Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” sends an Airborne Ranger company into the stars. A boyhoodish novel, its subtle and very adult social and political spine emphasizes physical and moral courage and the value of patriotism.

As for a contemporary and earthly read: in June a friend of mine recommended Summer Nilsson’s first novel “Land of the Pines.” He said: “Not just for kids.” The novel mixes real and fanciful—the trees and bees run the newspaper business. A talented young female kitten (who sings) undertakes a rite of passage, confronting fear, temptation, and failure. Common sense, perseverance, talent, and good advice win out.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Austin Bay
Austin Bay is a colonel (ret.) in the U.S. Army Reserve, author, syndicated columnist, and teacher of strategy and strategic theory at the University of Texas–Austin. His latest book is “Cocktails from Hell: Five Wars Shaping the 21st Century.”