Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mao Zedong Was a Generation Too Soon


In early summer 1957, Mao Zedong, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, launched a famous campaign: “Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend.”  Mao’s objective was to advance progress in the arts and sciences.  Instead the campaign produced an outburst of criticism against the Chinese Communist Party and its policies.  Mao ordered a crackdown bringing the campaign to a quick close.

If only Twitter, Facebook, and social media had existed in 1957.  Today the blogosphere is replete with hundreds of flowers blossoming and hundreds of schools of thought contending across a broad range of topics.  Efforts to constrain schools of thought typically fail.  Millions are free to speak their minds in plain language, or coded language if necessary.  Monopolies and oligopolies of thought are giving way to real diversity of thought.  Viva la revolution!

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