Think About It ...
A few years ago, whilst still living in Glasgow, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a lovely Chinese lady for a coffee. She was studying in Glasgow for a year, and had left her husband and her five year old son in China.
She was a scientist, as was her husband. They lived in an apartment which was situated in a huge complex, the size of a town, she told me. In this complex was their home; their son's school; their medical centre; the place of scientific research at which they both worked.
The complex also contained all the shops they needed for food, clothing and any accessories they wished to buy.
"In other words," she said, "we never have to leave our complex."
I asked her how she felt about this, and she stared at me for a short while, wondering why I would ask such a question. How did she feel about it? Well, this simply wasn't an issue. The State provided all this for her, and she knew she was really well off compared with most other Chinese people. How could she not feel well off? She had all her needs provided right there 'on her doorstep', and her son was receiving a fantastic education.
I then began talking about her son, and I asked her if she ever wished she could have another child.
"Never," she said.
She went on: "In China," she explained, "there are far too many people. We need to reduce our population and this is such a good way. There is one major problem, though, with the policy ... "
Ahhhh, I thought, she does see at least one problem ...
"The problem is this: all our educated people stick to the rule, and we have one child each. Unfortunately, many of the farmers and peasants have more than one child, so that means that over time the gene pool in China will be worsened by them."
This was her one and only problem with the policy. It was the problem of those pesky peasants, who wouldn't stick to One Child Policy.
It was all so clear to her. So easy to grasp. So beneficial for China. So easy to implement. So worthy, because the child you did have was able to have the best education and the best opportunities.
Initially I was surprised. Shocked, even. But then, I was simply sad.
Sad at how easily a person accepts their being bound, if all their wants are provided. Sad at how a person's liberty to choose can be totally removed, and that person doesn't even bat an eyelid. In fact, they wouldn't change anything about it, even if they could (except for the pesky peasants).
In the past, Patrick Henry cried, "Give me liberty or give me death!".
Queen Boadicea cried: "Is it not better to be poor and free than to have great wealth and be slaves?"
But hundreds, thousands, millions in the world today prefer wealth and comfort rather than true liberty.
Countless numbers of well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated people are told what to do, how to live, what to think, how to act, where to live. They are told how many children to have. But in exchange, they are given job opportunities, homes (though not their own), access to healthcare and to education.
And the 'people would have it so'.
This lady was Chinese. But was she really a million miles from where we are today in our Western world?
Go on - think about it. I dare you.