Hong Kong Fight for Freedom Workout and Speech Rehearsal - Transcript

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Chapters

0:02 Introduction: Societal Transitions and Historical Traumas
2:13 The Agricultural Revolution and the Power of Free Trade
6:23 The Impact of Taxing Tea and Revenue Concerns
9:04 The Ban on Opium and Consequences in China
10:12 Addiction and Stagnation in Chinese Society
13:13 British Military Action in China and Treaty Demands
15:43 The Consequences of the Opium Wars and Treaty Ports
15:57 Philosophical Freedoms vs. Government Control
18:50 The Significance of Trade and Power in Globalization
24:52 The Traumatic Legacy of the Opium Wars in China

Long Summary

The lecture delves into the impact of the Opium Wars on China's modern history starting in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The Opium Wars shaped China's trajectory and led to a century of humiliation as taught in Chinese history. The lecture explores how the Qing Dynasty in China became complacent and isolationist due to its control over its own citizens, leading to a trade imbalance with the British. The British, desperate for trade, resorted to selling opium from India to China, exacerbating addiction issues and causing a huge outflow of silver from China.

The Chinese government, facing a rising number of opium addicts and financial losses, banned opium trade, leading to tensions with British merchants. The refusal of compensation for destroyed goods and the subsequent war led to British dominance and dictated peace terms to China in 1842. This marked a significant blow to China's vanity and superiority complex, as the British advanced militarily and economically. Hong Kong was ceded to the British, becoming a free trade zone.

The lecture highlights how the Opium Wars shattered China's complacency and triggered a panicked modernization effort. The repercussions of the wars revealed weaknesses in the Chinese system and prompted a cultural shock that deeply affected the Chinese character. The aftermath of the Opium Wars laid the foundation for modern China's goals and challenges, including cultural superiority complex and continued modernization efforts. The lecture discusses how the Opium Wars not only reshaped China's history but also influenced global trade dynamics and power struggles.

Transcript
[0:02]
Introduction: Societal Transitions and Historical Traumas
[0:03]As it goes with individuals, so it also goes with entire societies of science. Insofar as.
[0:17]People end up, or entire societies could end up, not being able to make transitions from one particular state to another. So the reason I want to talk about this is this is obviously a very micro sense story of China. As the story of China, given that we're in Hong Kong, we're going to start with the late 18th and 19th centuries because China, in the modern sense, was foundationally shaped, traumatized harvest, and transformed by the opium wars. In fact, even in China now, today, the start of the opium wars, which was in 1839, is taught as the beginning of what's called the century of humiliation. I mean, it's quite interesting. It says something about the Chinese character that for Westerners, the worst thing is loss of freedoms, but for the Chinese, the worst thing seems to be loss of face, that this was humiliating, right?
[1:34]And after thousands of years of dynastic rule, dictatorial rule, after hundreds of years of the Qing dynasty, the leadership in China had grown vain and complacent. This is too… Now, let's move there.
[1:57]Music.
[2:13]
The Agricultural Revolution and the Power of Free Trade
[2:13]So in the 18th century and even a little early but in the 18th century a huge revolution came in through the west uh through england although it also occurred in the netherlands to some degree, and i remember when i was writing a novel on the agricultural revolution yeah i know it wasn't a bestseller but um i did a lot of research and there was a book called england's treasure by foreign traffic, and the idea that free trade could lead to wealth was pretty much incomprehensible. There was this idea that free trade would cause net outflow of goods and capital to people, and the British were one of the first to figure out that free trade was immensely beneficial to the government. And I won't get into all of the economic reasons as to why free trade is so beneficial.
[3:09]Suffice to say that one of the great foundations of English international power, the empire of the navy and so on, had to do with free trade, that it was this tiny island that ended up ruling a third of the world largely because of its commitment to free trade. Now, I mean, there was commitment to free trade under the AFFACT principles. That's not to be denied, But I think it's fairly safe to say, maybe even more safe to say that the commitment to free trade was because free trade caused immense amounts of money to flow into the treasury of the British government.
[3:47]And so when the British arrived, it's also true of the Portuguese, but when the British arrived in China, they wanted to trade. They wanted access to the Chinese market. Access to the Chinese market has been something that even the modern world struggles with. It's kind of tough to say no to China when they have a billion potential consumers, and especially now that they've become immensely more wealthy than they were under the Maoist regime.
[4:13]So the British wanted to trade with China. But China did not want to trade with the British. The emperor of the Qing Dynasty had grown rather lazy and complacent and isolationist. And of course, it reigned supreme over its own people. But that's the fascinating thing, is that when you have a government that does not encounter other governments, it gets vain and lazy because it's already mastered its own citizens. So they pose almost no threat to it, right? So because its own citizens were posing almost no threat to the Chinese government, It didn't really think about having to maintain military might or grow its legality to some citizens, which it had control over, right? So because of that, it didn't need to advance militarily. It basically governed the threats nearby, and it grew lazy and complacent. So, the British wanted to trade, but they were only allowed to trade in a small area called Pyeongchang, which is actually next to Hong Kong, sort of where we get to. There were 13 factories that were allowed to trade there, but they had to pay exorbitant taxes to local bureaucrats. They were restricted in terms of their trade, and they were only allowed to buy Chinese spirits diesel silver, which was mandated by the Chinese government.
[5:41]Now, that's pretty dense. It was a complicated thing. I was surprised to say, for the sake of this narrative or this story, the British wanted porcelain and tea in particular. The British were nuts for tea. And they wanted tea and porcelain from China. But China didn't really want much from England. Certainly, they didn't buy a whole lot of books on free trade. Oh, good, good, good. All right. So, given all of that, what happened?
[6:23]
The Impact of Taxing Tea and Revenue Concerns
[6:16]Well, the British government loves the tea trade and taxed tea quite heavily. Yes, my American friends or students of American history probably remember quite vividly what it was.
[6:35]So, in fact, the revenues from taxing tea ended up comprising 10% of the entire revenues of the British government. So the British wanted the tea trade. And, of course, the British became inevitably addicted to tea. So the British delivered from the UK to encourage the tea trade. But that was a problem because the British only had so much silver. And because they had to buy the tea using silver, they had a problem. The British government didn't want to lose the income. They didn't want to displease their citizens, but they were running out of silver. So what they did was they turned a blind eye when British merchants needed silver from China but couldn't get children's silver because trading was so restricted. So the British merchants did something, which is they took the opium from India, which of course was a British colony, they took the opium from India and started selling it into China. Now, opium trade was illegal in England, but you could sell it into China.
[7:46]I mean, opium was grown in China, although I think it's fair to say that the Indian opium was better. And what happened was the Chinese government, sorry, the opium was used in traditional Chinese medicine. Opium was used in traditional Chinese medicine. And that's one of the reasons why it ended up being so popular in China. Now, the other thing too is that it did end up being a very significant addiction problem in China, partly as a result of this, but it did allow, of course, the British to get a hold of the silk that they were losing out on in the trade, definitely relative to the aforementioned, to the enforced level. So they ended up selling the opium into China. Now, for local Chinese officials make a lot of money out of this, and there was taxes.
[8:56]That the condom decay that the Chinese government came to consider about two things.
[9:04]
The Ban on Opium and Consequences in China
[8:59]Number one was the growing number of opium addings in China. And the other was that the opium trend was causing a huge net outflow of silver, which of course the government was to board in China. So what happened was the Chinese government appointed an imperial commissioner who banned And the sale of opium. Arrested 17 opium dealers and then seized all of the opium that was stored in Chinese libraries. And in fact, even seized opium that was in people's ships. That was stored on ships. What was it, two point? Did I miss anything here? Oh, Kyle. We're gone? 2.6 million pairs.
[10:12]
Addiction and Stagnation in Chinese Society
[10:12]Now, again, rather than deal with the question as to why there were so many Chinese people becoming drug addicts, right? It's kind of an important question. And I think it's because the Chinese society was stagnant kind of out of time and, so the Chinese society you know we need to grow on the channel for a while so we tend to die and when a society is dying or stagnant to the point where it's don't be distinguished from you guys. Then people turn to thorns. And this reminds me, we could say there's a significant analogy to the opioid crisis in the United States. Now, rather than deal with root causes, of course the government just loves to ban things. And so in the Soviet Union, the government did. So they seized 2.6 million pounds of, opium and dumped it into the harbor. If that is the theory of the mission. Who have absorbed this equal power and apologize to the sea guards for diluting.
[11:30]Now, the British traders were, of course, outraged, they had millions and millions of pounds of goods that they had bought and paid for and could no longer sell. They were facing pressure from their investors, so they demanded that the Chinese government compensate them for their destroyed goods. You just make something illegal, you have to according to the British law, you can't apply something retroactively. And say, well, it's now illegal. Therefore, I'm going to seize all the opium that was legally brought into China and destroy it. So the British said, no, no, no, that's not good. That's no good. Now, of course, not only do you have 50 months to require work on this stuff, but China has become so isolationist that, it wouldn't even accept as far as a good support unless the ambassadors were to fully admit that the Chinese, rulers were morally, spiritually, and accidentally superior to their own interstate and all of this kind of just the rain nonsense that goes on in some cultures. So
[12:45]I've got a little tennis injury on my left shoulder. It's like weights. So what happened was they demanded that the Chinese government pay it. Of course, the Chinese government wouldn't pay. Then they demanded the British government pay. Because, you know, it's like going to the cops. So they're going to the international cops. And so the British government didn't earn money with that. And, of course, things were bad all around. They were using money to manage to trade all that.
[13:13]
British Military Action in China and Treaty Demands
[13:14]So, to make a long story short, the British government attacked south of China. It wasn't interesting taking over China, it wasn't. But it was Chinese. And it was really unequal. I mean, these sort of ancient Chinese warships were easily exploded inside. The Chinese had these terrible muskets that only had a range of 50 yards. They had to fire one bullet every minute, and they were just completely overwhelmed. Now, of course, a lot of the rulers in part of the whole stadium faced them, because the Chinese believed that they were still superior. They couldn't possibly be defeated by the upstart Whiteys. So they refused to tell the Emperor how bad things were going. They were doing quite a lot of great things were going on, beating the British. So the British just kept marching up and up, and they ended up taking Shanghai, and they.
[14:09]Taking all of the barges. They ended up taking all the barges, the tax collection barges, which would score very bad for the finance of the emperor, right? So, in 1842, check, check.
[14:26]So yeah, the British ended up demanding their own terms, right? Now, what were these terms? Well, they want to trade, that's kind of what they are there for. And so they demanded Hong Kong, and they got Hong Kong as a British protection, where they could trade whatever they wanted. And it became a free trade zone. Free trade zone being no taxes, no tariffs. I mean, it's a spell, right? So the chiming basically helps the ants to wallow I think that's the sound first and that's how it ended up there, which I feel, like I'm missing something I'm sure I am.
[15:35]All right.
[15:43]
The Consequences of the Opium Wars and Treaty Ports
[15:43]Okay, so that's good. Later treaty, force China, treaty ports. Okay, so that's a very how this all came about.
[15:57]
Philosophical Freedoms vs. Government Control
[15:57]So now the question is, what does it mean? Now, there are two minds about this, and this goes back to the story over in Slayton, which is this.
[16:19]Rulers see there are philosophers and so on who argue with these kinds of freedoms, and that's important. but rulers, they don't want you to be free. They want you to leave it out. They want you to have money. They want you to have rules. Because of that, they're willing to grant you certain freedoms, but not because they philosophically or morally care about those freedoms, but because those freedoms end up making you much more productive as a tax-paying citizen. That's kind of important.
[17:00]So When it comes to trade, there was this massive philosophical commitment to free trade, but what there was was a government, the British government, that recognized that it had a free trade advantage, that it would end up with a lot more money if it sued a particular election. Yeah, and it's a lot of existential values. It's that which serves what's called real politics, which is how the structures, states, actually work. Oracle. In the long run, of course, failed to work. So, yeah, they could not brook any diminishment in trade. I mean, they knew the Portuguese were sniffing around China. Of course, the Americans were also sniffing around China. The French joined it, the Second Opium War. So the British knew that either they got trades and sections from China or some other country might be able to do so. And so there was kind of an arms race when it came to trade.
[18:10]Because there's this belief, or there was this belief, that it's a city. I mean, it's hard to know if it's a city, except by William Howarth. But the belief goes something like this, that if you get an empire, you get a lot of money. And if you get a lot of money, you are doing very well. Now, empire is fair for everyone in general, except for rules. But there was an arms race with regards to trade. And that arms race played out with the Chinese in a pretty powerful manner. Okay, so trade is wealth, power.
[18:50]
The Significance of Trade and Power in Globalization
[18:51]And this is the original part of globalization, right? Now, the Chinese civilization, as I'm sure many recent culprits do know, the Chinese civilization was a very advanced, paper party. They had basically IQ tests for the mandarins, for their bureaucrats, gunpowder, an incredibly advanced civilization. But then, because they didn't have freedom of speech, they didn't have freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, things get very stagnant very quickly in those situations. And… I don't know if you've heard this, but I've heard this a lot.
[19:43]So they didn't grow they stagnated and so they felt of course because they had all of this amazing, uh technology and security and it would be 100 years it's 20 years it's any pretty necessary mongolian i think the chinese felt that they do these things so they had the security of vanity And then they had the deep shock of encountering a far more technologically and especially militarily powerful opponent. And that revealed some terrible… …in the Chinese system. It was kind of deeply shocking to them.
[20:31]I'll be your friend in the world. So that was terrible stuff. That bit is his girly wits. But yeah, my left shoulder was getting so tendonitis. Anyway. So that was deeply shocking. And it shocked the vanity. And it shocked people's faith in the government. Because when your government is telling you you're the very best, and then some tiny island from the other side of the world keeps your ass in war using popular warships along the way from home and you have the advantage of local supply routes and overwhelming manpower and you still get your ass kicked. It's incredibly humiliating. And it was a blow to vanity. Now, blows to vanity is very hard and it either destroys you or it makes… …one face. I don't have a set place to be. I don't have a…
[21:41]So, China never recovered from this, and its complacency was shocked into a sort of panicked modernization and modernizing has been foundational to china's goals since well you could really argue since the end of the qing dynasty the early 20th century if there's a brief republic and then of course china felt that it recovered itself and it recovered itself ownership in the um 1949, communist two under matter, But that vanity is very tough of a culture to overcome. And there still is, of course, a culture of superiority in China. And some of it is actually pretty fairly well-reserved. Chinese have very high hues, incredible spatial reasoning, very fast reflexes. There's an enormous amount of demand about the Chinese race, just as there is to me about everyone else. Okay, so I need a good closer here.
[23:03]That is quite weightless Probably not Hopefully I'm not too too bad, Okay, so Do I have anything here? As far as closing goes. Yeah.
[23:26]Alright. So, how about we run through this again? Yeah, alright. My best friend when I was in my teens, one of my best friends for sure, was a man of extraordinary ability. And I envy his machinations in particular were truly astounding. He was a physicist. He arranged fine. His class would get them some things over and set in his rat test. He had a master in physics. Brilliant. He taught me a lot. But I just didn't have this skill. There's a certain amount of, I think, just natural ability that, you know, you can push the boundaries a little, but you kind of got to go with what you're born with, right? And, My legs. So, yeah, there's only a certain amount that you can futz around with when it comes to your basic abilities. I just do my leg lifts, because I might spend some part of the day sitting around, so… Yeah, sorry for the Burt Reynolds pose, but… So, vanity.
[24:44]So I'll do that.
[24:52]
The Traumatic Legacy of the Opium Wars in China
[24:53]So the start of China in the modern phase, the end of China in the stagnant phase is basically the 19th century, and in particular, the opium wars. So the opium wars were such a deep shock to the Chinese culture and character and system of government and system of social contract that it's really impossible to overemphasize just how powerful they are. Since Hong Kong comes out of the opium wars and we're here in Hong Kong, let's run through this briefly. It's an incredibly powerful story. So it is so traumatic to the Chinese character. is so foundational to modern Chinese character that the start of the Opium War, from the start of the Opium War in 1839 until Mao's takeover of China under communism in 1949 is called the Century of Humiliation. Which is interesting, right? Because Westerners fear most the loss of freedoms, but in China the worst thing is loss of face. Oh no, we deleted that. Okay.
[26:03]I thought I deleted this. All right, there it goes.
[26:15]So, the Qing Dynasty in China, which had ruled for hundreds of years, and remember, there had been dynastic rule in China for thousands of years, but the Qing Dynasty had become lazy and isolationist. And it actually refused to accept Galatian isolationist oh yeah so um so.
[26:42]Lazy isolationist. Okay, so let's stay with that.
[26:54]And it had also neglected to tend to its military compasses. Why? Because it had unrivaled control and power over China. It did not face any significant threats from the countries around it. And of course, when the government is facing its own usually legally disarmed citizens, since it gets kind of lazy and complacent about developing its military capacities.
[27:16]And when it first began to encounter the Portuguese and the British, then it was, I mean, very haughty, very arrogant, and very superior, which, you know, was not too shocking, just like to agree for the Chinese character. And it refused to accept ambassadors unless those ambassadors kowtowed and accepted that the Chinese have a state They were vastly superior to their own heads of state and so on. And the British in particular were desperately thirsty for trade. While they were thirsty for tea, they really wanted trade. The reasons for that we'll get into later. But they were not allowed to. I mean, foreigners weren't allowed to enter into China, very close borders. But the British were allowed to trade in an area called the Thirteen Factories, which was in Canton, which was, of course, adjacent to Hong Kong. And so the British began trading. Now, they had to trade, they were only allowed to trade using silver, this was mandated by the Chinese government, so they had to buy Chinese goods with silver, which is very important as we'll see. They were also subject to the most astonishing taxes on the Chinese side. It really was a real shakedown, even by sort of modern international trade standards.
[28:30]There was a trade imbalance, which led to war. And the trade imbalance was this, that in England, the British, they desperately, I mean, you know, British and their tea, right? They loved tea from China. They also loved China, the porcelain from China. And so there was this just massive flow of ships carrying British silver to China to trade it for tea, which they would then take back to England.
[28:57]And the tax on tea, remember the British government that loves their tea tax, as my American friends will remember, for the Boston Tea Party. So the tea tax grew so much because the British were so addicted to tea. But the tea tax grew to the point where it actually constituted about 10% of the entire tax, entire revenue of the British. And this is the amazing thing. So trade, there was sort of an ideological focus on trade, but trade was a way of swelling the coffers.
[29:25]And you may sort of wonder why the british was so fanatical about opening up trade with china well it's because if they didn't do it then the americans were going to do it or the portuguese were going to do it or the french who joined in the second opium wars were going to do it and if they locked in trade with china then they would you know trade was an incredible source of wealth which is very different from the medieval conception of closed waters and, insular trade non-trade and so on right so So they were fanatical about opening up trade. So they were trading with China, but there was a big problem, which was that the Chinese didn't really want anything from England. Certainly didn't want any books on free trade, limited government, freedom of the press, free speech. They weren't lining up to get John Milton's area of Connecticut or anything like that. And so what happened was there was a huge outlay of silver from England to China. So, this became a problem. So, what happened? Well, the British merchants began delivering one good that Chinese wanted, which was opium.
[30:34]Now, China's relationship with opium, of course, is quite complicated because it is used extensively, of course, in traditional Chinese medicine. And it was grown in China and it was not illegal in China. I've read some reports that it's used for recreational purposes was illegal, but that's really, really tough to sort of figure out or sort out from a legal standpoint. So the British started delivering the opium from India to China. And –.
[31:10]This way, because the Chinese paid for the opium with silver, this restored the trade imbalance between England and China. And things seemed to be relatively okay for a while. But the problem was, well, two problems for the Chinese government. Number one, they got a population that quite quickly became addicted to opium. And, of course, opium is one of the most terrible drugs to be addicted to, right? I think it's a heroin that's synthesized from opium. It's a terrible addiction. So the Chinese government was very concerned about rising opium addiction levels and, of course, they had huge outflows of silver now, which before they were gathering, they had huge outflows of silver because the British were selling opium for salt. So there was a debate about how to handle it, whether you should go for root causes or just slap down the consequences and because it's easier to slap down consequences than address root causes, I mean, I think it's interesting that a stagnant society, a society where people can see didn't have much freedom and didn't see much future, that you would have a lot of drug addicts. And to me, this kind of mirrors what's going on with the opioid crisis in the United States.
[32:21]So the emperor appointed an imperial commissioner who banned opium dealing. And in fact, he arrested 1,700 opium dealers and seized 2.6 million pounds of opium that was stored in Chinese harbors and even on ships and dumped it all into the ocean. In fact, the guy sat down and penned a lengthy poem apologizing to the sea guards for dumping all of this pollution into their domain.
[32:50]British merchants were outraged. I mean, they had predators, they had investors who wanted their money, and so they demanded that the Chinese government recompense them for the goods that they had seized and destroyed. And-
[33:10]The Chinese government wouldn't do it. And then, of course, they turned to the British government. And the British government couldn't afford it. Or at least they said they couldn't afford it. But this threatened whole trade and the whole lucrative 10% of the total British revenue tax from China on tea, or tax on tea from China. And so the British started a war. And i mean the british royal navy i mean they were up against these basically papyamache books from imperial china and the chinese infantry chinese soldiers had these really ancient muskets if they had anything at all which had a range of maybe 50 yards and you could only fire one.
[33:48]Musket bullet a minute and they were just evilly overwhelmed and british sailed up and they took over land and they they took over shanghai and they seized all the government tax barges which was of course pretty catastrophic to the emperor's finances and to make a long story short by 1842 the british were able to dictate peace terms for a size style to the chinese government and this is such an enormous shock because you see when the british were invading the chinese local chinese rulers refused to tell the emperor how bad things were because there was this you know you know they shoot the messenger problem and the vanity and so on and so the emperor only found out at the very end how badly things were going at one point the british even burned down the emperor's winter palace during the one of the opium was so the british demanded concessions they got hong kong they got a free a trade zone and a bunch of other things and they got in a later treaty they got most favorite trading status and the emperor was forced to accept that the british were equal to to the chinese chinese emperors british head of states were equal to the Chinese Empress. So, very, very powerful stuff that happens. Okay, did I miss anything? It's not bad.
[35:10]1898, okay. And then you have to stand with the freight train stuff. Good. Alright, I think we're close to ready I'll do it one or two more times.

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