Whenever I get upset at the ridiculous lies that I hear or read in the media, I try to remember that the people telling them cannot be held entirely responsible for their own actions.
After all, mankind abandoned the progress it had made in civilizing itself at some point during the late 1960s, as far as I can make out. We cast aside the Age of Reason in favor of marijuana, rock-and-roll and relativism. And two out of three ain't bad.
At the time, it all seemed like a pretty good idea, but only because we were forced to compare it to what had come before: the 1950s, with stultifying intellectual oppression and a stark world of moral absolutes.
I'm Old School. So although I try to accept that individuals can no longer be held accountable for their own words, and that even obvious lies must be viewed as the moral and intellectual equivalent of the truth, I just can't do it.
However, this is all getting somewhat off track.
What has occasioned this philosophical ramble -- or sophomoric rant, if you prefer -- is China's rather predictable reaction to the US Department of Defense's Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2006.
I have to admit, I no longer look forward to these reports the way I did back in the 1990s.
Once you have heard the sentence: "China's economic growth, growing diplomatic leverage, and improvements in the PLA's [People's Liberation Army] military capabilities, contrasted with Taiwan's modest defense efforts, have the effect of shifting the cross-Strait balance in Beijing's favor," you have heard it a thousand times.
And of course, China's response was equally predictable:
"China is a peace-loving nation and has insisted on a way of peaceful development, with a national defence policy that is defensive in nature," said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超), according to a May 24 story from the Press Trust of India, in a story run on the Times of India's Web site.
The only thing surprising about this is that God didn't strike Liu dead on the spot. But I assume that one must have some kind of special agreement with the Almighty -- or the Devil -- before one can become a spokesman for the Chinese bandits.
"Taiwan is an inseparable part of China's territories. The Chinese government sticks to the policy of `peaceful reunification and one country, two systems,'" Liu said.
Inseparable? But Comrade Liu, they are already separated: geographically, politically, economically and socially. Try walking across the Taiwan Strait sometime. Or try criticizing your leaders in an opinion piece in the China Daily.
Furthermore, why does Beijing keep trying to sell us this "peaceful reunification" shtick when they've already told us in writing that they'll invade us if we "move toward independence," the catch-all phrase that China's "Anti-Secession" Law employs.
What will China do if some of us "move toward independence"? Or if just part of Taiwan declares independence? Let's find out:
I, Johnny Neihu, being of sound mind, do hereby declare that I and the district of Taipei which is my namesake are moving toward independence. We shall continue moving in this manner until such time as we see fit, and assert our right as responsible parties to move in whichever direction we desire, without fear of coercion or obstruction.