I've mentioned him before on here, and quote him frequently, but if you don't know Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe, you really should get to know the guy. I get his weekly feeds and he has the greatest perspectives on so many different topics, and he speaks so intelligently. I think he's pretty moderate, but leans conservative. He had an article last week about Tibet and the oppression from the Chinese government. He went on act length about self-immolation (burning oneself alive) and the kind of desperation that leads to someone committing that kind of suicide. Here is the article, and an excerpt from it:
NEAR THE KIRTI MONASTERY in a Tibetan area of China's Sichuan province, 21-year-old Lobsang Jamyang publicly set himself on fire last Saturday. It was the fourth time this month that a Tibetan protesting Chinese repression had resorted to self-immolation. When local residents attempted to retrieve his body from the police, Chinese security forces fired into the crowd, reportedly wounding two.
So far little is known about this latest Tibetan to burn himself alive. A few days earlier, however, a 42-year-old "Living Buddha" -- a prominent Tibetan monk named Sonam Wangyal -- swallowed and doused himself with kerosene, then set himself aflame in the western province of Quinghai. Sonam was an admired spiritual leader who had run an orphanage and a home for the elderly, and was regarded as the reincarnation of a high-ranking lama. Radio Free Asia reported that before immolating himself, he prayed and burned incense on a hilltop, and distributed leaflets calling his death a protest "for Tibet and the happiness of Tibetans."
Buddhist monks hold a candlelight vigil in Dharmsala, India, after learning of the self-immolation by Tibetan monks at the Kirti Monastery in China.
The Chinese Communist Party crudely suggested that Sonam had killed himself after being discovered having an affair with a married woman. Such vulgar insults say more about the regime that spreads them than about the martyrs it seeks to defame. So does Beijing's propaganda accusing the Dalai Lama -- the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate -- of orchestrating the self-immolations.
Since last March, 16 Tibetans -- nearly all of them Buddhist monks and nuns -- have set fire to themselves, desperate to open the world's eyes to the relentless brutality with which Beijing tyrannizes their people. The world is noticing. The wave of fiery suicides, the State Department's spokeswoman said last week, reflects "enormous anger, enormous frustration with regard to the severe restrictions on human rights, including religious freedom, inside China." In response, the Chinese foreign ministry sourly warned Washington not to use "Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's domestic affairs."
If you're anything like me, the "Free Tibet" slogan seems something trite and not really something consequential in my life, but it should be, you know? It's unreal the kinds of atrocities that go unnoticed because nobody really wants to rock the boat, except for some very brave and very desperate dissidents.
And then a post from the guys over at Powerline. I guess Obama, over the weekend, while commemorating the Roe v. Wade decision said, "government should not intrude on private family matters." That comment led to this post about all the ways in which public officials have intruded on private affairs. A long excerpt:
The subject of Obama’s declaration was abortion. But suppose your teenage daughter can get an abortion without your even finding out about it: is that a government intrusion on “private family matters?” Sure, but one that liberals like Obama favor.
How about the electricity that your family uses? If you have a large family, or one with a lot of computers and other electronic equipment, you probably use more electricity than your neighbors, and are willing to pay for it. But in many communities, there is a sliding scale for usage, so that if you consume, say, 20% more electricity than your neighbors, you pay a 40% higher bill. This is because liberals believe it is their business how we live, and how much power we consume.
Electric power reminds me of light bulbs. Did you think that your choice of light bulbs is a “private family matter?” Until a few years ago, it would not have occurred to anyone to disagree with you. But not today, as President Obama and his allies in Congress now dictate what light bulbs your family can use to illuminate your house.
Disposing of garbage used to be a “private family matter.” Not anymore. Every community has laws and regulations about recycling that inject the government into your garbage.
One might have said that providing for your family’s health was the quintessential “private family matter.” But that was before Obamacare, which not only will require you to buy health insurance, but will require it to be in a form dictated not by you and the insurance company, but by the federal government, so that you pay for dozens of coverages that your family doesn’t want or need.
Did you think that how your children plan their futures is a “private family matter?” That isn’t what the Democrats believe. If you have children in public schools, you are aware that they are constantly bombarded with global warming propaganda. Several years ago, when my youngest child was in the 4th or 5th grade, she had a homework assignment in which a series of questions hectored her as to what she intended to do in her future life to combat global warming. I was proud of her when she wrote answers like, “I will never fly in more private aircraft than Al Gore,” and “I will never live in a bigger house than John Edwards.” (That, by the way, was before we suspected that Edwards was destined for the Big House.)
Speaking of school: is where you send your children to school a “private family matter?” Of course not! The District of Columbia had a school choice scholarship program that allowed parents some discretion in selecting schools for their children, but Barack Obama and the Democrats killed it.
When parents think about private family matters, one thing that comes to mind is babysitters. Until now, you could negotiate a reasonable fee with a 16-year-old neighbor and, if you live in a neighborhood like ours, feel confident that your kids will be well cared for. No longer; not here in Minnesota, anyway: Minnesota’s Democrats are pressing for unionization of all child care workers! If they have their way, you and your wife won’t be able to go out to dinner without dealing with union bosses–not because of your free choice, but because of government intervention into private family matters.
The idea that liberal Democrats like Barack Obama regard anything as a “private family matter” is ludicrous. As far as they are concerned, every single thing that you and your family do is a proper subject for government regulation. The doctrine of “choice” ends once your child is born. If you think that there is some other aspect of your life, or your family’s that is so personal and so private that the Democrats couldn’t possibly want to regulate and control it–well, then, you are a fool.
I just thought both of these pieces were kind of cool because the writers feel so impassioned about the topics, particularly the latter of the two. I don't normally read their tone as being especially upset, but this time John Hinderaker was, and I think that's admirable. Not everything has to be measured, you know? Especially coming from someone who does approach things with a level head, it's nice to have the occasional outburst.