I’m frankly amazed that the Chinese, despite having almost no national experience with Western-style political institutions, have somehow been able to quite accurately diagnose the ideological disease afflicting Western politics.
If you look at any thread about Trump, Islam or immigration on a Chinese social media platform these days, it’s impossible to avoid encountering the term baizuo, or literally, the ‘white left’. It first emerged about two years ago, and yet has quickly become one of the most popular derogatory descriptions for Chinese netizens to discredit their opponents in online debates.
So what does ‘white left’ mean in the Chinese context, and what’s behind the rise of its (negative) popularity?…
The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the ‘white left’. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.
Apart from some anti-hegemonic sentiments, the connotations of ‘white left’ in the Chinese context clearly resemble terms such as ‘regressive liberals’ or ‘libtards’ in the United States.
My own preferred term is actually ‘shitlib.’ But ‘baizuo’ is a totally cool term that I intend to start using. To be understood when speaking, however, it’s necessary to correctly pronounce the Chinese tones. ‘Bai’ has a rising tone, and ‘zuo’ a falling-rising tone.
Here’s another bit of impressive wisdom displayed by the Chinese.
Although economic disparity in China has been worsening in recent years, sociologist Yu Xie found that most Chinese people regard it as an inevitable consequence of economic growth, and that inequality is unlikely to give rise to political or social unrest.
That’s precisely the attitude conducive to economic growth.
In an academic-style essay that was retweeted more than 7000 times on Weibo, a user named ‘fantasy lover Mr. Liu’ ‘reviewed’ European philosophy from Voltaire and Marx to Adorno and Foucault, concluding that the ‘white left’ as a ‘spiritual epidemic’ is on its way to self-destruction. He then stated that Trump’s win was only “a small victory over this spiritual epidemic of humankind”, but “western civilization is still far from its self-redemption”.
Yet, Freedom! Analysis: TRUE.
If China can somehow manage to inoculate itself from the disease of shitlibbery, it will have a huge advantage over the West, and will quite possibly surpass the West in both economic and social terms.