Freedom like the Wind

This is an essay dedicated to college students in Hong Kong, especially those who would not agree with me now. I wish you can understand, sooner or later.

The song I love most is one called “Blue Lotus”. It begins with a magical melody and the lyrics “There is nothing in the world, to stop your dream of freedom”. Indeed, “freedom” is a word that makes everyone feel differently, yearn for, and quest for in his/her entire life. You may want to say “this guy is funny”, because you may be thinking this question, “isn’t freedom something everyone was born with, at least for most people in the world?” I wish you are not too angry when I tell you, my answer is actually “no”.

The freedom I want to discuss does not mean the same thing to you and to me, at least not entirely.

Everyone needs to express himself/herself at times when they are happy, or unhappy. When you feel the coldness of the world and get nobody’s attention, a feeling of desperation probably would be triggered in your mind. When your heart is filled with sorrow and it luckily meets the warmth from another mind, we all know how special that moment can be. However, if we cannot find the warmth we need for a very long time, we may get frustrated, and lost. Crash of emotions occurs between us and others, such as our parents, partners, children, friends, and of course, strangers.

Occasionally, the expense of these crashes is unexpectedly high. I came across a simple but very touch movie recently. It is called The Mustang, which tells the story of an inmate learning how to get along with a horse and to a deeper level, with himself. The most memorable moment in the film to me was when a psychologist asks a group of prisoners how long it takes them to make the wrong decision and action that lead them into cells. To my surprise, the unit used by the inmates is seconds. One guy said it took 22 seconds for him, another said 2 seconds. There were some other answers, and the answer from Roman, the protagonist, was split second. The price he was paying for that split second was 12 years. What made him feel worst probably was not the loss of superficial-level freedom, but the loss of SELF. He made his wife paralyzed, and left her to his beloved daughter, who was still a child then. He was lost.

You may be a little confused now. How can one lose his/her “self”? People are not born with a “self”. Children develop the awareness of self around two when they start to learn how to say “no”. Then when they become teenagers, they say no more meaningfully, they model pop stars, instead of their parents, in the ways they say and do things. Then when they grow into adulthood, role models dive into the subconscious level. However, there are always differences between who I was, who I am, and whom I want to be, the ALL THREE of which are what I call SELF.

When we do not have a SELF, we do not have the true freedom, because you cannot be what you want to be without accepting who you were in the past and who you are now. You cannot make a tree grow taller by cutting it in the middle. The three components of SELF need to be consistent, or at least compatible, with each other. How to make that happen is easy for some of us, but difficult for others.

So, why am I talking about all this when the discussion is about freedom. Because today, I see many people not seeing the difference between true and false freedoms. I grew up in China, which is infamously a place where people do not have the “freedom of speech”, where human right is not respected. I thought it is true. Untile I spent many years in the US, which is a place famously where people have the freedom. I found they allow people to call their president and his family “chimpanzees”, they allow armless African American to be killed without letting the murderer pay a penny, they isolate minorities by segregation, they “encourage” black youth to commit robbery crimes by allowing a popstar to say that is cool in his song … Those are freedom, which even let their presidential election interfered by foreign nations. Oh, yes …, freedom of speech, foreign nations have that too.

I am somewhat mean when I was saying all those. Some people in the US may argue with me that the following was what was said in the Declaration of Independence,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

My friends, you are exactly right, but do you remember what was said after this one. It is the following,

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men …”

So the exact purpose of Governments is to constrain some people at some time. When citizens cannot tell fake news from the truth, isn’t the government’s responsibility to eliminate them? When a popstar is teaching my son how to rob others “safely”, isn’t the government’s role to regulate? When a person is abused in social media, isn’t it a government’s duty to protect?

I am not saying the Chinese government was always right. I just want to say it is not so different from other western-style governments in protecting people’s freedom. I do not really care if I have the freedom to defame Trump, I care if I can have HAPPINESS. I want to be a good father, a good husband, a good professional contributing to the world. And to do all of that, I want to live in a SECURE society, so that my happiness won’t be disregarded because other people’s “liberty”. I do not want to be abused on social media, so I am not going to do that towards others either. And I do not wish others are allowed to do that by a government.

Freedom of speech is just a lollipop. I am not a kid. I want to pursue the true freedom, don’t you?

August 2019

Email: william ‘at’ unitedminds ‘dot’ net. 


©2019 by William@UnitedMinds. Article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY-ND) license. (

Why It Is Time to Debut Global Governance

May 9, 2019

Dub XS

Let me start with the big picture. The Paris Agreement set a very high goal of reducing carbon emission. Some scholars proposed adopting a global carbon tax to aid the reduction process (Crattini et al. 2019). They suggest redistributing the revenue to citizens to win public support. However, we see this plan as something that will never work out.

Because the main idea here is still asking “polluting industries” to curb emission all by themselves, to compete with each other, to win or to lose in this “great game”. If we think of the globe as a big industry (or family), the energy industry is just doing their job to support other sectors (family members). What people are doing now is simply using economic measures to force the energy industry to completely replace fossil fuels in a very short time scale. We do not care if some people (countries) will lose their jobs or not; we assume some eager competitors will seek opportunities to rise in this game, and reach our ultimate goal: net-zero carbon emission.

This strategy did not really work for regular environmental pollution problems, not completely. We know the fact is that some countries got clean air while pollution problems are transferred to other areas … If we think we can automize everything and put our heavy polluting industries to some deserts, we reach a solution by then. However, CO2 is transported everywhere, thus moving the emission sources spatially does not help anyone, not really.

People put their hope on those eager newcomers in the energy industry. On the one hand, their promises cannot really be trusted. If you look at the documentation about the “Great Leap Forward” in China around 1960, you will find out what kind of lies people are willing to tell when they are under great public pressure and economic temptation. On the other, quite a few nations around the world rely on the traditional energy industries (petroleum, natural gas, shale gas, coal, etc.) What will they do if some of their citizen, if not all, lose their jobs? They will have to move to other industries or countries, introducing competition, if not conflicts, to their new places of living.

I am timid to mention the word “war”, but it is just a fact that if we (anyone not working in the traditional energy industry) keep treating our industrial partners (family members) so harshly, the probability to have some regional, or even global-scale, wars, is obviously high.

Thus we suggest people in every corner of the earth work together to face the global warming problem. Instead of reprimanding traditional energy industries (our family members), why don’t we collaborate with and support them?

Surveys have already shown that the public supports the idea of the global carbon tax if it is used to mitigate global warming (the same paper, Crattini et al. 2019). If we want to avoid destabilizing the global society and maintain our current economic thrust, the best strategy is to keep every other part of the global industry fixed while replacing the broken part, the traditional energy industry — that is, pumping revenue from the global carbon tax to the traditional energy industry directly and make them rejuvenate.

This sounds a bit like the old Soviet-type economic planning (STP). STP has a lot of disadvantages. However, one of its major advantages is to reduce the unemployment rate. Unemployment may be tolerable for one country, but if unemployment happens at a global scale, can we really bear it? Actually, despite all kinds of critics, the GDP of the former Soviet Unit was $2.7 trillion in 1989. It made the Soviet Union the second largest economy by that time (the first was the USA, which had a GDP of $5.6 trillion in 1989). The former Soviet Union also contributed tremendously to the development of science and technology of the human world, which is a fact that cannot be denied by anyone. There must be some advantages in the STP approach, otherwise, the tremendous economy and science contribution of the Soviet Union to the world cannot be explained.

Today’s world is interconnected by global trades and worldwide waves of immigration. Some of us are “weakly” connected by economic activities, but for others, the connection across continents is deep in our blood. Today’s global economy is filled with Darwinism. Yes, competition helps people contain their greediness in business and helps humankind as a whole to achieve more in the technology field. But as a whole, what other species are we trying to compete with? Aliens? Do we really have to treat each other so harshly to advance human history?

Global warming is a challenge to all of us. We do not really have more time to argue and compete. The psychological nature of human competition is not very different from that of dog play. Puppies appear to be wrestling with each other on the surface while they play, but we know they are just having fun underneath. They do lose their temper occasionally (and we all know the human counterpart of this), but most of the time, a fight without hurting each other is a good and fun play. Yet, after all, a play is a play, we don’t have time for that kind of fun.

STP sounds scary for some of us on this planet. But this seems to to be the only acceptable option for us for now and a foreseeable future. And, since we have run this exercise once (actually more than once …) in human history, we wouldn’t repeat the same kind of mistakes anymore, would we?




©2019 by William@UnitedMinds. Article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution(CC BY-ND) license. (


This is an article we are working towards formal publication. If you have serious comments about it, please send an email to william ‘at’ unitedminds ‘dot’ net.