Ai Weiwei is a Chinese dissident who has escaped to the West and is now giving severe warnings to Americans about our state that has already moved toward authoritarianism. He said that Americans are already dealing with authoritarianism similar to China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 70s under Mao Zedong.
Weiwei talked with Margaret Hoover on Friday’s broadcast of PBS’s “Firing Line” to discuss his new book, “1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.” The artist expressed concern about the continuing growth of political correctness and “cancel culture” in the West.
Hoover used the opportunity to zero in on a line in the book that compared Mao’s nightly media directives and President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter. The corporate media show assuredly saw it as an opportunity to cast a poor light on Trump, as usual.
She referenced the “directives” Mao issued during the Cultural Revolution and asked Weiwei about his statement that they “served a function similar to Donald Trump’s midnight tweets in office,” communicating the national leader’s thoughts directly to his followers. She then asked Weiwei if he sees Trump “as an authoritarian.”
"Certainly the United States, with today's condition, you can easily have an authoritarian," says artist and activist Ai Weiwei — @aiww — who challenged China and became a political prisoner.
"In many ways, you are already in the authoritarian state. You just don't know it." pic.twitter.com/TODgkHaolp
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) November 12, 2021
He surprised Hoover by saying that he did not see Trump in that light. He noted that authoritarians must have a system supporting them and cannot do so alone. He then went on to say that there are indications of an authoritarian state in current-day America. He told the host that in the U.S., you are in such a state already in many ways, adding, “You just don’t know it.”
Upon further questioning, he said that many current events in America are comparable to the Chinese Cultural Revolution. He argued that people’s attempt to be “united in political correctness” is “very dangerous.”
He went on to warn that “societal groupthink” is dangerous and leads to an “extremely divided society,” which is, of course, much easier to control.