How to Democratize Hong Kong

Hong Kong has never been a democracy and it is certainly not one now. It has, in fact, become decidedly less democratic in the last few years. And that is a reason for the friends of a democratic Hong Kong to feel down-hearted. But there is no need for despair. There is need rather for a strategic retreat and for tactical rethinking.

Democracy is, after all, more than a governmental system; it is, first of all, an ideal – one  that  is never fully realized but can only be approximated. It is the ideal of a group of people who together rule themselves. This is most easily pursued in a small group of mature, informed, and like-minded people. But states and, in particular, modern states are not like this. There are vast numbers of citizen of all ages in all kinds of condition, with degrees of knowledge or ignorance, who are anything but like-minded. The ideal of democracy thus becomes easily confused. And, worse, we lose sight of what lies behind it which is a conception of human nature as capable of a proud self-determination.

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The Triumph of Institutional Nihilism: Hong Kong’s new M+ Museum

On the outside Hong Kong’s new M+ museum has all the charm of a cigarette box; inside it is as heart-warming as an oversized car garage.  There is nothing intimate, personal, attractive, alive, or memorable about this building. M+, like its sister institutions, is in fact nothing but a monument to a cold institutional nihilism.

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