Politicized labels leave no room for reason

Updated: 2013-09-10 07:19

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily)

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Even with scholars who are usually labeled as conservative or liberal-minded, it is not necessarily accurate when it comes to how he or she thinks on a particular problem.

The most dangerous thing about labeling people and certain kinds of matter is to politicize or inject ideological bias into some otherwise neutral labels as we did in the 1960s or 1970s.

The post-1990 generation should just refer to people born after 1990 and the label of the post-1980 generation should just refer to people born after 1980. A landlord is just a person in possession of some land and a capitalist in possession of an enterprise and it should have nothing to do with the question of whether they are good or bad.

Some people may still have to change the habit of making assumptions about people and things just on the neutral labels they wear because of the inertia of political movements in the past.

But it is really problematic when some make similar assumptions in their articles from the premise that a particular neutral label may have ideological connotations according to them. By doing so, they leave no room for reasoning. Which is the sole prerequisite for fair public discourse about anything.

It is not only a matter for academia. The more people are accustomed to making assumptions through labels or preconceptions, the more difficult it is for things to be done in a reasonable manner. The most absurd example of such an assumption was the slogan: "We would rather keep weeds that are proletarian in nature than seedlings that are capitalist in nature."

Serious discussion about something in a reasonable manner is the prerequisite to do a good job about it. That was the very basis, on which the opening-up and reforms were initiated at the end of the 1970s.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily. zhuyuan@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 09/10/2013 page8)

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