Via James Fallows, this caught my eye:
The pollution appeared to peak on Saturday evening, when an air monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing showed an air-quality index reading of 755. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says an index reading of above 300 is 'extremely rare' in the U.S. and generally occurs only during events such as forest fires.These are unheard-of levels of pollution in China, and should serve as a reminder of what the cost of China's industrialization and modernization is adding up to in terms of destroying the environment and the quality of life for the people.
Fallows cites an editorial that extols the notion that "democracy" is the only way to inform the Chinese people of what is happening. Well, what kind of democracy would accomplish this? Certainly not the form practiced here in America, where one of the two major political parties is home to the most anti-science, anti-knowledge, and now anti-algebra mindsets ever recorded in this country.
China is a country that ignores reality; America is a country that laughs it off as a liberal conspiracy. Next time you laugh at a "tree hugger" or an "environmentalist," remember those haunting pictures of people wearing face masks. Our media is complicit in spreading disinformation and mischaracterizations in a way that has now made it possible to sneer at what is actually happening without a shred of introspection.