July 19, 2024
The Vatican and the Western business elite, once instrumental in the West’s winning the Cold War, have been brought to heel by the Chinese Communist party.
Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives to speak at the Communist Party congress in Beijing, October 18, 2017.
Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives to speak at the Communist Party congress in Beijing, October 18, 2017.

The Berlin Wall fell when I was just in primary school. Later in life, as I was beginning to develop my convictions about life and politics, I was taught that the West had faced down this threat to history, that institutions such as the Catholic Church and major Western business interests had brought down the dreadful and wicked Communists in the name of political, religious, and economic freedom.

At the time, it stood to reason that the Western religious and business establishments had played such a big part in winning the Cold War. The Soviet Union tried to crush and humiliate Christian institutions wherever it went; indeed, many radicals became Communists precisely because of Communism’s inherent and fanatical anti-clericalism. Free enterprise was suppressed under the Communist regimes of the 20th century.

The hostility of the Catholic Church and western titans of industry to Communism could be taken for granted then. But it can’t be anymore — not in the era of President Xi Jinping.

I was reminded of this just today, when PBS’s revival of Firing Line released a preview of host Margaret Hoover’s interview with Michael Bloomberg, the Wall Street tycoon and former mayor of New York who has repeatedly flirted with running for president over the past decade. Hoover was talking to Bloomberg about China’s record on pollution, and she pointed out that its growth and coal-burning were, by Bloomberg’s standards, a threat to the global environment so great that it could not be overcome by any carbon-reduction strategy the United States might adopt.

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