The new House Select Committee on China is currently blaming China for every problem in America. Those who appeared and suggested improving Sino-American relations were accused of giving comfort to the enemy.
In this light I asked Chat GPT-4 a series of questions to test GPT on its sense of the classic civic and social virtues and the necessity of principled political argument in a democracy.
Perhaps GPT4 lacks the wayward imperatives of tribalism and groupthink and being made out of meat and to the extent GPT4 share’s the convictions of us more left of center Sydney rationalists we carbon based lifeforms may take solace.
(The responses below are edited for clarity).
What lessons are offered by the life of John Stewart Service and other individuals like him?
Speak truth to power: John Stewart Service was not afraid to speak up and tell the truth, even when it was unpopular. He warned his superiors in the U.S. State Department about the corrupt and brutal regime of Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, and he advocated for a more nuanced and realistic approach to dealing with the Communist Chinese. This honesty and integrity made him a target of McCarthyism, but he never backed down from his principles.
Stand up for what you believe in: When John Stewart Service was falsely accused of being a communist sympathiser, he could have easily given up. Instead, he fought back against the accusations and worked tirelessly to clear his name. He refused to be intimidated or silenced, and eventually, the truth prevailed.
Never lose hope: John Stewart Service faced many setbacks and challenges throughout his life, but he never lost hope or gave up on his dreams. Even when he was under investigation and his career was in jeopardy, he remained optimistic and focused on his work.
Be a lifelong learner: John Stewart Service was a voracious reader and student of Chinese history and culture. He recognised the importance of understanding different perspectives and learning from diverse sources of knowledge. This curiosity and open-mindedness allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the Chinese people.
Embrace diversity: John Stewart Service was one of the first American diplomats to recognise Chinese Communism as a legitimate political force in China. He saw beyond ideology and recognised their value as a partner in the fight against Japanese imperialism. This willingness to embrace diversity and seek out common ground helped him build bridges and create lasting relationships across cultural and ideological divides..
List well known public figures who were victims of McCarthyism?
Other individuals like John Stewart Service were John Paton Davies Jr and John Carter Vincent.
Prominent victims of McCarthyism included:
Elmer Bernstein, composer and conductor
Leonard Bernstein, conductor, pianist, composer
David Bohm, physicist and philosopher
Bertolt Brecht, poet, playwright, screenwriter
Archie Brown, Abraham Lincoln Brigade, veteran of World War II
Esther Brunauer, U.S. State Department
Luis Buñuel, film director, producer
Charlie Chaplin, actor and director
Aaron Copland, composer
Bartley Crum, attorney
Howard Da Silva, actor
Jules Dassin, director
Dolores del Río, actress
Edward Dmytryk, director, Hollywood Ten
W.E.B. Du Bois, civil rights activist and author
George A. Eddy, a Harvard economist, US Treasury monetary policy specialist
Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize-winning physicist, philosopher, mathematician, activist
Hanns Eisler, composer
Howard Fast, writer
Lion Feuchtwanger, novelist and playwright
Carl Foreman, writer of High Noon
John Garfield, actor
C.H. Garrigues, journalist
Jack Gilford, actor
Ruth Gordon, actress
Lee Grant, actress
Dashiell Hammett, author
Elizabeth Hawes, clothing designer, author, equal rights activist
Lillian Hellman, playwright
Dorothy Healey, union organizer
Lena Horne, singer
Langston Hughes, writer, poet, playwright
Marsha Hunt, actress
Sam Jaffe, actor
Theodore Kaghan, diplomat
Garson Kanin, writer and director
Danny Kaye, comedian, singer
Benjamin Keen, historian
Otto Klemperer, conductor and composer
Gypsy Rose Lee, actress and stripper
Cornelius Lanczos, mathematician and physicist
Ring Lardner Jr., screenwriter
Arthur Laurents, playwright
Philip Loeb, actor
Joseph Losey, director
Albert Maltz, screenwriter
Heinrich Mann, novelist
Klaus Mann, writer
Thomas Mann, Nobel Prize winning novelist and essayist
Thomas McGrath, poet
Burgess Meredith, actor
Arthur Miller, playwright and essayist
Joseph Needham, biochemist, sinologist, historian of science
Dorothy Parker, writer, humorist
Linus Pauling, chemist, Nobel prizes for Chemistry and Peace
Samuel Reber, diplomat
Al Richmond, union organiser, editor
Martin Ritt, actor and director
Paul Robeson, actor, athlete, singer, writer, political activist
Edward G. Robinson, actor
Pete Seeger, folk singer, songwriter
Artie Shaw, jazz musician, bandleader, author
Irwin Shaw, writer
William L. Shirer, journalist, author
Lionel Stander, actor
Dirk Jan Struik, mathematician, historian of maths
Paul Sweezy, economist
Charles W. Thayer, diplomat
Dalton Trumbo, screenwriter
Tsien Hsue-shen, physicist
Sam Wanamaker, actor, director
Gene Weltfish, anthropologist
When is political dissent against war especially virtuous?
It is important to speak out in opposition to war in Western societies because democratic societies are based on the principles of freedom of speech and open debate. It is only through the expression of diverse opinions and the vigorous exchange of ideas that a society can make informed decisions about matters of war and peace.
Political dissent against war is especially virtuous when it is based on ethical principles and a deep commitment to human rights and dignity. When individuals speak out against war on these grounds, they are not only opposing a particular policy, but are also affirming the fundamental values that underpin a democratic society.
Is opposition to nuclear escalation rational?
Opposition to nuclear escalation is crucial for the survival of humanity. The consequences of a nuclear war would be catastrophic, and it is the responsibility of all individuals to do what they can to prevent such a conflict from occurring. This includes speaking out against nuclear weapons and supporting efforts to reduce the global stockpile of these weapons.
Along with Chat GPT-4, I feel in good company here.
Generated using ChatGPT Feb 13 Version. Free Research Preview. “Our goal is to make AI systems more natural and safe to interact with. Your feedback will help us improve.”