Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Friday, November 07, 2003


A transcript of President Bush's speech on democracy. Good stuff. Via lots of postings yesterday on The Corner.

Historians in the future will reflect on an extraordinary, undeniable fact: Over time, free nations grow stronger and dictatorships grow weaker. In the middle of the 20th century, some imagined that the central planning and social regimentation were a shortcut to national strength. In fact, the prosperity, and social vitality and technological progress of a people are directly determined by extent of their liberty. Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity -- and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity, and the best hope for progress here on Earth.

Fan in Prison: "The Stainless Steel Mouse"

"The stainless-steel mouse" is her cyber nom de plume. Her name is Liu Di, and in the one picture available, she has a young face and a wide, shy smile. Until the authorities tracked her down a year ago Friday, she was one of the most famous Internet web masters in China."

Her handle is of course a reference to Harry Harrison's charming stories about the Stainless Steel Rat, Jim DiGriz, who took that name as a thief, cracker of safes and systems, and genial rogue in a science fiction world where crime had become almost unknown. Slippery Jim ultimately goes to work for the government, to protect ordinary people from the much meaner rodents out there. (And he does it with style.)

Liu Di too sounds like a patriot and a woman of talent. In a better China, this gentle gadfly would be someone that her government respected and learned from. In this one, she is in prison.

Free the Stainless Steel Mouse!


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