About This Project
A free and open society requires concerned citizens to participate in civic activities and dialogues. The Exodus Project helps readers reach alternative opinions on some pressing issues of our time and go out there to make the world a better place with practical ideas.
It all started with an encounter with George Orwell’s Nineteen-eighty Four in a summer afternoon while I was still in college.
After quickly immersing myself into the dystopian world in the book, the idea of totalitarianism gripped me.
My first impression of the author was that he must have been an uncanny sort of prophet, otherwise how to explain the resemblance of stories in the fiction and the dark histories that some countries experienced decades ago?
The ideas of double-thinking, thought control, surveillance state, Big Brother, counterrevolution…
And the frenzied political terror unleashed by the communist movements in the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, Cambodia under the rule of Pol Pot, and the death of thousands and millions of innocent people, the total destruction and uprootedness of tradition, the annihilation of human dignity and common decency...
A deep dive into studying totalitarianism and history led me to an irreversible path.
It incentivized me to study belief systems, political structures, and the proper arrangement of human affairs.
Years of life experiences in a post-totalitarian society and the U.S. prompted me to examine and explore models of human governance in distinct cultures.
The first one is a democratic way of life in which individuals do not have to fear the consequences of expressing an honest and sincere opinion and are free to shape their identities and choose their own destinies.
Alternatively, we are forced to submit to the totalitarian nightmare where thought control and total domination of the individual would prevail. A person can only struggle to survive in such a grim and suffocating environment by being a docile conformist.
But are there any other alternatives, such as a middle-of-the-road governance model that doesn’t quite fit into this dichotomous way of thinking?
To this I do not have a clear answer.
There was a brief period that I walked away from this path of seeking knowledge and meaning, questioning the utility and purpose of such endeavors and betraying my destiny not to sit down and reveal my discoveries on these significant issues.
Yet, I could not keep myself from constant worries because freedom is a fragile thing, and that the specter of totalitarianism may have been lurking beneath the surface, somewhere deep in the corners of society, and it has learned to operate clandestinely under ingenious disguises of social engineering.
So it is my Life’s Task to investigate belief systems and expose the dangers of radical ideologies and social movements to human liberty and survival.
History Has Not Ended. The Fight For Liberty Still Carries On…
As I gained more experiences, I began to question my convictions...
Was I wrong about the fate of the human condition? Is it true that we really have to choose from totalitarianism and its opposite side, one form of governance model over another?
We already live in a political era where everything is inescapably connected with the workings of politics.
Those who have tasted the sweetness of political power, would not hesitate to enlarge and maintain their control. This is just human nature throughout history.
So to respond to those anonymous bureaucratic agents who would aggrandise political power using noble causes and lofty slogans, their sympathizers and those who would follow orders blindly, we need to remind them and ourselves with a piece of advice (an old but useful cliche): the path toward hell is always paved with good intentions.
Everywhere in the globe, we see governments, both authoritarians and democracies, step up with policies and “contingency” plans to increase government interventions in economic affairs and community life.
For a time, we may think that the world we live in is divided by free nations and authoritarian states. But in recent years, the appeal of manufactured nationalism, populism and radical/extremist ideologies, have taken hold of people’s minds around the world.
And those in power have been using various pretexts, unwittingly or with a clear intention, to co-opt citizens into giving up their liberty for security and comfort.
Perhaps Francis Fukuyama’s famous statement – the “end of history”, meaning the triumph of Western liberal democracy over alternative political systems, is far from reality.
Dictatorship (total control and subjugation) vs freedom (individual sovereignty and responsibility) and the battle of ideas will continue to prevail.
So the best defense for individual liberty and human dignity is still education and open dialogue.
We Are The Authors Of Our Life, What We Do Will Shape The Future Of A Free, Open And Civil Society
The mission of this project is to invite thoughtful readers who care about individual liberty, economic freedom, community, and the future to engage in thought-provoking and meaningful dialogue, so we can become more informed, and perhaps better citizens to make a difference in the world.
Everyday we are bombarded with all sorts of (dis) information campaigns. The barrage of daily news and media coverage would sometimes make one feel that objective truth and facts are fading away from this earth.
Without clear thinking and the courage to examine our thoughts, we are being misled and fundamentally, we become the slaves of other mediocre thinkers and propagandists.
So this is an invitation to take on a journey to rediscover and reexamine your innate beliefs, values, perception of the world and explore innovative ways to make our community a better place.
Also, the battling of ideas is of paramount importance to maintain a truly open society, a society with defined boundaries and resilient enough to ward off destructive ideas and practices, and the temptations of totalitarian appeals of all sorts.
The forte of an open society, also its weakness that can be exploited, is the principle of tolerance. It does not suppress and silence unorthodox ideas, which makes it easy for domestic and external actors to initiate the agenda of totalitarianism and, in time, lure the entire society into a status of demoralization and spiritual paralysis before it is too late to react.
That’s why this project also serves as a battleground of ideas. Only the tested ideas suitable for a healthy, free, open and civil society would win out in the end.
So starting small is the way. Piecemeal work matters.
Here, through an ongoing conversation, we can explore the ways that lead us to a more prosperous, promising and cooperative society.