Biased witness

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Jul 24 08:16:37 PDT 1998

I'm not sure what I am not reporting accurately. I understood you to use that particular, individual person's experience and opinion as the only one you were relying on in that post. I don't recall you mentioning any other evidence that communists are criminals in Viet Nam. As you say below, it was anecdotal evidence. It was also, no offense , biased. Not because I say it is, but because for some reason you put explicitly in what you wrote that he was anti-communist and had experience fighting the communists. I don't ignore his life and struggle, but it is not the type of evidence you would rely on solely to make the levels of generalization about modern government , communism vs capitalism , etc. as you do in the rest of your post.

It's the same old story. During the Viet Nam war era many Viet Namese got on television and told Americans that the Communists were criminals and we should send our troops there to fight them. So, such evidence has a suspect history.

I respect Loi as a mechanic, but not as my main authoritative empirical source on Viet Namese politics.

I could believe SOME Viet Namese communists are criminals. But all or most I am very, very skeptical about.

You are right. This is e-mail. So, I am making an e-mail challenge to your particular e-mail statement and reasoning.

Charles Brown

>>> Chuck Grimes <cgrimes at> 07/24 12:44 AM >>>

Charles Brown notes:

It MIGHT be true, but it would be foolish to rely on that witness only if you really wanted to know the truth. Why rely on this person's word alone ? Chuck Grimes frames it as "he believes this guy". So, now we proceed to draw major political conclusions from a source that we know has reason to bias the reportage.



Look, I put in the background and proviso about Loi so you would be in more or less the same position as I was--under the theory, if you can't report accurately, at least note the source with qualifications. This is just antedotal and close enough for my speculations on the problems of founding a civilian political structure under extreme duress after fifty years of colonial and revolutionary war. This is e-mail, not a journal. I didn't propose Loi as a sociologist. He is a mechanic.

So, for the record, no I don't expect Vietnam is completely corrupt, but I would be fairly sure, those kinds of problems are out of control. And this illustrates not the evilness of the vietnamese or whatever communist planning they have managed to pull off. It does indicate to me that creating, staffing, and running a relatively clean and representative judicial/legal system is very difficult and was probably not a top priority.

And, no, I am not particularly convinced that capital is the fundamental source of all crime and corruption (apriori), although clearly such problems are supercharged under capital exploitation.

Chuck Grimes

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