by Chris Powell, Journal Inquirer:
Any American who lived through the Vietnam War might have to wonder what it was all about after wandering for a few days around Ho Chi Minh City, better known as Saigon. For while Saigon has been, since 1975, part of what calls itself the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the only evidence of a socialist republic is the blocking of certain “social networking” Internet sites, like Facebook, which could be used for political agitation. The overwhelming characteristic of Saigon is private-sector commerce — shops everywhere, some primitive, some modern, including, of course, international fast-food franchises, banks, and insurance companies.
Socialist or communist regimes seem to have become like the right-wing authoritarian regimes of old, in which people were free to make money, just not trouble.
But even with Facebook blocked, how much are people really going to be controlled when nearly everyone has a mobile telephone and a motorbike, consumer product advertising is pervasive, and the government’s authority does not extend even to traffic enforcement on the wild and anarchic streets?