Says John Derbyshire (ALL CAPS in original):
I was surprised to find, when living in Communist China, that citizens—including sensible and well-educated citizens, including people who grumbled about the system they lived under—did not like these dissidents. In their minds, private grumbling did not make you a bad citizen; but making a fuss with your complaints in public did. It was seen as a selfish indulgence.
“He should think of his family,” people would say; or, “He’ll weaken the country behaving like that.”
It would be impertinent for me, living a comfortable life and so far in no danger of being shipped to a labor camp—let alone of having to drink hemlock—to claim identity with the great dissidents of history. I will unblushingly claim some similarities of personality, though…