Henry Farrell over at Crooked Timber has banned abb1 from further comments on any threads that he authors. I'd rather not rehash the entire issue at hand, so go take a look and come back.
From what I can tell, the tipping point seems to have been reached with a comment of abb1's on the Tiananmen Square revolt and suppression of 1989.
Marc: remember the students in TS?
Funny, though, that according to wikipedia:
Although the initial protests were made by students and intellectuals who believed that the Deng Xiaoping reforms had not gone far enough and China needed to reform its political systems, they soon attracted the support of urban workers who believed that the reforms had gone too far.
Obviously there are many more urban workers than students and intellectuals, so, why don’t you hold your venom and think about this one for a few seconds.
This drew quite a negative response from several of the other commenters. But, as I've said in the comment thread in question, everything that I've read - and I'm not an expert, just an amateur - indicates that the story of the June 4th Movement and the suppression of it was quite a bit more complex than "they wanted democracy, votes and Levi jeans, and the commies ran them over with tanks."
From, for instance, an interview with Wang Hui in One China, Many Paths (2003):
In 1989, why did the citizens of Beijing respond so strongly and actively to the student demonstrations? It was largely because of the adventurist reforms to the price system that Zhao Ziyang had twice imposed, without any benefit to ordinary people. Their earnings suffered from the agreements they were forced to sign by factories, and their jobs were at risk. People felt the inequality created by the reforms: there was real popular anger in the air. That is why the citizenry poured onto the streets in support of the students. The social movement was never simply a demand for political reform, it also sprang from a need for economic justice and social equality. The democracy that people wanted was not just a legal framework, it was a compreshensive social value (64-65).
It seems clear that this point is at least open for discussion, but, it seems that challenging the conventional wisdom on sacred moments of the end of political history, like Tiananmen Square, provokes a flailing response from the Timberites... In short, an inappropriate response...