Monday, 7 September 2009



It is deeply regrettable that many of the proposed solutions for recovery following Typhoon Morakot do not break the long established and thoroughly unimaginative mold of State oughtism.

Rescue and relief efforts in Pingtung, Kaohsiung, Tainan and Chiayi were largely State oughtistic due to State control over the requisite resources.

The subsequent blame-game also largely followed a pattern of State oughtism, with people accusing the KMT administration of allowing their family members to die because the KMT did not care about South Taiwan (despite the fact that many of the people most badly hit by the typhoon had voted for the KMT).

The current planning discussions over river management structure reform also follow a model of State oughtism, with calls for the imposition of one unified State management agency for the entire length of any single river.

State oughtism is obvious also in discussions over the viability of mountain villages, with calls for State regulation over which areas mountain people can be allowed to live in and which areas they cannot.

There are oughtistic calls for greater State control over the siting of particular agricultural crops – such as the disallowal of shallow-rooted betel nut plants in mountainous areas because they can contribute to soil erosion in the event of flooding.

Apparantly the fish-farming industry should also become dependent upon oughtistic State management and regulation in order that local water tables not be mismanaged in the future thus increasing the liklihood of flooding.

Reconstruction and/or redesign of important bridges is now, naturally of course, falling under the oughtistic purview of State administration – just as they had done previously many years before they were destroyed by Morakot.

Sir, is there anyone on this entire island besides myself who is not trapped within this premise of State-Oughtism, in which the State alone ought to do this, ought to do that and ought to do the other?

If not, then it would seem the fight to remain free from the control of a monstrous State on the mainland is entirely without the necessary mental and ethical foundations.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Fagan

(Sent: September 7th, 2009. Unpublished by the Taipei Times)

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