Saturday, 28 August 2010

"Who, Whom?"


It would surely come as some relief to Robin Winkler to know that he is safely mistaken in his diagnosis of Taiwan's disease.

Winkler's chastisement of the KMT for undermining "the rule of law" is a superficial, and perhaps even a dishonest analysis. The facts to support his argument may be granted, but, by framing them with those four mirror words "the rule of law" he diffracts the light away from the true nature of what is happening: this is not simply the behaviour of a “rough” executive; Taiwan is quite literally being invaded.

First, there was not, is not, nor can there ever be, a single example of when Winkler’s so-called "rule of law" does not devolve to, or in the more salient cases degrade to, the rule of men. For sure there is ample question of the degree to which that may occur, but the relevant point is that Winkler's "rule of law" has always been little more than a rhetorical flourish promoted by popular ignorance to the status of, as he puts it, a "fundamental value of Western society." It is not and nor does it make any sense to think of it as such, for the obvious question to put to him would be why the overall design of U.S. legal architecture which he refers to with his mendacious phrasing was designed like that in the first place. The answer to that question is this: the limitation of the powers of government so as to protect the freedom of the individual.

Again: the freedom of the individual; the idea that was, is and always will be anathema to Chinese (and not only Chinese) conceptions of society.

Clearly, the failure of democratic government in Taiwan to prevent the degradation of this "rule of law" to this sinister "rule of party" is neither unique, nor should it be any provocation to surprise; in fact, the U.S. itself furnishes any honest student with plentiful examples of this trend, both historical and current. The warp of democratic government in Taiwan may have been exacerbated by the pre-existing organized power of the KMT, but even that itself is fully explained by the initial design flaw: a central, unified legal architecture which concentrates political power under a territorial monopoly rather than diffuses power as far as possible toward the individual.

The last time Formosa was plunged from the beginnings of Western enlightenment into the barbarity of two centuries of Chinese darkness came about as the result of the sudden invasion of Chinese power with Zheng Cheng Gong back in 1661. Today, the weapons of combat are different - legal provisions for land theft instead of junk boats and so on - but the nature of what is happening is similar.

Perhaps a better concept for understanding Taiwan’s current problems was given by the rather unlikely benefactor of Lenin with his famous formula: "who, whom?"

(Sent: Saturday 28th August 2010. Published in the Taipei Times Monday August 30th 2010).

Note: Look how they mangled my letter to make me look as illiterate as they are! Get this and c/f the relevant paragraph above:
"...but the relevant point is that Winkler’s “rule of law” has always been little more than a rhetorical flourish promoted by popular ignorance of [to] the status of what he calls a “fundamental value of Western society." It is not and nor does it make any sense to think of it as such...."
Goddamn it - that little change from "to" to "of" ruins the succeeding sentence. A reduction of the word count was no justification to go dicking about with it like that; I don't know whether this was malice or stupidity at work, but it is ridiculous either way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.