Saturday, 31 March 2012

Letter On The Theft Of The Wangs' Property

"Take a day, and walk around.
Watch the Nazis run your town.
Then go home and check yourself.
You think we're singing about someone else?"

On reading your headline report today on the theft of the Wang family home in Taipei, I was struck in the eyeballs by three ignominious little pencil points.

First, the fact that the Wangs had apparently lived there for six generations may be an emotionally salient detail, but it is incidental to the nature of the outrage which the city government and their vote-wielding neighbours have inflicted upon them. It is the democratic sanction of the theft which is essential to the outrage, not the length of time the Wangs have lived there for (they could have been living there for six days, and their forced eviction would still have been an outrageous injustice).

Second, it is a shallow, sub-Marxian error to refer to supposed defenders of the Wangs as "advocates of land justice". This is not an outrage over "land"; it is far broader and more important than that in its' implications - it is a violation of the right to private property, as were the "expropriations" of farmers' lands in Miaoli County two years ago.

Third, the reported remarks of Tsai Ing-wen over the matter perfectly illustrate the ethical impotence and irrelevance of the DPP. She was apparently concerned with how the government could have avoided the controversy rather than with the injustice of the eviction itself. Thus the recent spokesperson for the only seriously organized political "opposition" in Taiwan is not even opposed in principle to the theft of the Wang's property.

Yet these three points are, in a perverse sense, brilliant. They illustrate with the blindingly obvious light of unforced error what I have been saying for years: the Leftist bent of the entire pan-green movement has rendered them incapable of squarely denouncing the economic predation of the rich upon the poor via government precisely because they share the same premise as their supposed political enemies.

That premise is the sanction of democratic procedure to the cannabalization of individual human values - in this case, the Wang's property. A true opposition would reject the Left's elevation of Democracy and collectivism and embrace instead the historically radical tradition of Liberalism and individualism.

Yours freely,
Michael Fagan.

(Sent Saturday 31st March 2012. Unpublished by the Taipei Times).


  1. Bravo (both on this and the post below it) . . .

    . . . although I think you'd be better off, rather than sending this to that atrocious rag, either beating your head repeatedly against a concrete wall . . . or sending it to us instead.

    1. Funny how it became an "atrocious rag" only after it stopped publishing your stuff, Nathan. A spurned lover, perhaps?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Funny, because not only have other places accepted my stuff but that I haven't sent anything there for over a year. You need to get your facts straight, "Miss Faun," although I'm sure that won't stop you from running your mouth regardless.

      With respect to Mike, I won't sink to your level and use his personal platform to fling gratuitous insults. I leave that to you, oh humane one.

    4. I simply would not want to be accused of possessing--oh, what was it?--a "stagnant mind," that's all.

  2. Well, perhaps not "better off" per se, but you may find it at least marginally more productive.

  3. Alright Nate...

    No, I've got a couple of proper things I wanted to send to your group, but I'm ashamed to admit neither one is quite finished yet. And I promised someone I'd help her with her English today, but all I've done is write this, thought up some yellow jokes and played with the dogs.

  4. No worries. My comment was more on submitting to the rag than anything else. We're woefully behind on our project as well.

  5. "A spurned lover, perhaps?"

    Ahem, it might be a good idea to keep your fantasies to yourself, young lady.

    Now, I can't speak for Nate, but I think you have a perverse point. Of course the Taipei Times has published a lot of rot and continues to do so (which paper doesn't?), but that both me and Nate seem to be banned for expressing contrary views, or criticism - however harshly worded - stinks of intellectual fear and weakness. So yeah, it became even more of an atrocious rag since we were banned - and because we were banned. That being said, they do occassionally have some worthwhile stuff.

    More generally, my opinion is that the Taipei Times is important irrespective of what they publish for two reasons: (1) it is one of only two English-language newspapers with a print circulation, and (2) it is the paper of the "opposition" to the KMT and is therefore going to be read by people who are more likely to oppose political tyranny whether in greater or lesser degree. And yet, it all too often seems that the editorialists at that place are in favour of political tyranny, so long as it is of their own preferred kind (i.e. green).

    1. That's the reason for the project, Mike: escaping from the foul smell.

  6. Nate: I know, but relax man - don't scratch the mosquito bites too much.

    Here: what's your opinion on the proposed arrangement to design and manufacture diesel-electric subs in Taiwan?

    Turton prefers missiles, but I think he may be being short-sighted. A high-low mix of conventional subs could add a not inconsiderable degree of uncertainty to the PLAN's access denial calculations.

  7. I've got a lot of thoughts on this. Taiwan's in a conundrum, as no one will sell and it isn't economically viable to manufacture.

    Perhaps this is a topic you and I can both write on for our project, and we can both also post each other's work on each other's blogs? I'll need to do some digging on empirical data, but much of what I've been reading so far has been negative.

    That said, I'm also working on something about what I think is appearing to mark the decline and approaching obsolescence of aircraft carriers and surface combatants altogether. (This isn't a particularly new idea, but it is one I have some inside info on, as I have several former classmates as well as family members in the U.S. Navy, several of whom do some work with intell.) If you have thoughts on this, you're more than welcome to let us know as well. Both--subs and the possible obsolescence of surface combatants--would make good material for us to work on both here and there.

  8. Nathan - the "economically viable" thing is a red herring since we're not talking about a market, at least not initially (later you might be able to export the things [subs] if they're good enough). Whatever the eventual $ cost is, it would just be another instance of government spending and as such has no measure to be guaged against but possible political unpopularity. And debt.

    "Perhaps this is a topic you and I can both write on for our project, and we can both also post each other's work on each other's blogs?"

    Well, let's earn our posting privileges first. I'm sure you wouldn't want to defend anything I had written that you felt was a bit below par. It might be better to exchange first drafts of things via email to get comments, criticisms and suggestions (I have a draft of a post on diesel-electric submarines I can send you).

    "I'll need to do some digging on empirical data..."

    Oh yes. What are you after?

    "...something about what I think is appearing to mark the decline and approaching obsolescence of aircraft carriers and surface combatants altogether."

    Let me guess: UUVs and sensor advances? From what I've read, they've still got a long way to come in development even in the U.S. Navy never mind the Taiwan Navy with its' handful of frigates and little bobbly boats.

    1. "Oh yes. What are you after?"

      --Some things you mentioned in your email.

      As for the rest of this, it's probably wise to discuss this through more private channels.


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