Saturday, 21 April 2012

In Search Of A New Opposition

I cannot sleep - mosquitos. I bought a new jar of "Tiger Balm" this afternoon (Friday), but I got bitten several times before I could rub it on my toes and elbows. It must be intolerable for the dogs at the park. I got caught in a thunderstorm last night after work, and another is forecasted again today, so this weekend is an ideal time to stay home and write rather than go out for more reservoir photography (which I managed to do last weekend). Both the Nanhua and Tseng-wen reservoir essays ought to be finished by now, so they're a priority, but the media attention window on the Wang case seems to be drawing to a close now (if it hasn't in fact closed already - there are no more editorials on the subject in the Taipei Times) so I should try to say something better about it and then work that into Chinese. So, it should have a good first sentence...

The Democratic Progressive Party is finished. They don't know it yet, and are incapable of seeing the writing on the wall for themselves, but they are finished. Irrelevant. A rotting carcass of no use to anyone. The democracy movement which took to the streets in the early 1980s and eventually matured into Taiwan's primary "pan-green" legislative prescence no longer serves any discernible function; now that the Chinese Nationalist Party has adapted its grip on political power to the procedural necessities of democracy, the leading lights of the DPP are ideologically incapable of providing a compelling moral alternative.

Reflect on the recent spate of thefts by the various KMT-controlled local governments over the past few years: the farmers in Miaoli who had their land "expropriated" by the County government, and the Wang family in Taipei, whose two properties were recently demolished by the City government. What were the reactions of the DPP's leaders? To my knowledge, not a single member of the DPP condemned these cases in the only terms appropriate - as direct violations of the freedom and individual rights of the people. Tsai Ing-wen, for instance, merely fretted that the Taipei City government ought to have "avoided the controversy" somehow. Likewise, the DPP's supporting cast of eunuchs in the universities penned lengthy two page editorials in which the first page condemned the actions of the government, and the second page accepted them with only minor adjustments to their implementation.

There is a reason for this.

The ideological basis of the DPP rests upon the two-word slogan "social justice", under which "property" (which encompasses income) is wrongly conceived of as the product of a social collective to be "justly" distributed throughout that collective according to an egalitarian or platykurtic standard. Any skew in the relative distribution of property and income must by definition therefore be a "social injustice". However, the act of "justly distributing" property cannot be trusted to the people themselves in their capacity for voluntary cooperation (e.g. cooperative acts, for instance, the character of which would show compassion, such as acts of charity) because the people tend to be too selfish. For this reason, the use of force by the State is required to deprive some people of their "property" and to bestow it upon others.

"Social justice", therefore, is diametrically opposed in principle to the civil, non-aggression conception of justice in which such crimes as rape, theft, and fraud are considered violations of individual rights and are thus identified as injustices. "Social justice" demands the very same use of force against the rights of the individual that identify rape, theft and fraud as crimes. And "social justice" is the reason why the DPP did not, and cannot, take a principled stand against the forced "expropriations" and "evictions" carried out by KMT-led local governments in recent years; their only opposition to such acts lies ostensibly with the terms and conditions under which the theft is carried out, and yet even then, this is merely cover for what they dare not say publicly: in their eyes, the theft of property by the State is justifiable only so long as it is carried out against the "right sort" of people (wealthy KMT politicians and their progeny, for instance, spring immediately - but by no means exclusively - to mind).

It is their ideological commitment to "social justice" - the ethical imperative that characterizes the savage tribe, rather than a civil society - that is the reason why the DPP are finished as an opposition party. They cannot, and will not, oppose the principle by which the KMT government violates the private property rights of people like the Wang family, and they therefore can have no business whatsoever in claiming to defend the freedom and rights of the people of Taiwan.


I have half a mind to continue this piece to develop several implications, but it's long enough already to require some extended effort at translating into Chinese. Now that dawn has finally broken, the mosquitos will have retired and I can probably fall asleep and work on the translation later.

Saturday night update: I've translated this into traditional Chinese, and sent it off to be checked for errors and assorted awkwardnesses, which will no doubt be there. We'll see what my proof-readers think...

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.