Friday, 12 April 2013

The Unstated Politicial Implications Of "Eliminating Hatred"

Today the Taipei Times house editorial focuses on the recent controversy over the Control Yuan's report on the 228 incident and certain remarks by Wang Chien-shien (王建煊) concerning former President Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) parentage. In doing so, the unnamed writer of the editorial confers upon readers a microcosmic example of an attitude that is presumably shared among the Taipei Times' editorial staff...
"Efforts to eliminate hatred and hate speech, which by now have been recognized by the majority of people as toxic..."
It is not obvious to me, and nor I suspect would it be obvious to students of law, economics or human behaviour more generally, why a rational person or organisation should conduct their agencies to the goal of "eliminating hatred". For one thing, such a goal would seem to require control over other people's emotions or at least the expression of these emotions, which strikes me as distinctly sinister. More than that, the focus on "hatred" absent definition or context is also sinister in at least two ways: either the writer means only those instances of alleged hatred he or she personally disapproves of (e.g. the derogatory comments made by Wang Chien-shien about the former President*), or otherwise all instances of "normal" hatred he or she might possibly name. So either this writer's preferred scope for efforts to eliminate hatred is unspecified and perhaps arbitrary, or it is systematic - either way it is redolent of the totalitarian attitude to control and stymie other people's thoughts and emotions and their expression. And note that the goal is stated without pretence of realism; it is not simply to "reduce", or to "mollify" - but to eliminate hatred.

A second point of interest about that line quoted above is the relative clause "...which by now have been recognized by the majority of people as toxic" which seems to have been included only to fulfill an imagined caveat that any action or policy can be justified so long as there is majority support for it. In reading things like this I am only strengthened in my belief that some of the most ardent public supporters of "democracy" in Taiwan are motivated not by desires for freedom, peace and tolerance but by a lust to pursue institutional violence against people they disagree with. 

And that is what I think we are looking at in the editorial office of the Taipei Times.

*Or, in another context, perhaps those instances of "hatred" attributed to me merely for having the temerity to publicly criticize the editorials published in the Taipei Times.

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