Saturday, 6 July 2013

Executive Yuan Protests Over Demolitions In Dapu (大埔), Jhunan (竹南), Miaoli (苗栗)

"Jiang, who before becoming premier had been a professor at National Taiwan University and had studied the political thoughts of no less a figure than the German-American political theorist Hannah Arendt, seems to have lost sight of his alleged liberal views, something that isn’t unusual for individuals who enter government."
That goes straight to the point I made in my post last night; that the behaviour of government officials ultimately responds to the alignment of incentives generated by an institutional design that is predicated upon the empowerment of government agency rather than its restraint. Only an exceptional politician can begin to get even half way around this problem.
"From my vantage point atop the fence, I could sense a powerful wave of anger coursing like electricity among the protesters... It took a lot of self-control for me not to join those who screamed their indignation, who cannot believe that this is happening in Taiwan today."
I wish I had been there to see that.
"Soon afterwards, the Presidential Office announced that Wu had ordered Liu to “suspend” or delay tomorrow’s demolitions... In other words, Wu did nothing, and only made it possible for Liu to wear the protesters out..."
Of course - Wu can afford to wait; his house isn't going to be demolished.
"There have been so many such instances in the past year that it is difficult not to feel powerless. One has every reason to be uplifted by the mobilization of people — students, professors and civil society — in support of the weak against the predations of the state, but the unresponsiveness of this government, the seeming inability to connect with the victims as humans to humans, is deplorable."
It's the intellectual meta-context that must be changed first and that concerns the purpose of governance - whether democratic or otherwise - in terms of safeguarding individual rights. That change can also be expressed as a switch away from collectivism toward individualism; away from the absurd view of society as something that must be produced by the State, toward the conception of society as a complex of properties that emerge naturally from voluntary transactions among individuals.

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