Thursday, 7 April 2016

Theft In Xinbei: Abraham Gerber Reports For The Taipei Times

One of the best reasons I cannot forgive the managing editor of the Taipei Times and wish to see him reduced to selling pencils out of a tin box is because he seems to enforce a slant on all reporting about government abuses of power in Taiwan, wherein the victims are to be pitied, and without any regard whatsoever for their own agency and self-respect.

Here is the opening paragraph to a report today by one Abraham Gerber on a protest in Xinbei (also known in English rather awkwardly as "New Taipei City")...
"The Ministry of the Interior should immediately reject rezoning plans for New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District (新莊) for failing to take into account local opposition, residents of the Wenzaizun (塭仔圳) area said yesterday, adding that the plans would lead to widespread unemployment and homelessness."
It is sad that, in their very protest against what the government is doing to them, they nonetheless carry an implicit admission that some variant of the current action would be fine if only the government had listened to them and taken account of their views first. That's not exactly a response based on moral confidence is it? But then comes this:
"Several hundred people gathered outside of the ministry offices, shouting slogans and demanding housing and work rights."
If these people have had a moral right violated by the government, then it can only be the right to private property, though it is not clear exactly how this violation has been perpetrated. There is no such thing as a "housing right" or a "right to work", because although these things may sound appealing to a miseducated proletariat, they don't actually cohere logically with other rights when examined more closely. If I have a "right" to a house, then it follows that somebody else has an obligation to supply me with one, whether through building, purchase, rental contract, gift or some other arrangement. However, that then imposes upon the other person's rights. As someone once said:

"If you have a right to make me pay for your [housing], why don't you have a right to make me pick your cotton?"

This is what happens when the beautiful omnilateral coherence of one person's right to private property with everyone else's right to private property is shattered into broken shards of "positive rights", a "right" to housing, a "right" to work, a "right" to healthcare, a "right" to education and so on. The core ethical violation is always the same: you end up pitting one person's rights against another's rights. That this is a recipe for social conflict is never mentioned.
"...“The ministry cannot let the plans go into effect without reaching a consensus with us — city planning is not supposed to leave people homeless and unemployed,” Wenzaizun Self-Help Association head Chiu Shu-wen (邱淑雯) said through tears..."
Sorry, but newsflash: public choice economics. The ostensible motives of politicians (serving the public) do not always (or even usually) cohere with their actual economic self-interest (selling you out to make a bit of money for themselves on the side). It is a shame that there are still people who do not understand this. You can't vote this sort of thing away.
"Resident Ye Chien-zhong (葉建忠) said that government plans would force at least 113 households out of the area, because they would lose their homes, but would not be given enough compensation to purchase another house."
To purchase another house where? In Xinbei, or somewhere else? Still, it is not surprising that the compensation level offered to them is a pittance - they are not sitting back having companies bidding for the right to take over their property, but are being commanded to leave by the bastardos in government (and yes, very likely at the behest of property developers).

I worry that at some point in the near future this is going to happen to me. When it does, I will not waste time protesting outside a government office somewhere.

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