Saturday, 25 June 2016

An Observation

But first, a confession: I believe that the value of democratic mechanisms of government has long been exaggerated by the newspapers and universities in order to obscure the value of constitutional restraints on political power, whether that power is expressed autocratically or democratically. Without such restraints, democratic mechanisms can be used to trample individual rights with the mob or this or that racketeering group wrapping themselves in the disguise of "the public interest", and that is largely why I am not a democracy fanboy.

Yet isn't it strange how, following the Brexit referendum result on Friday, there have been no op-eds in either the Taipei Times or The News Lens International extolling the virtues of democracy, independence and national self-determination? Readers were frequently reminded of these things in editorial after editorial after editorial in the run up to and aftermath of Taiwan's recent general election and have been similarly reminded in frequent reports and editorials on the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong.

After the British referendum result on Friday however, the newspapers have barely uttered a squeak. Perhaps one could be forgiven for thinking that there is an unwritten rule under which the virtues of democracy, independence and national self-determination are only virtues when the "right" result is achieved?

Or as Tam puts it: "that stuff is not for crackers".

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