Is Taiwan Independence an Option? Part II
No, Individual Independence should be an Option
March 6, 2006
The Democratic Progressive Party’s Demagogic Populist Propaganda
H.L. Mencken defined a demagogue as “one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
Tsai Huang-liang is the director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s Culture and Information Department. In other words, he is their chief demagogue.
On February 27, 2006, Tsai Huang-liang posted an article at the Taipei Times, posing the rhetorical question, “Would Ma allow vote on nation’s future?” In posting the article and posing the question, Tsai was fulfilling his duty as chief demagogue. He was preaching Taiwan independence doctrines he knew to be untrue to Taiwan independence fundamentalists he knew to be idiots.
Tsai’s smarmy, self-righteous question for KMT Chairman and 2008 presidential hopeful Ma Ying-jeou was a rhetorical trap intended to achieve one of two results.
One, Tsai was trying to pressure Ma Ying-jeou into conceding “Of course I would allow a vote on the nation’s future, after all there are many possible options for Taiwan’s future. The 23 million people on Taiwan should decide on these options, regardless of whether it is unification, independence, or maintaining the status quo.”
If Ma were to yield to such pressure and make such a public declaration, the Taiwan independence nomenklatura would have extorted a strategic concession from the undisputed leader of the Pan Blue alliance, for which there would be hell to pay down the road. Ma would either have to repudiate his initial concession, in which case he would come across as weak and indecisive, or he would have to make endless future concessions consistent with his initial concession, in which case the both the Kuomintang and the Republic of China would be forever lost.
Two, if Ma Ying-jeou remained sufficiently alert to steer clear of Tsai’s rhetorical trap, Tsai would attempt to make Ma’s refusal to take the bait appear guiltily evasive.
If this sounds like a case of “you can’t win for losing,” you’re right. Finding oneself trapped in such a no-win situation is the predictable result of ideological confusion. Ideological confusion leads to ideological self-doubt. Ideological self-doubt leads to ideological evasion. Ideological evasion leads to ideological passivity, to a cringing, defensive political posture in which one waits to be hit and is too cowed by “unearned guilt” to even complain.
The only escape from such a dilemma is to stop defending and start attacking. In politics as in sports, the best defense is a good offense.
To stop defending and start attacking however, one must first clarify ones’ own ideological position and confirm that one holds the moral as well as practical high ground. Only then can one seize the initiative and go on the offensive.
Let’s see how Tsai is guilt-tripping Ma Ying-jeou with Taiwan independence Political Correctness, and how Ma Ying-jeou can turn things around.
Pan Green PC: Tsai Huang-liang notes that ‘During Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou’s tour of Europe, the KMT placed an advertisement in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper), stating that, “The Chinese Nationalist Party firmly believes that, in keeping with the spirit of democracy, there are many options for Taiwan’s future, be it reunification, independence or the status quo. It is necessary that the choice be made by the people.”‘
Pan Blue Rebuttal: Let’s not mince words. Tsai may be wrong about everything else, but he’s right about the ill-conceived KMT ad. The KMT ad in the Liberty Times was a fiasco. It “gave away the store.” KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou had to repudiate it, and having repudiated it, must not second-guess himself.
“In keeping with the spirit of democracy?”
What democracy? The Republic of China is not a democracy. It is a republic, a constitutional republic.
Under a democracy, there are indeed “many options for the nation’s future,” because under a democracy anything goes. A democracy, as Thomas Jefferson warned his fellow Americans, “is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” History has since proved Jefferson and his fellow Founding Fathers right, many times over. Perhaps the most sobering proof that democracy is nothing more than mob rule surfaced in 1935, when an economically prosperous, culturally advanced Western European democracy enacted the infamous Nuremberg Laws, stripping away the rights of a defenseless minority.
Under a republic, on the other hand, there are very few “options for the nation’s future,” because under a republic, not everything goes. Under a republic “options for the nation’s future” are severely limited by the nation’s constitution. Under a constitutional republic, explicit constitutional constraints protect minorities and individuals from capricious mob passions.
For the record, the Constitution of the Republic of China, like the constitution of most nations, does not include the option of independence.
For the record, America’s Articles of Confederation do not include provisions for political independence either, for the simple reason that the several states were already sovereign and independent. Article II stipulates instead that “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.”
Modern Americans have forgotten that each of the states is technically a nation unto itself. We are reminded of this fact when state officials ritualistically refer to their state as the “sovereign state of Maryland” or the “sovereign state of Virginia.”
What modern Americans refer to as “America” or “the USA” is technically a confederation of independent states. Retaining pre-existing sovereignty and independence within a confederation such as these United States of America, is an entirely different matter from acquiring independence from a pre-existing unitary state such as China.
Tsai Huang-liang insists that “It is necessary that the choice be made by the people.”
Does Tsai Huang-liang not know that the choice was made by the people? The choice was made by the people in 1912, when the Constitution of the Republic of China was enacted, just as the choice was made by the American people in 1789, when the Constitution of the United States of America was enacted.
Unless the alternative under consideration is market anarchism, in which we are talking about a whole other ballgame, then the Constitution of the United States is a perfectly serviceable constitution. The fact that it is over 200 years old isn’t a problem. It merely needs to be honored instead of ignored. It isn’t a “living, breathing document” with “penumbras and emanations” that need to be “interpreted.” It’s written in English, not Chinese.
Sun Yat-sen is the George Washington of modern China. Sun modeled the Constitution of the Republic of China on the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution of the Republic of China is also a perfectly serviceable constitution. The fact that it is nearly 100 years old isn’t a problem either. It too merely needs to be honored instead of “amended” irresponsibily on an annual basis. The Constitution of the Republic of China is a One China Constitution. There is no Two Chinas Constitution. There is no One China, One Taiwan Constitution. It doesn’t need to be “interpreted.” It’s written in Chinese, not English.
Pan Green PC: Tsai Huang-liang insists that “[There are] fundamental differences between the KMT’s and the DPP’s approach to the future of Taiwan and their definitions of democracy.”
Pan Blue Rebuttal: God, I hope so. I certainly hope there are “fundamental differences between the KMT’s and DPP’s approach to the future of Taiwan and their definitions of democracy.” God forbid that the KMT’s approach to Taiwan’s future and to “democracy” bear any resemblance whatsoever to the DPP’s.
The KMT’s approach to the future of Taiwan is embodied in the Constitution of the Republic of China, which was authored by KMT party founder Sun Yat-sen. The Republic of China, or ROC, has democratic features, but it is not a democracy. It is, as its name implies, a republic. A republic is governed by its constitution.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of China, or ROC, Taiwan is a province of China. According to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, Taiwan is also a province of China. Both the ROC and PRC consider Taiwan a province of China.
Every one of the 25 nations that maintains diplomatic relations with the ROC government in Taipei considers Taiwan a province of China. Every one of the 165 nations that maintains diplomatic relations with the PRC government in Beijing considers Taiwan a province of China. The United Nations considers Taiwan a province of China. The whole world considers Taiwan a province of China. The KMT’s approach to the future of Taiwan respects both this undeniable political reality and the ROC Constitution.
The DPP’s approach to the future of Taiwan on the other hand, is reflected in its 1999 Resolution on Taiwan’s Future. The DPP’s Resolution on Taiwan’s Future asserts that “Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. Its current name is the Republic of China. It is neither a province nor a special administrative region of China.”
The DPP’s Resolution on Taiwan’s Future is what Chinese refer to as “zi qi, qi ren” or “self-deception, and deception of others.” It is a futile attempt by the DPP to convince themselves and the outside world that Taiwan is not an integral part of China.
Unfortunately, try as they might, DPP officials have never been able to convince even themselves that “The Republic of China is Taiwan, and Taiwan is the Republic of China.” They know “it just ain’t so,” and the knowledge sticks in their craw. That’s why they keep returning to previous, more extreme demands for a “Taiwanese Constitution” in 2006, and a formal declaration of Taiwan independence in 2008.
He Who tells a Lie
Pan Green PC: Tsai Huang-liang insists that “[There is] an issue even more crucial … namely, how to implement a democratic mechanism that respects the public’s decision. Ma has not clearly said whether the people he talks about are the 23 million people of Taiwan, or if he includes the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The latter violates the first principle of democracy [ ! ] … The DPP’s longstanding position has been to let the people decide the future of Taiwan [by means of] a referendum on sovereignty … Ma … has no clear stance on this issue … [He] should declare … whether he thinks that the people of Taiwan should be allowed to decide their own future in a referendum.”
Pan Blue Rebuttal: What do Tsai and the DPP mean when they insist that “including the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait violates the first principle of democracy?” What kind of arrant nonsense is this? According to the constitutions of both the ROC government in Taipei and the PRC government in Beijing, the territory and populace on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are part of the same nation. By what right does a Quisling nomenklatura on one side of the Strait deny hundreds of millions of fellow citizens on the other side of the Strait the right to determine the future of their own nation?
What do Tsai and the DPP mean when they make the ringing declaration: “The DPP’s longstanding position has been to let the people decide the future of Taiwan [by means] of a referendum on sovereignty?” Who are “the people” they refer to? Are they all of the people, or just some of the people?
Do they mean the DPP has, unbeknownst to libertarians the world over, suddenly joined the ranks of principled and consistent champions of the Right to Self-Determination? Does the DPP now champion the right of everyone, not just themselves, to secede from whatever political entity they currently live under?
Do they mean the Quisling DPP regime’s “democratic” and “progressive” referendum on sovereignty will guarantee the right of others to secede from the DPP’s newly founded “Nation of Taiwan?”
Do they mean the DPP now champions the right of Taiwan’s Aborigines to secede from any future “Republic of Taiwan” and to establish their own “Kaosha Republic?”
Do they mean the DPP now champions the right of Taiwan’s Hakka minority to secede from any future “Republic of Taiwan” and to establish their own Hakka republic?
The Chinese province of Taiwan is divided into 23 counties. The KMT, NP, and PFP control 17 counties. The DPP controls only six counties. The northern and eastern two-thirds of Taiwan’s land area is under Pan Blue control. Taitung County, in gray, is controlled by independents who are part of the Pan Blue alliance. The outer islands, in orange, blue, and yellow are controlled by the People First Party, the Kuomintang, and the New Party respectively.
Do Tsai and the DPP mean the DPP now champions the right of “Greater China” patriots to secede from any future “Republic of Taiwan” and to establish their own loyalist Chinese republic comprising the 17 Pan Blue controlled counties?
Not on your life.
What they mean is that the Quisling DPP regime will continue misusing Republic of China citizens’ hard-earned taxes for the next two years, indoctrinating Republic of China citizens into thinking of themselves as “Taiwanese, not Chinese.” At the end of that period, in 2008, they will provoke a military crisis, declare a “state of national emergency,” then stampede the public into rubberstamping formal independence in the name of an ersatz “Taiwanese patriotism.”
What they mean is that the Quisling DPP regime will magnanimously “permit” Republic of China citizens to participate in an elaborate charade to found a “Nation of Taiwan,” period. Loyal Republic of China citizens unhappy about suddenly and involuntarily transformed into “citizens of the Republic of Taiwan” will just have to lump it.
In short, the DPP’s Potemkin Referendum will ensure “independence for me, but not for thee.” It will ensure “secession for me, but not for thee.” It will ensure “self-determination for me, but not for thee.” This, the DPP apparently feels, does not “violate the first principle of democracy.” This, the DPP apparently feels, qualifies as “allowing the people of Taiwan to decide their own future in a referendum.”
Pan Green PC: Tsai Huang-liang maintains that “Prior to the public’s making a decision, all options should be open and there should be no biases or conditions. In other words, there is no legitimate basis for the existence of the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines, and this is also one of the main reasons why the DPP advocates their abolishment. Ma, however, still opposes their abolition in clear violation of his own declaration that the public’s decision will be respected. Finally, all groups must accept the results of a democratic and public decision … any decision made by the people of Taiwan in accordance with their own free will in a referendum will be accepted by the party. The question is whether the KMT would accept a public decision in favor of Taiwan’s independence or give in to China’s missile threat.”
Pan Blue Rebuttal: Tsai and the DPP insist that “all options should be open and there should be no biases or conditions.”
If only they meant it. Unfortunately, they don’t.
What do Tsai and the DPP actually mean? They mean that all options that enable them to get what they want should be open, and there should be no biases or conditions that prevent them from getting what they want. Taiwan independence Quislings are not champions of the Right to Self-Determination. Taiwan independence Quislings are champions of the Right to Self-Determination for Taiwan independence Quislings.
Tsai and the DPP assert that “there is no legitimate basis for the existence of the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines, and this is also one of the main reasons why the DPP advocates their abolishment.”
Excuse me, but unless Tsai and the DPP are willing to forgo enacting an “Anti-Secession Law” of their own, unless they are willing to guarantee the right of others to secede from their “Nation of Taiwan,” at others’ discretion, not the DPP’s, unless they are willing to forgo national unity and territorial integrity for their newly founded “Nation of Taiwan,” unless they are willing to see their own “Nation of Taiwan” disintegrate before their very eyes, then they had best shut their traps, cease their yammering about “no biases or conditions,” and stop pretending that they occupy the moral high ground on the issue of the Right to Self-Determination.
Pan Green PC: Tsai Huang-liang concludes by saying that “The question of how to let the people of Taiwan decide the nation’s future in an unbiased manner and through a referendum may be more important than accepting Taiwanese independence as an option, and it may also be the question in more urgent need of a response from Ma.”
Pan Blue Rebuttal: Tsai’s statement is of course, far too myopic and narrow-minded.
The real question is how to let sovereign and independent individuals decide their own futures in an unbiased manner, whether through referenda or other means. This is far more important than accepting any collective’s demands for nation-building. And if truth be told, it is a question in far more urgent need of a response from Tsai Huang-liang than from Ma Ying-jeou.
Should Taiwan independence be an option?
No. Not if one has one iota of respect for Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law.
If the nations of the world wish to abide by traditional rules governing national sovereignty and territorial integrity, then patriotic Chinese on Taiwan and the Chinese mainland cannot be faulted for insisting that Taiwan independence is not an option, that Taiwan independence Quislings have no right to demand secession from China, and that the nations of the world must respect China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
If, on the other hand, the nations of the world are serious about phasing out constitutional republicanism, then let it be for the sake of something truly worthy, for market anarchism, and not for the Taiwan independence movement’s atavistic, race-based, petty tribalist “nation-building.”