Champions of Taiwan Independence don’t believe in Democracy
July 05, 2006
As long time readers of The China Desk know, I am not a fan of democracy. Like America’s Founding Fathers, I despise democracy.
Modern day champions of democracy include Wilsonian “democratic universalists” such as William Kristol, exiled mainland Chinese student leaders such as Wang Dan, Hong Kong region pro democracy organizers such as Martin Lee, and Taiwan region pro democracy authors such as Long Ying-tai.
Most of these champions of democracy are blissfully unaware that America’s Founding Fathers considered democracy the worst political system ever tried.
What kind of political system did America’s Founding Fathers favor?
America’s Founding Fathers favored constitutional republicanism, and considered it the best political system ever devised.
At one time, I too considered constitutional republicanism the best political system ever devised.
Today I consider a long forgotten, unjustly neglected system known as “market anarchism,” or “anarcho-capitalism,” to be the best political system the human race has ever devised.
Today I consider constitutional republicanism the second best political system ever devised. To be perfectly frank, I consider it a very distant second.
But let’s leave aside what kind of political system I believe in for the moment, and talk about what kind of political system champions of Taiwan independence believe in, or rather, say they believe in.
Champions of Taiwan independence say they believe in democracy.
Champions of Taiwan independence say they believe in the hallowed right of the people to choose their political leaders, as well as determine public policy, by means of universal suffrage, majority rule, direct elections, referendum and recall.
Do champions of Taiwan independence really believe in democracy? Do champions of Taiwan independence really believe in the right of the people to hire and fire their public servants at their discretion?
Or do champions of Taiwan independence believe in democracy only when they are convinced the voters intend to vote their way?
Closer scrutiny reveals that champions of Taiwan independence believe in democracy only when it suits their purpose.
When champions of Taiwan independence realize that voters have no intention of voting their way, and democracy doesn’t suit their purpose, they have no qualms whatsoever about overthrowing democracy and grinding the people’s right to choose their own leaders into the dust.
Anyone who doubts this charge need only examine the behavior of champions of Taiwan independence during the recent legislative recall vote.
Consider the following June 28, 2006 China Post article entitled “Chen survives with 119-0 recall vote.”
China Post: President Chen Shui-bian survived yesterday an unprecedented recall vote as only 119 of the 221 legislators cast their ballots in favor of the recall motion, 29 ballots shy of the required two-thirds vote.
Although fully aware of the difficulty of marshaling the needed 148 ballots needed to unseat Chen for his poor performance in the office and scams involving his family and aides, all of the 112 lawmakers of the opposition “pan-blue” alliance cast their ballots for the recall motion. They were aided by six members of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union plus one independent legislator to lift the figure to a majority of 119, without even a single vote against the recall.
Comment: So far, nothing unexpected. But read on, because here is where it gets interesting.
China Post: The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gave a strict order to bar its 86 lawmakers from taking part in the historic vote — stripping them of the chance to express their views through a vote.
The mass no-show of the DPP lawmakers was contrasted by their 12 partners in the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) who showed up for the gathering but chose to cast “invalidated” ballots. A TSU legislator said they cast their ballots but elaborately rendered them invalid in order to prove that the TSU is different from the DPP, which wanted its lawmakers to keep Chen in office no matter what.
Comment: In other words, “Democratic Progressive Party” legislators not only deprived Chinese citizens on Taiwan of the right to vote in a public referendum, the “Democratic Progressive Party” party hierarchy even deprived its own legislators of the opportunity to vote in the legislature.
In other words, the 12 legislators of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) aided and abetted the DPP by rendering their own ballots null and void, ensuring that they would not count in favor of the recall motion. Having ensured that the Pan Blue initiated recall motion would fail, and that the voters would be denied the opportunity to rid themselves of a thoroughly corrupt champion of Taiwan independence (is there any other kind?), the TSU had the chutzpath to claim that its behavior, in contrast to the DPP’s, was proof of the TSU’s commitment to clean government!
China Post: The DPP hailed the vote outcome as a great victory, calling it a victory for all of the 23 million of people in Taiwan who want Chen to stay on until his current term expires in May 2008.
Comment: A victory for all 23 million people on Taiwan, who purportedly want Chen Shui-bian to stay on until May 2008?
Who’s kidding whom?
As of June 26, on the eve of the legislative recall motion vote, Chen’s public job approval rating stood at 16%, and his disapproval rating at 70%. The people on Taiwan want Chen out, period.
In any “advanced democracy” any president or prime minister with numbers as pitiful as this would not be stonewalling and stalling for time. He or she would have resigned in shame, without waiting to be recalled or impeached.
Chen Shui-bian’s Approval Ratings: red indicates disapproval, blue indicates approval, Source: TVBS Cable News Network
China Post: Although President Chen promised last week to put his fate in the hands of the 23 million people, the DPP’s boycott of the recall vote effectively stripped the people of a public referendum on whether to oust Chen.
Comment: Put “President” Chen’s fate in the hands of the 23 million Chinese people on Taiwan is the one thing the DPP and the TSU absolutely refused to do.
Consider the following June 28, 2006 China Post article entitled “Ma says DPP boycott of recall vote a victory for corruption.”
China Post: Opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou yesterday condemned the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for foiling a parliamentary motion aimed at ousting embattled President Chen Shui-bian, calling the move “a victory for corruption.”
Ma, head of the Kuomintang (KMT) party, charged that DPP lawmakers had chosen to “stand side by side with corruption” during the landmark recall motion, the first in Taiwan’s history.
“The DPP used to be known among the public as a clean party but now they have lost their ideals” he told a press conference. The opposition failed to garner the necessary two-thirds vote when all 88 DPP members boycotted the session.
“What are they afraid of? …This is a victory for corruption,” Ma said.
If the motion had passed it would have triggered a national referendum on whether to oust Chen before his second term ends in May 2008.
“President Chen dared not let people decide whether he should be ousted or continue serving the last two years of his second and final term.”
Comment: Ma Ying-jeou hit the nail squarely on the head. Champions of Taiwan independence dared not let the people on Taiwan decide whether Chen should be ousted or continue for two more years.
I hope readers got that, because that was the real issue during the recall battle in the legislature. That was the issue that champions of Taiwan independence desperately struggled to keep from public awareness.
It is essential to understand that passage of the recall motion by the legislature would not have recalled Chen Shui-bian.
Passage of the recall motion by the legislature would merely have authorized a public referendum allowing the public to recall Chen.
Legislators weren’t voting on whether to recall Chen. That decision wasn’t theirs to make. That decision belonged to the public.
Pan Blue and independent legislators voted to allow the public to recall Chen, if that was the public’s wish. Pan Blue and independent legislators respected the public’s right to decide whether they wanted to put up with Chen for two more years.
Pan Green legislators on the other hand, conspired to deny the public its right to recall Chen. Knowing that voters would have handed Chen his walking papers in a New York minute, Pan Green legislators, who never tire of boasting that they speak for “the People of Taiwan,” denied the people on Taiwan the right to make that decision.
Champions of Taiwan independence, by depriving the people on Taiwan of their right to fire a government employee who was not only not doing his job properly, but stealing from his employer to boot, made it abundantly clear that they don’t believe in democracy.