Kirk: “Gill! Gill! Why did you abandon your mission? Why did you interfere with this culture?”Kirk should have smacked Spock right down, as this is total nonsense: Nazi Germany was an illegitimate, bureaucratized, inefficient, inept nightmare, as numerous books on its economy and war conduct have chronicled. But for some reason one hears from time to time of the "efficiency" of authoritarianism, especially in the encomiums for Chinese growth. There's plenty of appeal to this idea in the discourse surrounding democracy in Taiwan, particularly in the Blue papers.
Gill: “Planet . . . fragmented . . . divided. Took lesson from Earth history.”
Kirk: “But why Nazi Germany? You studied history; you know what the Nazis were.”
Gill: “Most efficient State Earth ever knew.”
Spock: “Quite true, Captain. A tiny country, beaten, bankrupt, defeated, rose in a few years to stand only one step away from global domination.”
Lately there has been a spate of stories on the problem of "elections" in several newspapers that appeals to this feeling that somehow, democracy is inefficient. The China Times claimed the other day that Elections Hijack Taiwan. Commenting on resigning health minister Yaung's claim that elections have hijacked public policy in Taiwan:
For a long time, politicians from the Kuomintang and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been reluctant to unveil public policies before elections in order to avoid displeasing voters.The Apple Times similarly argued:
But the passive attitude of politicians in doing nothing to please voters does not necessarily work, as evidenced by the results of the 2008 legislative and presidential elections when the then ruling DPP suffered consecutive losses.
In the run-up to the elections, it froze domestic gasoline prices out of election considerations to spare consumers from skyrocketing crude oil prices, but it also cost the state-run petroleum giant CPC Corp., Taiwan tens of billions of dollars.
In Yaung's view, Taiwan is a mature society in which the majority of the people are rational enough to cope with hikes in oil prices and insurance premiums.
If the politicians are right that the government should not move to carry out policies that could upset voters before elections, then the country will not be able to move forward.
Although the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has an absolute majority in the Legislature, many of President Ma Ying-jeou's campaign promises have failed to materialize. The reason behind this is that politicians and policies have all been held hostage by elections.There is a common claim in Taiwan that the island has become more disorderly since the advent of democracy -- it is practically a given that when you hear someone make that claim, they are Blue.
The latest example is a draft amendment to the Civil Service Performance Evaluation Act, which would require that government employees be dismissed if they get a "C" rating for three consecutive years. The bill drew a strong backlash from civil servants, who threatened to oust the KMT in the next elections.
As expected, Ma was frightened and decided to meet with Examination Yuan President Kuan Chung and Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng next week to try to sort out the differences. While we are not surprised that Ma would backtrack on his policy, we feel sad and helpless.
Who is the target audience of this show? It is the sitting duck taxpayers like you and me. Allowing elections to hold politicians hostage and extort them is the greatest misfortune of Taiwan's democracy.
The problem lies in the construction that the cause is "elections." The problem in Taiwan is not the politician's need to get elected, but a public that has been coddled for decades by absurdly low water prices, absurdly high interest rates on savings for the bureaucracy (and other breaks such as low interest loans for homes for teachers), subsidized gasoline and electricity prices, low NHI fees... these are merely highly sophisticated versions of vote buying whose budgetary pigeons are now coming home to roost. The real problem is the political mentality that says it is ok to pay for tomorrow what we buy today, that lacks the political will to explain to the public what is needed, and treats the public like spoiled kindergartners to be bribed with candy and pretty pictures. This island so needs a progressive, pro-active legislature that takes for granted the political maturity of its public. Kudos to Minister Yaung for leading the way.
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