Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Patriotism? Show me the money

This nation's political and military predicament makes for strange bedfellows among foreign observers. Right-wing hawks and military figures in the US get into bed (in a manner of speaking) with environmental activists, pro-democracy idealists and sympathizers in Europe defending our self-determination against pseudo-leftist diehards, "Greater China" advocates, multinational corporations and governments enthralled at China's apparent riches.

This brew is reflected in the paradox of betrayal that is unraveling the pan-blue agenda of unification and the self-interest that is derailing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Traditionally the defender of a governmental and political system that it manipulated at will, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) portrays itself today as defender of the underprivileged and the ethnically vulnerable, guardian of administrative virtue and the sole agent capable of maintaining the nation's economic health. Yet it espouses oneness with a society that will grow more and more desperate in its attempts to fulfill these demands in its own territory.

The DPP, which inherited a system in need of widespread reform, has been intimidated by the sheer size of its mission and the dedication required to complete it. Since the transfer of power, the party has been witness to the rise of the tricky and the cunning at the expense of the capable and the diligent. The good work that has been done under the Chen administration cannot compete with the bad press, nor with the disappointment of supporters and former supporters who feel that vital opportunities have been wasted.

Patriotism will not form in this society if the nationalist engine room is occupied by the KMT and the DPP. This is because, in the case of the DPP, Chairman Yu Shyi-kun and other leaders are incapable of revitalizing the party's nationalist goals. Witness Yu moaning yesterday that presidential son-in-law Chao Chien-ming's (趙建銘) corruption case had caused considerable damage to the party -- despite it being clear that the DPP's real woes are almost entirely of its own making.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), on the other hand, has shown that even if he does have a soft spot for a Taiwanese nation, there are more important causes to support, such as priming Taiwanese for a return to the thuggery of a KMT state with checks and balances removed and "Greater China" propaganda in full swing. But there is no evidence to suggest that Taiwanese will accept such changes or subscribe to more indoctrination.

The campaign for a Taiwanese nation has been hurt by so much DPP stupidity and KMT treachery that it comes as no surprise that few will dirty themselves by aligning with either side on behalf of a nation that cannot bring itself into formal existence -- but which still makes a lot of money.

Nonetheless, pan-blue ideologues are setting themselves up for a nasty fall if they think this nationalist torpor can be harnessed in the service of "Greater China." This is as clear as day: Taiwan's wealth and lifestyle are the primary components of its expression of identity, rather than comparisons with other nations, and any injury committed against wealth-generating mechanisms will attract the strongest electoral retaliation among those whose vote is not iron-blue or iron-green.

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