Anti-establishment rhetoric against democratic values
The China Post News Staff
April 14, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
A group of around 1,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Zhongzheng First Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department on Friday night, protesting the department chief's decision to drive the remaining protesters out of the Legislative Yuan compound earlier that day.
The angry crowd threw ghost money, water bottles and insults at Fang Yang-ning (方仰寧) and the police force amassed in front of the police precinct, calling for his apology and resignation for a "breach of trust." The resignation was rejected by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and it is clear that Taiwan doesn't need more anti-establishment activists that incite ridicule of the police and parliamentary system using rhetoric that risks belittling our democracy with oversimplified messages.
The students' answer to the malaise of today's youth is far too simple — let's do away with the ruling party's politicians or, better yet, throw away everything that smells of power, privileges and Chinese politics — and, absolutely incompatible with Taiwan democratic values, despite their hundreds of thousands of supporters on social media.
The truth is that these students derive their energy from misplaced resentment, and the real key to their success lies in the exploitation of anger — at the ruling Kuomintang, at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), at mainland China and the whole establishment in general. That is what makes their movement look great, not the appeal to reason or the love of democracy. The problem with such "zero-sum rhetoric," however, is the growing risk of driving the country to a dead-end.
The zero-sum mentality refers to a way of thinking that hinges on the notion that "there must be one winner and one loser, and for every gain there should be a loss." The term is used in its simplest form in the social sciences to describe systems in which "one of us wins while one of us loses." If we're going to share a pie though, it also means we each have to fight to get more pieces.