Blind rationalism and uncontrolled emotionalism
A Taiwanese comment described the populist reaction to the July 19, 2016, tour bus incident in which 26 people including one bus driver, one tour guide, and 24 Chinese mainland tourists were burned to death alive inside the bus, as being “blind rationalism and uncontrolled emotionalism”. A survey of the public comments shows 2/3 sympathetic and 11% unsympathetic, “cold and heartless”. The comment insinuated that the new government of President Tsai Ing-wen is rationalistically blind.
Indeed, the new government’s policies proposed within its first 65 days in government have been obstructive, angering the labor unions, the business and industrial unions, the teachers, the public servants and the military, the fishermen, and students.
Policy reversals have been based on trying to woo populist emotionalism with a blind eye towards rationality. The Democratic Progressive Party’s legislators who are now the majority in the legislature have been practicing despotism by the majority. The DPP majority has been accused of playing majority obstructionism in the legislature. The DPP relied on Taiwan independence minded populist sentiments and manipulated irrational emotionalism to win back political power. Such reliance on and manipulation of irrational populism have always been the political tactics of the DPP since its inception. Now that it is again in government, this political behavior is ingrained and the DPP is unable to change them, dashing the hopes of its electorate for change.
Taiwan’s rationalistic blindness and its uncontrolled emotionalism have manifested themselves in its environment of democracy that guarantees free speech. They are also expressions of politically oriented xenophobia towards the Chinese Communist mainland and its people. This politically oriented xenophobia is fueled by the sentiment for Taiwan independence, and complete separation from the outdated concept of “pan-Chinese” driven by DPP’s policies of “de-Chinalization”.
Taiwan’s populism has fueled the sentiment of “Sino-phobia” socially and “China-phobia” politically.