The Corner

Taiwan Blues and Greens — a Different Opinion

From a reader: “As a Republican economist living in Taiwan, I think your

comparison of the KMT and Republican Party is rather far-fetched. One’s

views toward China largely determine whether one is Green or Blue, so on

economic issues there is more difference within the parties than between the

parties. The only exception is trade with China and that is no more an

economic question than trade with the USSR during the Cold War was an

economic question.

“The environmental policies of the DPP central government and the KMT Taipei

City government are equally annoying. One way in which the KMT is similar

to the Democratic Party is that government bureaucrats, educators and the

press are as strongly KMT here as their American counterparts are

Democratic. For this reason, it is very hard to imagine that the DPP could

successfully cheat in an election or fake an assassination. At least 3/4 of

the vote counters are Blue.

“I think the reason that the Blues and the Democrats both attract

bureaucrats, teachers and reporters is that like Democrats, the Blues tend

to believe in the superiority of experts and have a strong Chinese respect

for education and the ability to pass academic tests. Blues like to

stereotype Greens as uneducated. Greens are mainly Taiwanese (often small

businessmen) who feel disadvantaged within the Mandarin-Chinese education

system and their sceptical view of intellectuals reminds me of American


“As far as social policy is concerned, Pres Chen often panders to left-wing

PC groups, but the younger generation in the KMT, the Taipei mayor for

example, are trying hard to keep up with him on this front. Since the

average Green voter is more rural than the average Blue voter, they often

have more traditional values. Pres Chen can officiate at gay marriages

because the average green voter has never met a gay person and has no more

opinion on gay marriage than he has on inter-species marriages among zoo


“Although I prefer some of the Blue policies and many of my friends are

Blues, I tend to lean Green. Partly this is because I am very suspicious of

China, partly it may be the influence of my Green Taiwaneese wife, but I

think mainly it is because unlike the Republican ‘daddy’ party, the KMT

really is domineering and paternalistic.

“Both the Republicans and the Blues believe strongly in absolute moral

values, but Republicans think that the man on the street usually understands

these values better than high-falutin intellectuals and government experts.

The Blues think these moral absolutes are understood mainly by the

government and the properly-educated classes and that the unwashed masses

have to be force-fed these truths.”


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