And who gets to decide this? Taiwan has a divided population and an untrustworthy governmental / business class.[/quote]
Perhaps the bigger problem is with trying to define yourselves by what you are not. Not China, basically. And that is neither a positive message, nor, given the world’s love affair with China at the moment, a particularly attractive one.
[quote=“vincent”]I think Taiwan would be doing well to just roll with the punches.[/quote] Given your criticisms of Taiwan, you can hardly agree that a do-nothing strategy is best.
[quote=“vincent”]That’s a rather procrustean view of things. “Democracy” here is still cha-bu-duo, what with corruption and human rights problems and so on.[/quote] I originally thought procrustean was a sort of seafood. Apparently not. But I do not see how the process of evolving towards democracy can be seen as seeking “conformity through violence.”
The “crisis” is that (a) they don’t agree with each other, and (b) other powers don’t agree with them. Why is this such a problem? After all, some of them are bound to be disappointed no matter what happens.[/quote]
Do Americans all agree with each other? Is that a pre-requisite for a national identity?
I think that the Government is pushing the idea of a National Identity precisely because they want to shore up their power by creating an identity more closely linked to the nation state and therefore combatting the ethnic identities that you list.
I think that there is room to fudge the issue somewhat by trying to encourage an identity based on democracy, free trade, free speech - perhaps a Taiwanese version of the “American Dream.”
[quote=“vincent”]Another possibility is de-Sinicization in the opposite direction, an “international” identity. If only the Taiwanese had kept up the Japanese language, and encouraged more ties with Southeast Asia and the United States, then they could more plausibly argue that they are different from the “Chinese” and so more deserving of statehood. Also they would have had more allies overseas.
Perhaps an approach like this could still be done. This would recoup more practical benefits than an emphasis on things like Taiwanese history, I think. (Which would help kids here more–Hakka or English?)[/quote]
I agree mostly with this. But is “de-Sinicization” not exactly what the Government is trying to do? I think you are perhaps a little too hard on their achievements in both political and economic reform.
Yes. I accept there is too much emphasis on the re-writing of history. Surely, a national identity should be an encouragement of future developments, not raking over the disputes of the past. I guess the Government’s record here is less impressive.
For Chinese, letting the government decide things like this is natural. Otherwise they tended to get killed.
“Pledge allegience to the flag, whatever flag they offer…”[/quote]
But this is no longer the case in Taiwan. So, perhaps things are changing. Taiwan does have a claim to be the first fully-democratised Chinese society. Surely, along with a growing consumerism, there is a chance to build a more stable national identity over the coming years as the quality of life in terms of material goods and freedoms, continues to improve.
I think this will largely be driven by the younger, more outward-looking Taiwanese. Also, because they were born here and grew up here.
However, I also think that there are things the Government can do - promote free trade, continue with juduicial and political reforms. Stop being so hung up on China - opening up completely to China is probably going to emphasise differences more than similarities.