Libertarian Observations from Taiwan

I visited Taiwan recently. I noticed a few examples of how government makes things worse, and private individuals have to do something to alleviate the situation.


Street Restaurant

A fairly pleasant thing was finding restaurant level food on a dirty street near midnight. A few middle aged women had set up a make-shift restaurant on the street. There were couple of long tables with various dishes, most of them looked delicious. The price was quite cheap. I tried the food, it was good and I didn’t get sick. The point is not merely that it was a fun and exotic experience, but that most of the customers were poor people, some possibly even homeless, even though there were some people who looked to have been there just for the food.

I just kept thinking the whole thing was like from a fantasy movie. In Finland selling food off the street like that would never be allowed. I doubt the the women had a permit to sell there. Moreover it would violate various hygiene laws and who knows what. The food was clean enough, but the bureaucratic machine in socialist Finland wouldn’t see it that way. Nowadays most people who work in the restaurant business, possibly even waiters (but not sure), have to acquire some sort of  “hygiene pass”, which means they have to pass some stupid exam and pay money for it. These laws, that most Finns (and other countries with similar legislation) believe are there to protect people from eating contaminated food or whatever, are not really there for that purpose. Their purpose is to siphon money from people and control them with excess laws.

That is not to say that Taiwan somehow a paradise, or necessarily overall a better place to live than Finland, of course not. Certainly the fact there there are so many poor in Taiwan who need enterprising individuals to help them such as in this case highlights that Taiwan has problems. Yet I do see this as example of how most people, if unhindered by laws, or other kinds of threats, will gravitate toward morality and decency. Only when laws make it more difficult for people to act naturally, they become conniving and vicious. This applies to most people, but not all.


Cat Village

Another example from Taiwan is the cat village in Houtong. Houtong is an old mining town that once was prosperous, but the mine was closed down in the 80s. Now the town has countless cats to attract tourists. I love cats and I was excited to go there, however when I arrived in the train station there was cat sleeping on the bench. I told my friend the cat looked like a drunk hobo. Then I looked better and noticed there was drool leaking from his mouth and he looked quite sick. We went further into the town. There were shops selling cat-related trinkets, food and toys for cats and crap like that. Some of the other cats looked sick too.

We went to the other side of the train tracks. It wasn’t as commercial. There weren’t many shops, but most of the cats looked healthier. I came upon a middle-aged woman who was lecturing young Taiwanese that they shouldn’t feed the cats the food they buy in the shops. Its not good, it makes them sick. Her cats were quite visibly healthier. She feeds the cat proper food and generally takes care of the cats, whereas the majority of people on the commercial side of the tracks just exploit the cats to make money. She also told about some “cat madam” who doesn’t live in Houtong, but comes to the town three days a weak to make a TV program. She feeds the cats the crappy food while pretending to be an expert in taking care of them. Or that’s at least how I understood it. My Chinese is quite bad, but my friend interpreted for me.

After talking to the real cat madam we looked around further and saw plenty of tourists feeding the cats the unhealthy food. My friend told a few of them they shouldn’t do it, but they didn’t seem too concerned. We saw signs set up the authorities saying the cats cannot eat the same food as humans eat, but no mention that they shouldn’t give them the unhealthy gift shop food. Of course not. The tourism board only wants to exploit the cats to make money from the tourists, while the tourists only want to have their entertainment, and the local gift shops only want to sell crap and they can do it because of the cats. It’s the shitty trinity of government, business and consumers, and the cats get screwed. The only one who actually did something decent was a concerned and compassionate individual. Not any government agency, NGO, corporation with green values, but a flesh and blood human being.

The lowdown is: fuck you statists. You can go fuck yourselves if you claim that governments are there to protect us, or protect nature or anything like that. Please lift your head out of your ass if that is what you think and take a look outside. There is little difference between corporation and government. Only individuals with some brains, morals and balls can change the world for the better. The only thing people in their ivory towers excel at is sodomy, i.e. you let them rule over you, you get screwed.


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