The right of reply

Enough is enough. People who proclaim to fight for freedom of expression and free media but censors other's legitimate reply based on their whims and fancy, must realise that on the internet, they cannot suppress peoples' legitimate right to reply and express contrarian views. This blog welcomes all views. ~ Ellese

History ends with liberal democracy?

61 Comments

I believe that what we in Malaysia and in fact the world is grappling with, are the bombardment of values and underpinnings of “liberal democracies” against the existing local culture tradition and history. This clash is fundamentally exacerbated by the advent of internet which Ohmae correctly predicted back then, converged values mainly of the more advanced nations.

The concept of democracy, liberty, equality and freedom as seen in the advanced countries have engulfed the Internet, appealing to many to be the desired outcome. But many have failed, not only to realise the debate and philopsophy behind such concepts, but the different milieus that came with it. We see as of today in Egypt the absurd overthrowing of a legitimate elected president Morsi in the name of people’s democratic wishes. I for instance encountered numerous debates with people in the past calling for fairness justice and equality but have not the slightest clue what these entail. What we see now in Egypt or for that matter in Malaysia are the clashes between these appealing ideologies with the values, tradition and local mores.

What many failed to see is that these “liberal democracies” are not firmed and comes with ideological and historical context. Bentham’s and Mill’s utilitarian concept where an action bringing the greatest benefit for the greatest number should prevail, forms a major underpinning of this ideology. For this to work, capitalism comes hand in hand and delivers utilitarianism. Free market, where profit is the primary motive, will yield the greatest good for the greatest number. Thus they believe that the government should not interfere in the free market.

These concepts however are not absolute. They have been tempered with “welfarism” (eg minimum wage requirement) and even self preservation (eg agricultural subsididies). Rawles promulgated social justice in wealth distribution. Inequality should be distributed to the least disadvantaged. Certain individual interests should prevail over utilitarianism. They’ve adjusted these idealisms to their needs.

The concept of equality as in “All men are equal” is another instance where it has not been fully appreciated by many. What is considered equal? Is it equal in opportunity? Equal share of resources? Equal rights? Equality of respect? Equality in representation?

The liberal democracies have gone through these debates and developed to where they are now after years and years of tribulations. We must appreciate this. The Egyptians must realise that these ideals cannot work with them on a wholesale basis. The reasoned actions of liberal democracies cannot be transposed when Egyptians do not have such history. There are existing deeply held convictions and values which have been acquired through family, social group or religion which need to be considered. The Egyptians need to amend and modify these ideals accordingly. They also need to prioritize.

Similarly here in Malaysia. Though we have an advanced economy, we interfere in many areas. We have never started equal. Not in terms of resources, opportunity, rights and even representation. We recognised our inequality and we have through negotiation of giving and take tinkered our rights liberty and freedom. We have many differences. But we understand and empathize with each other. As a result we have come to a pragmatic social contract in our constitution.

We have never based our constitution on idealism. Unlike other constitution there is no provision at all which expressly provide prevailing ideas. None whatsoever. No utilitarianism. No free market capitalism ideology. Neither is there distributive justice and unfettered equality. Our constitution discriminates recognizing our differences, ethnicity and history. Our constitution discriminates religion giving preference to Islam. Our constitution even provides unequal privileges based on place of residence. In our original constitution, a rural resident has a higher voting weightage than those in urban area and this is still the same position now.

In our haste to impose these idealism, we have forgotten our history tradition and differences. We think we’re a liberal democracy and condemn and belittle others for not promoting these idealism. Rather than negotiate we are proud in pulling us further apart by being purely partisan in line with the gridlock democracies in the west. We have lost the tradition to respect be sensitive emphathize and pull our rank closer.

We need to ponder this. I’m still hopeful as a Malaysian. Situation in 2013 has been much better than pre 2013 where I find now more people becoming pragmatic in pushing for liberal democracy concepts. We must stay this course to differentiate, engage, negotiate and move ahead.

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61 thoughts on “History ends with liberal democracy?

  1. It is a fact that the liberal democracy concepts are to create a plural future for the world. However, it is predominantly based on Western history and civilization. Thus, it is seen by many as an imported culture with a different set of values.

    Some also see the impact is quite similar to colonization. They may be right. This is because to an certain extent liberal concept restricts and curtails the involvement of history, traditional institutions and principles, in the operation of the state and the society.

    The result is we would develop a deformed society, particularly the Malay/Muslim society. A Muslim may have two separate personalities, so to speak, i.e. the traditional and/or the Islamic and the modern. Hence, we have today two jarring Malay/Muslim political parties โ€“ UMNO and PAS.

    Now, having described the above, my question is: Is liberal democracy the cause of fundamentalism?

    The word fundamentalism has often been applied perjoratively to the world of the conservatives and the traditional societies. They see that their territories are being raped, invaded and destabilized. They see that the present nation-building are being corrupted by the โ€œDulles Doctrineโ€ that was launched to destroy their history and traditional cultures.

    Yes… we need to ponder on this.

    • “The result is we would develop a deformed society,….”

      can we call america a deformed society with republican and democrat? what make me ponder is umno seem to have 2 set of values, they are pretty liberal when the opponent is pas, and turn to become conservative when the opponent is not pas, sort of inclusiveness for the sake of power.

      • HY… America is not shaped by religious morality but by secularism. What do you think had the Americans take their religion seriously and Christianity stood its ground in America?

        • Hasan, if that be the case, America will be a very different one. But they held on too tightly that all people can have the freedom and secularism took over the country. There is little to no religious semblance in America today. Christian values have been shackled giving place to atheistic practices.

          • p2bm… “America will be a very different one”.

            Christian values, love and morality will be exerted on internal relations and public policy. There will be no bombings and collateral damages which they did in the name of protecting the world from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. There will be more peaceful ativism and Christian moral mission on the social and political sphere… so much so that there will be little to choose between Christian and Muslim. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • You may be right on America being very different. But perhaps the choice between Christian and Muslim will remain quite different still.

          • Just curious p2bm…. Have you read about Coptic Christians?

          • What I know is that the Coptic Christians are slaughtered and were being chased out of their homes. Something like a genocide was being done but the news did not make the big media companies.

            Did you read the same or different?

          • Yes but I am no expert. They are the original Egyptian people descended from the Pharaohs. Been there a long, long time.

          • Yes from the media… but we do not know what is the real situation, do we?

            I just want to tell you that one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wife by the name of Mariah was a Coptic Christian. She did not convert to Islam and she died a Christian.

            As I have said if we all really follow the books there is little to choose between Christian and Muslim.

          • Hasan

            Not sure if Mariah was officially a wife or a concubine or a slave. Some said she converted. Bit blur on this.

          • Ok since you are not keen on this issue we will drop it then… ๐Ÿ™‚

          • ๐Ÿ™‚ Not capable to have a beneficial discussion on this.

      • can sort of agree bro, but i do read Samuel P. Huntington that america is basically wasp. i think they are less secular if compare against most europe countries. and i am not that sure if democracy is the cause of deform or that is just human nature. i prefer democracy + election because we dont have to change government via revolution. i think democracy cannot be imposed, and democracy can not offer much solution to economy problem. but at least it allow us choices, and make us thought / hallucinate that we are the boss ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Good write bro. The lack of respect of fundamental tenets of democracy as shown in the support by the west of a coup of an elected leader (Morsi) will push many Muslims (fundamentalist??) to think that democracy must mean as it literally stands. It must be “democratic” as in elected by people and it must be “liberal” in line with western values.
      There appears to be no tolerance of shades of Islam. A muslim country where the people chooses its leaders will not be democratic so long as it does not adopt liberal democracies. According to these so call democratic country an overthrow of a non liberal democratic country is acceptably “democratic”. How can this be? Why cant they think that this will only alienate further the “fundamentalists”?

      • Very true. Islamic countries cannot practice Western democracy because their goals in politics are not the same. One falls on religious beliefs to overrule everyone and the other falls on the belief that all people must be treated equally (and those in between).

        The “fundamentalists” will always be just that. They won’t change and will impose their views whenever the chance comes up. Look at Morsi. Get voted and slaughter the opposition and minority and rewrite Constitution. Essentially, he became the next dictator that was elected.

  2. “In our original constitution, a rural resident has a higher voting weightage than those in urban area and this is still the same position now.”

    i thought our constitution were amended on both 1963 and 1973 that allowed such no limit on weightage?

    • It has always been rural bias from day one. But the amendments made it worse allowing a highly skewered ratio as seen now. We need to get back to a more fairer ratio. But the rural bias will still be there as I cannot see Sabah and Sarawak for example agreeing to reduce the proportion of their parliamentary reps.

      • I also believe we must return a fairer ratio. There will be one for East Malaysia and one for Peninsula but both must be close and reflects the proper proportion.

        Either that or new rules to govern how East Malaysian issues are voted. It is to protect their interests.

  3. this article is a good read, there are points i disagree though, or i rather say i dont understand, for instance, the overthrowing of a legitimate government is absurd, does this mean the eygptian are wrong or right? if they are wrong, then the issue is they do not respect and appreciate democracy, or democracy doesn’t suit their values system? can i therefore claim that as long as our values system doesn’t live up the the prerequisite of democracy, we are not wrong to overthrow a “legitimate” government?

    • The Egyptians must wait for the next election. Many can argue he’s incompetent or devisive, but its not an excuse to overthrow an elected government. There’s always Morsi’s supporters to consider. By this coup it will bring no end and most probably bloodshed or civil war. The coup is the most undemocratic way to do.

      If the egyptians are really really unhappy, they should pass a vote of no confidence. I dont see any good solution in sight as a result of this coup.

      • On the same line of thought, Mubbarak should not have been overthrown by a coup either. Unless what suits one is OK but if it doesn’t it is wrong.

        Unfortunately, it is hard for outside observers to feel what the Egyptians feel. They did what they felt they should do, rightly or wrongly, we cannot be the judge of it all.

        I agree that the end is not in sight and the worst case is a civil war where more people die needlessly and still no end to this.

  4. Allow me to share a different perspective here.

    US interfered in many Islamic countries and had all but destroyed them. Even allies for many decades had US turned its back on – namely, Syria with Assad, Libya with Ghadaffi and Egypt with Mubbarak. They may not be the best but the dictatorial style held the country together. US should stay home and reflect on their stupidity escapades.

    Now, with an elected President in Morsi, the first thing he did was turned dictatorial. Cut down all opposition, shut up all minority and rewrite the Constitution and move the country backwards in time.

    The Army executed the coup and it is a coup regardless how the Western media wants to portray it. This is implicitly supported by unnamed Western countries but completely supported by Saudi Arabia. Note the billions coming into Egypt now from that country. Perhaps this is the way for Egypt to get stability and a form of democracy. But not without trouble from the Palestinians in Gaza coming into the Sinai Peninsula to cause trouble.

    Is Morsi the democracy Egypt wants? Obviously not. The parties who clamored for democracy during the Mubbarak reign were completely wiped out by Morsi when he became the next dictator under democratic guise.

    So what type of democracy suits Egypt and the rest of the Islamic nations? There is no straight answer but history tells us that strong handed dictatorial leaders like Saddam Hussin, Mubbarak and Ghadaffi were able to maintain some semblence of “peace” amongst warring factions. Now, everything in these countries are in shambles under the guise of democracy.

    Can Egypt practice a more liberal form of democracy? The ability to vote is not democracy. It is much more and encompasses the practice, the spirit and the fairness. The act of voting does not make democracy if the spirit is to be dictatorial.

    Just my 2 cents worth of thought.

    • Tq for the good write. However I don’t get what you say over Morsi from the debates on bbc CNN or articles of anti morsi. Rewritten of the constitution was a must since Mubarak downfall. But opposition from day one didn’t want to recognise Morsi. My estimation was that whatever claim made doesn’t justify the coup. Too flimsy or general for me to justify a coup. For example rewriting the constitution. It was still passed by the majority. If minority dislike it they can’t stage a coup.

      The west is hypocritical here. If during the bush period the minority against the war and economic problems staged a coup, all of them would be committing treason. Not that I am a supporter of Morsi, but I think the coup was totally undemocratic. The fact that anti morsi fails to muster a vote of no confidence says much on how they respect democracy.

      • The press like CNN and BBC only promote what is politically correct. Basically, Morsi became the new dictator after Mubbarak.

        Now, obviously, the Muslim Brotherhood had a much better organization to win the election especially rural voters they hold sway using religion. Rewriting the Constitution is not solely by Morsi excluding the others who challenged Mubbarak. So the referendum only voted on Morsi version and all the rural voters will vote in line with Muslim Brotherhood. If it happened during election, it happened during referendum.

        Wiping out and shutting up opposition is Morsi style. The various parties will never see eye to eye no matter what. The Army controls everything in Egypt. They are for stability and better relationship with the West and other Islamic nations.

        I can’t see a peaceful end until a stronger leader supported by Saudi and others step in.

        • Why do you say Morsi is a dictator? I don’t get this. Please provide specifics. How many people has he killed or incarcerated at his whims and fancy? I don’t follow this. At best its a propaganda to simply justify the coup.

          Ellese

        • Seriously speaking Morsi lost it when another big Islamic faction the salafi’s deserted him to join the liberals. Their main complain of Morsi (though I still think its propaganda) is that he/ ilhwan categorized them as not Islamic for their views. The salafi’s can’t agree to such categorization. But this is far from being dictatorial.

          Ellese

        • Did you not read about his power grabbing last year? He made himself above the law and condemned views contrary to his. Along with many other things he did, he made himself like a Pharoah. He silenced media that was critical to him and etc etc

          • I think too much spin. Can you articulate what he did that was illegal? It must at least be illegal. Why is retiring the mubarak era army heads illegal? Why is it putting a person you are most comfortable illegal since its done in even liberal democracies? In US is nominating a judge in line with your party stand called a power grab? Why are you so against Morsi’s decree but not the selective and arbitrary arrests of Morsi and its leaders? If you’re against the decree why not nullify it in court? On the media, do you consider its justifiable to have a coup against LKY and PAP since they silence the singaporean media?

            I only see unjustified reasons for a coup. There is no word “illegal” being accused against Morsi’s so called dictatorship. The liberals knew they don’t control the parliament and thus seek the street to overthrow. This is not acceptable by any democratic standard.

            I think and can accept Morsi has many flaws. But i can’t find any acceptable articulation of anti Morsi’s justifying a coup. Its flimsy and taking the right of the majority in the parliament. It will be seen as a betrayal by pro Morsi. The west is wrong to support a coup simply because it does not support liberal democracy. If its liberal I bet they will come down hard and even put their armies to defend the liberals against conservative Muslim under the pretext of protecting democracy. Utter rubbish.

          • For an interesting read about Morsi’s dictatorial actions:

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/11/29/f-morsi-egypt-dictator-constitution.html

        • Saudi has a history I believe against ikhwan. Ikhwan can be a potential threat against saudi elites if it succeeds.

          But whatever it is, don’t you think its the people who has the right of self determination and not foreign entity. A country controlled by saudi is no different from those control by US or other foreign power. Isn’t it oxymoronic to call for support of leaders backed by foreigner with the call for the democratic right of self determination. This is another issue I have with US. They legislate so many US laws to ensure no foreign party can influence their internal election but they directly intervene in the election of other countries. Just not right isn’t it?

          • Unfortunately, in a situation where the country is financially and economically weak and depends on allied countries for continued support, there is always the view that for the betterment of survival that these allies area also appeased and comfortable with the leadership.

            If a country wants a true self determined leadership, which does not exist in a developing or underdeveloped country, remove all dependence on others then it might be achievable.

          • Again I don’t follow you. Are you ok for foreign country to interfere in a country’s self determination.

          • I am not for interference. Merely stating that self determination is illusive and a pipe dream if the country is dependent on others to survive. That’s reality.

          • Not practical. Look at laws of India. Other countries like Japan n Germany barred foreign interference as well.

          • Sure you can bar foreign interference. When you are a developed country and not dependent on anybody else, you can ensure laws to prevent interference. You gave examples of countries who can thump their noses to others like US, Japan, Australia, Germany.

            Who else? These are strong, stable countries with economic independence and big global voice.

            Hey, Malaysia interferes with other countries too so why is it so wrong? We are poking into Egypt, Iraq, Afghan, Syria, to name a few. We do it secretly most of the time. We want to show solidarity to parties we support.

            I don’t like countries to poke into other countries business. But it appears like what you don’t know don’t hurt. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Look at India or china. India has a string of laws.

            Ellese

          • Yes and China and India are very mature when it comes to elections.

            Take India for example.

            They use real indelible ink, not food coloring.

            They use electronic voting machines. Yet can be manipulated.

            They have laws better than UK for election fraud. If there is proven fraud, even if it cannot overturn the results, the courts will call for a re-election because the results are tainted.

            And China and India are both global economic leaders that the world depends on them, not the other way around. Again that proves my point.

          • Huh. You earlier argued only developed countries can set this. I have examples of two developing countries. Since when India and china are developed?

          • OK wrong choice of words. These are countries that are not dependent on other countries for political survival.

          • You are showing ignorance. You have no clue what you’re talking. If you have Indian set of laws suaram and PKR would have been banned.

          • You have no idea how India does their election and their courts decide on their election fraud.

          • Divert again. The example on India was on foreign restriction. Please check posting.

          • Again I have noted the wrong label of developed nation but I had clearly stated that India can restrict foreign interference because they had strong political leadership and not dependent on other nations for their economic survival like other weaker developing and under-developed nations.

            Where is the diversion?

          • Its not about election laws.

          • Interestingly, the US covertly provide support and make appear as legal and non-interference. So what is illegal about that if it cannot be proven in the courts?

            That’s why your constant argument about the legality does not work if the situation, the environment and the people involved can manipulate the “legality” of the matter.

          • No it has to. There must be a yardstick. It cannot be arbitrary. I’ve already touched this.

          • I agree with you to have legal yardstick.

            But when this legal yardstick is manipulated and abused, we will have all the bad stuff done legally. Again, those in power will interpret the law to their advantage. If not, rewrite and manipulate it to their advantage. Such leaders then claim legality. Is this fine by you?

            And if others who from the outside interferes or you may claim interference work around the legality to appear legal, you say it is not OK. You cannot sue them, then what? It is legal and OK?

            And when Mubbarak was overthown not via legal process but was arrested via legal process, does it make it OK? This is a moot point since it is now history but for discussion sake, what makes overthrowing Mubbarak OK and overthrowing Morsi not OK?

          • You are purposely arguing for the purpose of arguing.

            Tell me what’s wrong with the constitution? Why are you saying the passing of law by the parliament and referendum as dictatorial?

          • Why are you fingering the Constitution only? Did Morsi include views of non-Muslim Brotherhood?

            You avoided talking about his other dictatorial acts.

            The referendum will never reflect the will of all or most of the people but will show support based on the rural support from the election time. So in short, it doesn’t matter if the Constitution was Syariah or anything else, Morsi can make it any which way he wants with his absolute powers.

            The Constitution was not done in conference and agreement in a pluralistic way but draconian way. Well, nobody will join in consultation if just for show.

          • I’m not running. Its you who has avoided this question. From the beginning my contention is that its not justifiable to do a coup. You say its acceptable coz morsi is dictatorial when he rewrote the constitution. How can it be dictatorial when there’s a referendum?

            I’m trying to tell you that you believe too much in propaganda. Thus your arbitrary position. You need to analyse and be critical of information.

            Now, I repeat how can a referendum be dictatorial?

            Ps. P2bm my advise is you should think of principles and position which you seldom do. Do read understand political philosophy. Its an easy read. Hope we can converge. At least we get our basic right and similar.

          • When you bulldoze the construction of the Constitution, that is dictatorial. I didn’t at any time say the referendum was dictatorial. Please read my comments again. I listed a number of items which never talked about the referendum being dictatorial.

            It will be good if you can reply if the list I supplied is viewed as dictatorial by you or not.

          • You said he was dictatorial coz he rewrote the constitution. The constitution was passed by a referendum. You don’t even realise that you making unsupportable statement.

            My point is this: you believe too much in propaganda. You cannot dethrone an elected government if you believe in principles of “liberal democracies”. Everything should go to the house or senate to decide and impeach the leader.

            Thus Your argument justifying a coup is simply not acceptable unless you believe in anarchy in which case we have nothing to talk about.

        • Along the same lines of your “illegal” arguments, why is overthrowing Mubbarak legal?

          Of course since Morsi is the President, he can:
          – “retire” all his opponents and obstacles
          – write in a law to put himself above the law
          – disallow and make illegal all media who spoke up against him
          – write his own Constitution
          – basically do anything he wants and shut off minorities

          Yes, Morsi did everything legally against the people of Egypt. That’s why the Army cannot sit by and watch the self destruction of the country by this one man dictator.

          When such a leader oppresses the people, there will be a rising up to overthrow. He did not stand up to be a leader of all Egyptians but only to those whom he supported.

          There is no way any Opposition to Morsi will see justice in the courts. I understand that he instructed the Police to rape the women who rallied in the public. He authorized force to stop all those who rallied against him. He behaved worse than Mubbarak to fight to stay in power. The country was going down the drain economically, financially and politically. International allies were shunning him.

          Does it mean that if you are voted into power that you can now do anything “legally” to be a dictator? I think not. If those who didn’t vote you become oppressed, then he should not be a leader of Egyptians.

          Well, I should not sound like a judge and jury. Just sharing my 2 cents view only.

          • Man, we are like moon and the sun. I don’t think you have any define term of dictatorial which justifies a coup. Probably by your definition LKY should be overthrown as well.

            I’m totally against your arbitrary justification. If you don’t like a person you call them a dictator and thus justify overthrowing the person.

            I expected a more reasoned justification. For example your allegation he’s rewriting the constitution. We all know it was passed by parliament and had gone through a referendum by the people. The constitution limits the power of president and was criticized for giving army a big role. I was hoping you justify what is so wrong with the rewriting the constitution or we can even argue the percentage involved in referendum, but you keep repeating he rewrote it without elaboration.

            I don’t know why it was objectionable. The constitution put shariah as the main law. Is this why you agree with them that he cast aside people’s views? I think we just end and depart.

          • Morsi made himself above the law first. Is this not a dictatorial stance?

            Everything he puts into law cannot be questioned. Isn’t this dictatorial?

            Oppressing the weak and minority. Is this not dictatorial?

            Sweeping away opposing views, leaders and media. Is this not dictatorial?

            Forcing through the new constitution without being inclusive and pluralistic to cater for minorities, women, non-muslims is not dictatorial?

            Using force to defeat people who rallied to oppose to crush them is not dictatorial?

            The overthrowing of Morsi was about the timing as everything he has done built up the emotions of the people. The Army just took over before the emotions ran over and the Army noted the damage already done.

            When the dictatorial actions oppresses beyond a threshold, someone will break the power somehow.

            You use LKY as example. Yes he may appear dictatorial but he has done heaps to ensure harmony and prosperity to all citizens. Perhaps if he didn’t do anything to improve the lives of the people but just be dictatorial, a different outcome may happen?

            Lessons to learn – the people will have their say if oppressed, swept aside, treated badly, suffer, etc. They may not be able to overthrow but someone in power will step in to stop the oppression, and in Egypt’s case, the Army did.

            It is no longer a right or wrong thing or legal or illegal. When the people feel it is a matter of survival and bad leaders hide behind legality, please advice the Egyptians what to do. I can’t. I just observe and feel for them.

  5. Sorry, Bentham and Mills do not have a very major influence on liberal democracy today. Democracy stems from ancient Athens, and it means the rule of the people. Exactly that – no tyrants, no dictators who are unanswerable to the demos. The liberal bit comes from post WWII beliefs that individual rights can be married to a system of allocating power such that decisions are taken in the interests of the majority. There appears to be an inherent contradiction here, yet resolving it is the true puzzle, not whether democracy is suitable for all people or not.

    In fact, Bentham’s utilitarianism is probably anti-democratic. Bentham never quite cracked the puzzle of how one differentiates between great benefit to a small number of people and marginal benefit to a large number of people. He preferred to assume the problem away in the hope that future generations would know how to solve it. A coward’s solution.

    You say the same things as people like Lee Kuan Yew, Vladimir Putin and Robert Mugabe. All these people are dictators, and have a great interest in ensuring that the rule of the people does not personally turf them out of power. It’s so patently obvious where their personal interest lies, yet numerous people are taken in by this sort of argument.

    There is no conflict between liberal democracy and cultural values of any sort – at least, for cultures that wish to move into the 21st century. Tyranny is no way to run a modern society. Theocracy, autocracy, communism – any system that works by coercion of its people is bound to fail. Morsi’s fall, while hugely disappointing and a blow to the principles of liberal democracy, was precipitated by his failure to entrench democratic values and his inability to take into account opposing views.

    In the same way, Malaysia cannot use the excuse that we were not equal to begin with to bat away calls for more democracy. We should be equal. There is no question over that ideal. What remains is how we get there. What you say about compromises etc is basically UMNO apologetics. Useless.

    PS: It’s John Rawls. Not Rawles. And if you actually read his books, you’d know that he would have vehemently disagreed with you. The irrelevance and falsity of the question that you ask, is well demonstrated in his first book, The Theory of Justice. I recommend it.

    • Dear JW, red hare, whoeverlah

      Welcome back. I thought you have left after the last debate grilling.

      I’m reluctant initially to reply as I find your argument incongruent if not hypocrtical. When I read your write calling for equality disregarding the compromise due to our differences, I just can’t bring myself to a dialectical debate with you knowing full well you support the compromised position of segregation of our children by race and “Chinese racism”. You simply can’t admit that you’re wrong when everyone else does.

      To be frank your write is reasonably fair but I /we know too well of your “racist” stand to make any write of yours credible. But after a while I think I need to rebut some of your assertion.

      1. Athenian democracy is antithesis to current form of liberal democracy. Aristotle Plato had been concerned on who should rule (polis). It must be from those who are informed or qualified. Thus women, slaves and unqualified person should not have a say. To Plato, the lower order of society should be kept in its place for their own good and the good of city state.

      2. Liberalism as we know today was developed in 17th and 18th century. It is an ideology based on respect of individualism – how individual retain control of ones life to the maximum possible limited only by the necessity to ensure that the same liberty is available to others as well. This is a view clearly set out by Mills. (See Thompson)

      Liberalism promoted the individual “freedom” movement that we see now. The “neo liberalism” is the further end where it advocates a society which is mostly deregulated with a low tax regime. This is where Adam smith and capitalism comes in as well.

      3) on Rawls, thank you for pointing out the typo. However I’ve just described his “ideal contractualism” where he expounded a modern version of a social contract theory to counter utilitarianism. He posited a position where individualism need not be sacrificed for greater good of society.

      4) on no clash of culture with liberal democracy I thank you for being amusing. You have time and again shown your penchant of being disconnected/ denying the facts or selective application of facts. If everyone’s belief is in line with liberal democracratic values we wouldn’t have a coup in egypt would we? Or are you saying Islamic, ikhwan’s Islamic values are not values of 21st century? If you do you’re way too far off. Perhaps as disconnect as the Alvivi couple.

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