Kishore Mahbubani: What are Asian values?
Kishore Mahbubani was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 16 August 2004 after having served 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service (with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington DC and twice as Ambassador to the UN, during which he also served as President of the Security Council). He was the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry from 1993-1998.
He is the author of Can Asians Think? published in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India and People’s Republic of China and of Beyond The Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World. His new book entitled The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Gobal Power to the East was published in New York in February 2008. He was also listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005.
Kishore Mahbubani: Well the Asian values debate, unfortunately is the most mistitled, that mostly badly mistitled debate in the world, because the Asian values debate came about at the end of the Cold War, because there was an Asian reaction to western triumphalism. I mean I was there. I went to Europe. I went to America and that was I mean, the western intellectuals where just plain cocky. Their attitude towards the rest of the world was “hey! the cold war is ended. The west has won. Now you the rest of the world, you have only one road of history. You all have to become cultural clones of the west” and that’s what the Asians rejected. They said “No, we will not become cultural or political clones of the west” and it was that reaction that was named the Asian values debate. It’s not that the Asians disagree about the values of democracy, or the values of human rights, or we disagreed about the way the west said it should be implemented and history, by the way, has vindicated what the Asians said, because the societies that tried to go overnight, like Yugoslavia, it was a disaster. Thousands of people died, because of this experiment in democracy, that was imposed in Yugoslavia. Take Rwanda. 800,000 people died, because you tried to converted democracy without paying attention to the underlying ethnic fabric down there. These things you got to change carefully, and in that sense that Asian approache say “hey! Let’s do this carefully and deliberately, I think that approach has been vindicated. Now of course, as you know no westerner advocates immediate democracy as in the way that they used to in 1990 - 1995.
Recorded on: 2/28/08
Mahbubani says Asians have rejected the West as a cultural ideal.
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- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
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- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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