Legitimacy

As the conclusion to a quality piece of Singapore gloating, Kishore Mahbubani outlines the crucial principle of regime legitimacy that liberal-autocratic East Asia is honing for the world:

Singapore has its fair share of detractors. Its political system was widely viewed as being an “enlightened dictatorship,” even though free elections have been held every five years. Its media is widely perceived to be controlled by the government and Singapore is ranked number 153 out of 180 by Reporters Without Borders in 2015 on the Press Freedom Index. Many human rights organizations criticize it. Freedom House ranks Singapore as “partially free.” […] Undoubtedly, some of these criticisms have some validity. Yet, the Singapore population is one of the best educated populations and, hence, globally mobile. They could vote with their feet if Singapore were a stifling “un-free” society. Most choose to stay. Equally importantly, some of the most talented people in the world, including Americans and Europeans, are giving up their citizenship to become Singapore citizens. Maybe they have noticed something that the Western media has not noticed: Singapore is one of the best places to be born in and to live in. [UF emphasis]

Jacobinism is typically too lost in its own evangelical universalism to recognize its limits in political philosophy and in space, if not yet quite so demonstrably in time.

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