Amongst many folks in the West, usually liberal, there’s been a healthy respect for top-down solutions to problems that some far-East authoritarian, paternalistic governments can impose on their generally less individually free populations. Climate-change knocking at your door? Here’s high-speed rail. You’re welcome. Don’t ask questions. You’re in post-Communist China.
Extra income floating around? Well, we liberalized the economy for you, so now you’re going to invest in real-estate until the bubble pops. You don’t know any better.
You won’t buy or sell gum in Singapore, damn it. And you’ll only chew it under doctor’s orders.
David Brooks gets in on that action:
‘In places like Singapore and China, the best students are ruthlessly culled for government service. The technocratic elites play a bigger role in designing economic life. The safety net is smaller and less forgiving. In Singapore, 90 percent of what you get out of the key pension is what you put in. Work is rewarded. People are expected to look after their own’
Let’s be a little more autocratic, America, at least at the national level. It’s just so we can compete and plan for the future. Someone’s got to take hold of the meritocracy.
Get on board!:
‘The answer is to use Lee Kuan Yew means to achieve Jeffersonian ends — to become less democratic at the national level in order to become more democratic at the local level. At the national level, American politics has become neurotically democratic.’
That’s the father of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew.
We need to restrict freedoms in order to get more freedoms, you see. The system’s broken. American democracy is sick. The cure for too much democratic neurosis is putting the right people in charge and browsing at the buffet of global ideas.
We’ll be strong and healthy in no time. It’s just for a little while.
I’d like to thank David Brooks for staying relevant to Times readers by synthesizing many of the authoritarian, technocratic and paternalistic impulses of Left-liberal sentiment into his national column (where everyone’s an ‘elite’, of course, in a purely democratic way). Brooks is doing a public service by showing us where many of those ideas can lead. The illiberal impulses which can’t be channeled through activism, ‘executive’ actions, and one-party rule can be redirected to autocratic solutions in a global marketplace.
Thanks Brooks, we hardly knew ye:
Repost-Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’…At least with religious conservatives, they’re clear about moral claims to authority. Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It
Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes: Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge…
Steven Pinker somewhat focused on the idea of freedom from violence, which tends to be libertarian. Yet, he’s also skeptical of the more liberal human rights and also religious natural rights. What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes…From Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘…Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department