1/12/2006

soros called for open societies

george soros calls for an open society that is tolerant of differing views. when asked about singapore he said, 'obviously, singapore does not qualify as open society...but i hope they will be brave enough to take the next step in the development of an open society.' the ministry of information, communications and the arts responded by say, 'if we were not an open society, george soros would hardly be able to make the comment at an open forum in singapore, and be reported in the singapore media.' can both parties be speaking the truth? or one is telling the truth and one is lying? who is to be the judge. if infocomm is telling the truth, then why is soros, an eminent and successful man, obviously not one who talks without knowing what he is saying, making those comments. soros probably did not know the whole truth. or shall we ask the singaporeans who are living witnesses to the system whether they think we are an open society or otherwise? whether differing views are tolerated, when and where it matters. the most accurate way of putting it is by tommy koh. 'while the us appears to be moving from a more open to a less open society, singapore is moving in the other direction - from close to open.'

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Singapore is not an open society if one will to compare Singapore with Europe and US. Singapore still has a long long way to go before one can consider Singapore an open society.

BTW, what is the definition of an open society to all Singaporean?? I believe there are a lot variations if one will to pose this question to the man and woman on the street.

My humble definition of an open society is when the society is ready to accept alternative views (may not be in-line with the government policies), freedom of speech, sufficient checks-and-balances and less use of defamation law to intimidate and silence the critics.

redbean said...

hi anonymous,

you are thinking or have the same views as george soros. the definition of openness is too wide. but soros also refers to accepting alternative views and not using the legal system to sue people.

Speedwing said...

The type of " open society " encountered in Europe and the US may not be suitable for a country like Singapore.

However, as defined by anonymous "an open society is when the society is ready to accept alternative views (may not be in-line with the government policies), freedom of speech, sufficient checks-and-balances and less use of defamation law to intimidate and silence the critics" certain contains some element of truth?

redbean said...

hi speed, hopefully tommy koh is right in what he said. but from close to open can be two feet long of two thousand miles away.

where are we now between the two ends?

redbean said...

during discussion on the same issue, vivian said this, 'political openness was not an end in itself but part of the process of good governance.'

so what does he meant by that? like we are not ready? or good government no need openness?

or like corporate governance, good management no need for transparency and accountability?

Matilah_Singapura said...

See how the State and its apparatchiks administer "Open society".

Don't confuse Open Society with Free Society.

An Opne Society is definitely not FREE. But nonetheless, people will delude themselves into thinking they are "free" because the society seems to be "open".

The govt can tell you (especially that half-past-six ex RI master debater) - "Yah, just speak your mind, express yourself, be open, even be radical and different in your views."

But come to bare-bones unvarnished reality and truth, they still hold you BALLS and SQUEEZE it should they want your UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and COMPLIANCE.

Freedom of speech is not freedom. Freedom of speech is an important element of freedom.

Real freedom is based on private property rights - where each person is respected as an individual, without exception, and government and society are subordinate to the individual.

At the present, the individualis subordinate to the society, cuntry or govt.

This shit has got to stop.

redbean said...

generally all of them uses openness as synonymous with freedom of speech. as you mentioned, a free society is quite a different social model as to openness or just freedom of speech. if i am not wrong, a free society is a wider concept than freedom of speech which is confined to freedom of expression.

now which half baked ri debater are you referring to? there are quite a number of ri mafias around.

Matilah_Singapura said...

"Freedom" in the classical liberal or libertarian point of view (POV) (in my case anarcho-capitalist, or laissez fairist) means freedom form govt interference.

It begins with the idea of self-ownership (we each own ourselves). The state comes about from individual self-ownership - NOT from the idea of "the state CONTROLS each individual". (which is the case in totalitarian cuntries, like Singapore)

The idea of self-ownership (you are your own private property) is then extended to private property - because we ALL need our property to live. We have to create, buy or be given that property. If we lie, cheat steal and murder, then our species will degenerate into a "war of all against all" - the Hobsian nightmare.

Freedom of speech, from the libertarian POV begins in private property. Since you own yourself, you own your lungs, vocal chords, mind and mouth... etc. - the main organs used for the formation of ideas and their expression.

Because we all need to use our private property in order to exist, no one has a "higher right" to control or prevent you from using your private property - as long as you are using your property peacefully. For e.g. if you use your legs to kick someones head for no reason, you are violating his private property rights.

If you use "harsh speech", you are still using your private property peacefully - unless you have entered into a VOLUNTARYcontract with the other party where you have to agree to terms.

For e.g. If you come to my house you may not use the words "Lee Kuan Yew". If you do, I have the right to ask you to leave or throw you out. BUT I never FORCED you to come to my house or enter into an agreement. A contract is private property, for it to work both parties must deliver their part.

But if thereis no contract WRT speech, then anything goes. Does this mean I assault your private property (ear drums) when I call you say "An Asian Slob"? Yes, probably but I don't violate your rights, because =>YOU<= have to use your private property (your mind) to interpret what I express as "offensive". I have no control on how you use your mind - that is entirely up to you.

Therefore freedom of speech really means no holds barred, freedom of speech - UNLESS you are bound by CONTRACT. [Another contract example where there is no free speech: you sign a non disclosure agreement with me, because I've revealed to you my latest hum-dinger invention. Let's say, we are partners or you are employed by me. If you speak about what you've agreed not to speak about, you have violated my property rights, and I can seek recourse].

So that is, in a nutshell what freedom of speech is from the natural law, libertarian or classical liberal position (the folks who mistrust govt)

Now to the folks who dig govt, and expect govt intervention to "create freedom" (notice the contradiction: THE AGENCY OF FORCE WHICH TAKES AWAY FREEDOM USES FORCE TO FORCE PEOPLE TO BE FREE. Just look at Iraq. Conquer the country, kill innocents, to set them free! Go figure.

Anyway, the above example is exactly these govt-loving types wish to create "enlightened societies".

Therefore, they (the "leaders") simply tell the people: Yes, you have free speech - but we, the govt will be the final arbiter on what should be free and what shouldn't. (Hong Lim Speaker's corner is a good example of this sham)

I don't are about those RI boys. Pussies all of them.

I'm an ACSian. They can suck my dick (figuratively speaking of course, using my private property for freedom of speech) :-)

redbean said...

hi matilah,

it was so long that i heard of hobbes. the only thing i could remember about him is that life is short and nasty, which today's life spent has proven him wrong.

my propery, my money in the cpf. i am still very sore over it.

freedom of speech? it seems that many are prepared to compromise as long as they can live well materially. will our society, the younger generation, fight for such an intangible objective? will they push the boundary, the ob markers? the fact that there are ob markers means that there are limitations. and who decides the limits. you said it.