26 Aug 2006

Legalism

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Identifying the Ideological Construct used by the ruling party the first step towards defeating it?
While doing research for my final university course on culture, I came across a really interesting entry on Wikipedia that happened to describe Singapore very well:


Legalism

- a pragmatic political philosophy,
with maxims like "when the epoch changed, the ways changed"
as its essential principle, than a jurisprudence.
(Source: wikipedia)


(Jurisprudence: Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Students of jurisprudence aim to understand the fundamental nature of law, and to analyze its purpose, structure, and application. Jurisprudential scholars (sometimes confusingly referred to as "jurists") hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the law, the kind of power that it exercises, and its role in human societies. At a practical level, some jurists hope to improve society by studying what the law is, what it ought to be, and how it actually operates. They seek a deeper understanding behind law's seemingly unpredictable and uncertain nature. Source: Wikipedia)

Now, what really intrigued me was how each of the core principles described in the wiki entry, could easily be reflected in the political approach to governing Singapore:

Fa (法 fǎ): law or principle. The law code must be clearly written and made public. All people under the ruler were equal before the law. Laws should reward those who obey them and punish accordingly those who dare to break them. Thus it is guaranteed that actions taken are systemically predictable. In addition, the system of law ran the state, not the ruler. If the law is successfully enforced, even a weak ruler will be strong.


Continue reading....

4 comments:

yuen said...

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-XIIfDzQobqO5oCYM9UTvZzgKHH4Org--?cq=1&p=5

" From the perspectives of classical Chinese political philosophy, Singapore is more Legalist than Confucian. While both assume the existence of a hierarchical society with hereditary rulers, Confucianism emphasizes the ideal that rulers and their educated servants should act with moderation and self-restraint, always following established procedures and setting good examples for their subjects, who would stay in line with minimal application of legal sanctions. In contrast, Legalism emphasizes the use of generous rewards and severe penalties to keep people performing well and observing rules, but its main problem is the tendency for rewards and punishments to escalate: if officials making mistakes are severely punished and also stand to lose their rewards, then office holding is a risky proposition, so that only ever more generous rewards can attract people to come on board; further, people who make minor mistakes would try to cover up and avoid the severe punishment, thus committing additional infractions that ultimately lead to even more severe penalties. "

lee hsien tau said...

Setting up a blog would also be a good start ... to attract the right readership ...

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Matilah_Singapura said...

Too may laws make more people "criminals" unnecessarily.

Also, the state has the monopoly on justice, and thus makes laws which invariably benefit the state. If you criticise the state or its executives, you are guilty of dissent, and depending where you are, you will be punished according to the state's own "anti dissent" or "subversive speech" laws.

The change which is needed is to have competeting (free market) legal systems and courts — privately owned and managed, and beholden to the interests of its clients seeking justice, not a part of the coercive state-machinery.

Anonymous said...

"The change which is needed is to have competing (free market) legal systems and courts — privately owned and managed, and beholden to the interests of its clients seeking justice, not a part of the coercive state-machinery."

Won't the rich bastards still be controlling who the law acts for?