Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mission Statement

First things first: Welcome to The Renaissance Man. Why the name? Well, yours truly considers himself (with all the humility that entails) to be one: scientist, philosopher, political theorist, fledgeling programmer (really fledgeling) among other things.Why am I writing this blog? Because I feel that I have something to say and want to set the agenda (duh) and because I think that I am filling a hole that needs to be filled. The  political blogosphere in Singapore is severely lacking. How?? There are plenty of political blogs that talk about all sorts of stuff that the government does; about how our press about why the government does this, does that, bad baaad gahmen... so on and so forth. They provide a valuable service by bringing to light different alternative views that cannot be found in the forum page in the Straits Times. That is all well and good and they should continue to do so. However, I have yet to see a SINGAPOREAN Blog which attempts to deal with the serious poltical and moral philosophical issues pertaining to the Singaporean context. 

The PAP allegedly eschew any sort of ideology and instead claim to be pragmatists. What do they mean by 'pragmatist'? Pragmatic could mean whatever is politically convenient. That however is not a very nice thing to say and it is not likely very true either. To give the PAP their due, whent they say pragmatist, they mean consequentialist. The PAP believes that it has to do what it believes is the best for singaporeans. i.e. they do whatever works. In itself it is fine. However, that stil constitutes an ideology. And to be fair, I mean ideology in the best sense: a certain ethical set of ideals, principles, doctrines... Given that the PAP are consequentialists, Lee Kuan Yew's criticism of opposition parties makes sense. If the policies that PAP pursues are "whatever works", why shouldn't anybody interested in politics join the PAP instead of the opposition? After all, it seems reasonable that a person with differing ideas might be able to air them if he joined the PAP instead of the opposition.(after all there is visible disagreement within the PAP ranks some of the time) (More cannot be said without running afoul of those pesky OB markers) Big tent PAPism does put a wrinkle in opposition plans: especially if the opposition are all consequentialists too. So far, politics in Singapore can be divided into 2 types: bread and butter issues, and crackpot politics. The People's Action Party, Workers Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance basically only differ on how to tackle bread and butter issues. Singapore Democratic Party is just a crackpot agency. They spout off all sorts of things without accumulating proper evidence first. Chee Soon Juan spends more of his time with self defeating gestures than not. He is worse than useless. Given the extant diversity of opinion within the PAP, WP and SDA are not significantly different from the PAP, they are just less experienced. Why vote for PAP lite when the PAP is already there? Hence, a true opposition voice will propose a diametrically opposing ideology, not just different ways of carrying out the same ideological principles.

What principle could an opposition Party build itself on? Well, if the PAP are consequentialists, this hypothetical party must adopt a deontologist (duty/rights oriented) approach. This blog aims to explore what we can do within this deontological framework. It will deal with moral issues, both specific and general, poltiical philosophy, and once in a while, with any political bugbears of mine. Note: It will cross some OB (out of bounds) markers. I will talk about gays, religion, evolution etc. I may come across as criticising certain religions (I really dont intend to be offensive) and very likely also the government. While I try not to post unsubstantiated statements about the PAP, some may get past my guard in the heat of the moment. However, insofar as criticising the PAP is concerned, a distinction must be drawn between saying unsubstantiated things about the PAP and disagreeing about the morality and legitimacy of actions and statements known to be made by the PAP. I will try to refrain from the former, but I will most definitely be engaging in the latter, whenever I see the need to. If I do slip up and make unsubstantiated statements about the government, I appeal to readers to inform me (I dont want to end up like Chee Soon Juan) and to the PAP to have the forbearance to not slap me with a lawsuit at the first instance. I will retract my statement if my error is pointed out. I understand the legitmacy of defending oneself against slander and refuse to be a slanderer. I, however aim to be an honest critic, and should I ever cross the line, would like to be warned.

The reader has been warned: Certain OB markers may be crossed, but no posts will be libelous or tasteless. I reserve the right to moderate comments as and when I like. I however will only remove tasteless comments by trolls. Enjoy

Edit: I have decided to change the name of the post: Finding my feet and all that... Given the URL, the name will be A Singaporean Renaissance. Any comments or criticisms are welcome

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