Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ideological Fundamentals of Democracy

Is PAP "Indispensable" ? And thus Opposition parties are "Redundant"?

These questions were raised in one of the discussions I had with some opposition members. Some have started to doubt the value or "righteousness" of the existence of opposition since 70% of voters have voted against opposition. And they felt that these voters see PAP as the GOOD government which is "indispensable" and opposition parties are just "trouble makers" or "bandits", the "bad guys".

Opposition members may of course think we are the "good guys" but 70% of voters have "voted against" us. Thus in absolute terms, are we really the "bad guys" and PAP the "good guys" who are indispensable for the good of Singapore?

It is an interesting question put forward to us in the midst of facing "massive rejection" from voters.

My answer to this question is not so simple. First of all, voting PAP may not mean "voting against" opposition. There may be a lot of varied reasons that voters voted for PAP although they might still think we need opposition. The fear of losing PAP as government is one of such reasons. From the look at some of those "guilty conscience" eyes while doing our rounds it is really possible that they didn't know their voting pattern may end up this way. It may be a "freak elections results" to many swing voters.

Fear of losing PAP as government may be construed as PAP to them, is "indispensable" as a "good government" but this may not be "right" although 70% of voters think this way.

From a philosophical point of view, there are two schools of thoughts in Chinese Confucius teaching. You either believe human beings are inherently "good" people or "bad" people. I believe human beings have the tendency of turning bad, no matter how good he or she was initially.

That is also the basis of Western concept of "Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".

Since there is no "absoluteness" in the "good" of any human beings, then it must be the case that there is no "absolute" good governance of anyone, any kind, over time. If that is so, how could any ruling party be "indispensable" in any sense?

Thus the value of Democracy exists. Democracy is built upon the unreliability of human goodness and the belief that the tendency is for human to become bad over time, under the spell of power. This has been proven empirically in history. Even the BEST Emperor of Qing Dynasty might have been a "Good" Emperor for the first few decades but the last decade of his rule, became "Bad", partly because he turned senile or that he was too full of himself or over confident that he started to refuse to listen to his court officials.

To extend such belief of the unreliability of human good nature, we will conclude that what we need is a whole system of governance must be constructed with the concept of Separation of Powers so that Real Checks and Balances are being institutionalized in it. It would mean that parliamentary diversity as a means of Checks and Balances is totally inadequate.

This is the ideological foundation of People's Power Party's Democratic Vision for Singapore.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

Please lah, the 70% are asking themselves these 2 simple, basic questions.

1. In the hypothetical scenario that they were all elected, can Goh Meng Seng, Low Thia Khiang, Tan Jee Say and even Chee Soon Juan work together to form a cabinet, when they were not even on speaking terms with each other before and during elections?

2. And why contest 100% of seats but not announcing they are ready to be govt?

The opposition is failing themselves big time even on these simple, basic questions. So what's the point of debating further?

Anonymous said...

Goh Meng Seng, suppose you go for a job interview.

If the interviewer ask you a simple, basic question related to the job but you do not know how to answer, how many more questions do you think the interviewer will ask you further?

Anonymous said...

Mr Goh, your post is purely a philosophical argument, upon which you are assuming the intentions of the 70% of voters. Allow me to suggest to you bluntly why the opposition lost by such a large margin. While your thoughts are valid and accurate to an extent (i.e. peoples' fear of losing the government, people seeing the government as indispensable), these are at the end of the day merely secondary / final conclusions that voters like myself fall back on after watching and weighing the PAP - Opposition party (or in your case PPP) debate. In short, voters have come and heard your case, and left utterly un-convinced. Or we have arrived at the conclusion that the divide between the PAP's words + action versus your mere words is simply too wide. The decision can only be one if it is to be sensible and wise. My advice to you? Look beyond the PAP and your whinings about them. People in general hate whiners. Focus on your party (whatever you choose to call it in future) and communicate who you are and why we should care. If you are not adding anything of value and merely criticising (anybody can do that), you will only be barking and chasing after your own tail at the end of the day.