The Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew

LKYMr Lee Kuan Yew was a sage. Politicians are generally vile, myopic, self-serving, stupid, vacuous windbags. That Singapore had a Confucian sage for its first prime minister is amazing. Too bad Singapore is a small country. Imagine if LKY had been the first prime minister of India. India’s economy today would probably have been about 10 times that of China, instead of being 1/5th that it is today. Continue reading

“An Eye for an Eye” is Deterrence Against Violence

The concept of deterrence is the credible commitment to retaliation by one party to convince another party to not initiate force. If one party can convincingly persuade another party that any act of unprovoked violence will be met with equal or greater violence, that would constitute effective deterrence. The assumption is that both parties are rational. Here rational is defined as apprehending a situation accurately and acting in one’s own self-interest. Gandhi did not understand this simple idea, being blinded by his admiration of the Christian bilge about “turning the other cheek”.

Gayatri Jayaraman (‏@Gayatri__J) wrote this on twitter:

“an eye for an eye will leave the world blind” – Mahatma Gandhi. Why ahimsa is the only force that can win us our wars

Continue reading

Half Truths and Nehru

{My first blog was “Life is a Random Draw” which I started writing sometime in 2000 or so. Before blogs, we used to waste spend time on the usenet. Anyway, I hauled this bit from my Berkeley blog.}

Half truths. That’s what interests me today.

And when half truths are dished out by half-wits for the consumption of the totally witless, the result is curiously fascinating. That is of course a general statement and one would like a ‘fer instance’ at this point. And I am about to illustrate that general statement.
Continue reading

Leadership is about being helpful

“You don’t lead by telling people what to do; you lead by being helpful.” George Shultz, former US Secretary of State, in conversation at the Hoover Institution on Jan 25th, 2016. He’s 96 years old.

A personal note. One day sometime in the early 1990s I was on the Stanford University campus for some work. I recognized Mr Shultz near a parking lot and went up to him and said hello. We chatted for a minute or two. A very gentle man and a gentleman.

Hayek on the Decay of Democracy

Friedrich Hayek’s Law, Legislation and Liberty. Vol. 3 The Political Order of a Free People. 1979. Chapter 13, “The Division of Democratic Powers.” Pg 31-32.

A system which may place any small group in the position to hold a society to ransom if it happens to be the balance between opposing groups, and can extort special privileges for its support of a party, has little to do with democracy or ‘social justice’. But it is the unavoidable product of the unlimited power of a single elective assembly not precluded from discrimination by a restriction of its powers either to true legislation or to government under a law which it cannot alter.

Not only will such a system produce a government driven by blackmail and corruption, but it will also produce laws which are disapproved by the majority and in their long-run effects may lead to the decline of the society. . . .

A further peculiar sort of bias of government created by the necessity to gain votes by benefiting particular groups or activities operates indirectly through the need to gain the support of those second-hand dealers of ideas, mainly in what are now called the ‘media’ , who largely determine public opinion.

Worth pondering.

Hayek on Democracy

Here’s a quote from Friedrich Hayek’s Law, Legislation and Liberty. It appears in the 3rd volume, The Political Order of a Free People, in the chapter on MAJORITY OPINION AND CONTEMPORARY DEMOCRACY, page 4:

May it not be true, as has been well said, that ‘the belief in democracy presupposes belief in things higher than democracy’? And is there really no other way for people to maintain a democratic government than by handing over unlimited power to a group of elected representatives whose decisions must be guided by the exigencies of a bargaining process in which they bribe a sufficient number of voters to support an organized group of themselves numerous enough to outvote the rest?

What are things that are higher than democracy? A belief in the sovereignty of law, and obedience to the rules of just conduct.