The following is an excerpt from the Econlog
Professor Bryan Caplan clarifies he is not a PAP apologist
Still, lest I be mistaken for a PAP apologist, this is a great time to air Singapore’sreal dirty laundry. The Singaporean government has many disgraceful policies. My top picks:
1. Conscription. Though they laughed at me in Singapore, this is clearly state slavery – and there are plenty of less draconian means to defend the city-state from conquest. (Like… paying soldiers market wages). Only a democratic fundamentalist would imagine that the right to vote is more important than the right to say “No” to a job offer.
2. The death penalty for drug trafficking. Jailing people for capitalist acts between consenting adults is bad enough. Murdering people for selling intoxicants to willing buyers is sheer barbarism.
3. State ownership. While Singapore’s state-owned companies act surprisingly like capitalist firms, why settle for second-best? And if you needed further empirical evidence that state ownership undermines personal freedom even if it is “run like a business,” take a look at the Straits Times or Singaporean television.
4. Defamation law. Letting people sue people who badmouth them is bad enough. But Singapore takes defamation law to its logical, absurd conclusion: You can’t even badmouth government officials unless you can prove that your charges are true. The problem with these laws isn’t that they’re undemocratic – after all, Singapore still allows criticism of policies. The problem is that they violate human freedom. People should be allowed to say what they like about whoever they like, whether or not they can prove it, and whether or not they’re right.
5. Censorship. The Internet has made Singaporean censorship largely obsolete, but it’s still an outrage that you need the government’s approval to stage a public performance.
Bottom line: Singapore’s critics have plenty of genuine grievances to denounce. (And under Singaporean law, it’s legal to do so – just don’t get personal!) So why do the critics keep complaining about “lack of democracy” when the real story is that most Singaporeans persistently prefer the PAP to the opposition?
Read the rest of the write-up at the Econlog