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East Meets West : Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia - Daniel A. Bell

East Meets West

Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia

Paperback Published: 28th May 2000
ISBN: 9780691005089
Number Of Pages: 384

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Is liberal democracy a universal ideal? Proponents of "Asian values" argue that it is a distinctive product of the Western experience and that Western powers shouldn't try to push human rights and democracy onto Asian states. Liberal democrats in the West typically counter by questioning the motives of Asian critics, arguing that Asian leaders are merely trying to rationalize human-rights violations and authoritarian rule. In this book--written as a dialogue between an American democrat named Demo and three East Asian critics--Daniel A. Bell attempts to chart a middle ground between the extremes of the international debate on human rights and democracy.

Bell criticizes the use of "Asian values" to justify oppression, but also draws on East Asian cultural traditions and contributions by contemporary intellectuals in East Asia to identify some powerful challenges to Western-style liberal democracy. In the first part of the book, Bell makes use of colorful stories and examples to show that there is a need to take into account East Asian perspectives on human rights and democracy. The second part--a fictitious dialogue between Demo and Asian senior statesman Lee Kuan Yew--examines the pros and cons of implementing Western-style democracy in Singapore. The third part of the book is an argument for an as-yet-unrealized Confucian political institution that justifiably differs from Western-style liberal democracy.

This is a thought-provoking defense of distinctively East Asian challenges to Western-style liberal democracy that will stimulate interest and debate among students of political theory, Asian studies, and international human rights.

"Bell has produced a tour de force of great depth ...[A] solid philosophical work, respectful but tough minded, that illuminates East Asian political perspectives and forces Americans to reexamine their own assumptions."--Lucian W. Pye, Foreign Affairs "Daniel Bell has produced a book that is as creative and intriguing as it is scholarly and substantial. He has created three dramatic, engaging, philosophically penetrating dialogues illuminating the 'Asian Values' debate... These dialogues are accessible and even entertaining, but they are also thoroughly researched and tightly argued."--Steven Wrage, Millenium "Bell's East Asian interlocutors express some of the bewilderment felt by the recipients of America's moral advice, and the offer a robust critique... American advocates of human rights tend to argue from principle: East Asians from how things currently are on the ground."--Alex de Waal, London Review of Books "Bell criticizes 'West-centric perspectives,' which assume that every society aspires to the ideal of becoming a Western-style liberal democracy. [This is an] extremely rich new book."--Jerry Burke, Philosophy East & West

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
The East Asian Challenge to Human Rights and Democracy. Reflections on East-West Dialoguesp. 21
Toward a Truly International Human Rights Regimep. 23
Trade-offsp. 35
Rights vs. Development: A Zero-Sum Game?p. 35
The Need for Specificityp. 37
An Asian Voice on Human Rights?p. 49
Human Rights: A Western Invention?p. 49
Increasing commitment to Human Rights in East Asia: Strategic Considerationsp. 55
On the Prospects of Exporting American Ideals to East Asiap. 56
Appealing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Asiap. 63
Local justifications for Human Rightsp. 68
A Different Moral Standpoint?p. 82
Cultural Respect vs. Liberal Neutralityp. 84
Justifiable Constraints on Western-Style Rightsp. 87
New "Asian" Rights: Expanding the Set of Internationally Recognized Rightsp. 95
Summaryp. 103
Democratic Rights: On the Importance of Local Knowledgep. 106
Trade-off Issuesp. 110
On the Possibility of Decent Nondemocratic Regimesp. 110
The Costs of Democratizationp. 116
Democratic Rights: Different justificationsp. 130
Limiting the Power of the Statep. 130
Democracy as a Means for Nation-Buildingp. 137
Identifying the Agents of Democratizationp. 142
Nation-Building and Social Consensus in Confucian Democraciesp. 149
Democratic Rights: Different Constraintsp. 158
Democracy vs. Civil Rightsp. 158
Democracy vs. Social and Economic Rightsp. 16
Democracy vs. Future Generationsp. 16
Summaryp. 170
The Pros and Cons of Democracy in Singapore: A Fictitious Dialogue with Lee Kuan Yewp. 173
Is Liberal Democracy Suitable for Singapore?p. 175
Democracy Defined as Free and Fair Competitive Electionsp. 176
Democracy justified (Only) by Its Consequencesp. 185
Democracy and Securityp. 201
Democracy and Civil Libertiesp. 213
Democracy and Prosperityp. 219
Summaryp. 232
A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singaporep. 233
Community and Democracyp. 233
Democracy and the Familyp. 236
Democracy and the Nationp. 239
Singapore: A Patriotic Nation?p. 239
How Authoritarianism Undermines Patriotismp. 241
On the Need for Patriotism in Singaporep. 253
Summaryp. 271
Democracy With Chinese Characteristicsp. 277
A Political Proposal for the Post-Communist Erap. 279
Constraining Democratic Populismp. 281
On the Need for Capable and Far-Sighted Rulers in Modern Societiesp. 281
A Confucian Tradition of Respect for a Ruling Intellectual Elitep. 286
Alternative Proposalsp. 289
Plural Voting Schemesp. 292
A Corporatist Assemblyp. 294
A Parliament of Scholar-Officialsp. 299
The Proposalp. 307
Selection Proceduresp. 307
The Problem of Cormptionp. 318
The Question of Universalizabilityp. 323
The Problem of Gridlockp. 328
Implementation of the Proposalp. 332
Closing Scenep. 335
Select Bibliographyp. 337
Indexp. 353
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691005089
ISBN-10: 0691005087
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 28th May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.47 x 15.62  x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.54