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East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia

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East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

"Daniel Bell gets to the hard philosophical and empirical questions that hide behind the often corrupt political rhetoric about cultural difference and human rights. This fine book explores the major issues about the universality of human rights and democracy with great sensitivity, nuance, and rigor. It is full of new and interesting insights, ideas, and arguments."--Charles Taylor

"Daniel Bell is one of the few political theorists who is able to write dialogue, actually to conduct a philosophical conversation on the printed page. In this book, this difficult genre is used in an exemplary way to teach us about the political engagement of Western liberalism and 'Asian values'-and also about the possible meaning of human rights in a global setting."--Michael Walzer

"Unlike some Western critics who easily satisfy themselves by launching polemical criticisms of human rights violations and authoritarianism in Asia, Daniel Bell insists on giving a fair hearing to different political and philosophical voices from that region. The result of this is that he is able to develop powerful criticisms of Asian authoritarianism with careful philosophical and empirical support, and to construct alternative proposals of political institutions that may have appeal to people in the region."--Joseph Chan, University of Hong Kong

Synopsis:

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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
INTRODUCTION 3
PART I THE EAST ASIAN CHALLENGE TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY. REFLECTIONS ON EAST-WEST DIALOGUES 21
CHAPTER 1 TOWARD A TRULY INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS REGIME 23
1. Trade-offs 35
1.1. Rights vs. Development: A Zero-Sum Game? 35
1.2. The Need for Specificity 37
2. An Asian Voice on Human Rights? 49
2.1. Human Rights: A Western Invention? 49
2.2. Increasing Commitment to Human Rights in East Asia: Strategic Considerations 55
2.2.1. On the Prospects of Exporting American Ideals to East Asia 56
2.2.2. Appealing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Asia 63
2.2.3. Local justifications for Human Rights 68
3. A Different Moral Standpoint? 82
3.1. Cultural Respect vs. Liberal Neutrality 84
3.2. Justifiable Constraints on Western-Style Rights 87
3.3. New "Asian" Rights: Expanding the Set of Internationally Recognized Rights 95
Summary 103
CHAPTER 2 DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL KNOWLEDGE 106
1. Trade-off Issues 110
1.1. On the Possibility of Decent Nondemocratic Regimes 110
1.2. The Costs of Democratization 116
2. Democratic Rights: Different justifications 130
2.1. Limiting the Power of the State 130
2.2. Democracy as a Means for Nation-Building 137
2.3. Identifying the Agents of Democratization 142
2.4. Nation-Building and Social Consensus in
Confucian Democracies 149
3. Democratic Rights: Different Constraints 158
3.1 Democracy vs. Civil Rights 158
3.2 Democracy vs. Social and Economic Rights 16
3.3 Democracy vs. Future Generations 16
Summary 170
PART II THE PROS AND CONS OF DEMOCRACY IN SINGAPORE: A FICTITIOUS DIALOGUE WITH LEE KUAN YEW 173
CHAPTER 3 IS LIBERAL DEMOCRACY SUITABLE FOR SINGAPORE? 175
1. Democracy Defined as Free and Fair Competitive Elections 176
2. Democracy justified (Only) by Its Consequences 185
3. Democracy and Security 201
4. Democracy and Civil Liberties 213
5. Democracy and Prosperity 219
Summary 232
CHAPTER 4 A COMMUNITARIAN CRITIQUE OF AUTHORITARIANISM: THE CASE OF SINGAPORE 233
1. Community and Democracy 233
2. Democracy and the Family 236
3. Democracy and the Nation 239
3.1. Singapore: A Patriotic Nation? 239
3.2. How Authoritarianism Undermines Patriotism 241
3.3. On the Need for Patriotism in Singapore 253
Summary 271
PART III DEMOCRACY WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS 277
CHAPTER 5 A POLITICAL PROPOSAL FOR THE POST-COMMUNIST ERA 279
1. Constraining Democratic Populism 281
1.1. On the Need for Capable and Far-Sighted Rulers in Modern Societies 281
1.2. A Confucian Tradition of Respect for a Ruling Intellectual Elite 286
2. Alternative Proposals 289
2.1. Plural Voting Schemes 292
2.2. A Corporatist Assembly 294
2.3. A Parliament of Scholar-Officials 299
3. The Proposal 307
3.1. Selection Procedures 307
3.2. The Problem of Cormption 318
3.3. The Question of Universalizability 323
3.4. The Problem of Gridlock 328
3.5. Implementation of the Proposal 332
Closing Scene 335
Select Bibliography 337
Index 353

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691005089
Author:
Bell, Daniel A.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
International Relations
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Human Rights
Subject:
International Relations - General
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Political philosophy
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Human rights -- East Asia.
Subject:
Democracy -- East Asia.
Subject:
Politics-United States Foreign Policy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 2000
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 20 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics

East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$56.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691005089 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Daniel Bell gets to the hard philosophical and empirical questions that hide behind the often corrupt political rhetoric about cultural difference and human rights. This fine book explores the major issues about the universality of human rights and democracy with great sensitivity, nuance, and rigor. It is full of new and interesting insights, ideas, and arguments."--Charles Taylor

"Daniel Bell is one of the few political theorists who is able to write dialogue, actually to conduct a philosophical conversation on the printed page. In this book, this difficult genre is used in an exemplary way to teach us about the political engagement of Western liberalism and 'Asian values'-and also about the possible meaning of human rights in a global setting."--Michael Walzer

"Unlike some Western critics who easily satisfy themselves by launching polemical criticisms of human rights violations and authoritarianism in Asia, Daniel Bell insists on giving a fair hearing to different political and philosophical voices from that region. The result of this is that he is able to develop powerful criticisms of Asian authoritarianism with careful philosophical and empirical support, and to construct alternative proposals of political institutions that may have appeal to people in the region."--Joseph Chan, University of Hong Kong

"Synopsis" by , 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.

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