Lee Kuan Yew and the lessons of Singapore

The life and spectacular success of Lee Kuan Yew is a challenge to everyone who believes in the virtue of democracy.  In the words of Theodore Dalrymple, he was “undoubtedly the most intelligent and capable world leader of the past half-century.” Lee led Singapore with a velvet-gloved (mostly) iron fist from its first day of independence, and he took it from a sleepy, crime-ridden, ethnically divided, and poor ex-colonial outpost to a wealthy and sophisticated world center of finance and commerce, with a per capita income 50 percent higher than its former colonial master, almost no crime, and arguably the best-educated populace in the world. Lee believed that the people of Singapore were not ready for democracy, and that the country faced so many threats of ethnic strife, with its mixed population of Chinese (~80%), Malays, and Indians, that real democracy and freedom of speech were out of the question.  He believed that an intelligent government could lead...(Read Full Post)