The intro to the chapter summarizes why Kishore Mahbubani presented the Heresies:
“Yet, when I tried in seminars at Harvard University to challenge the universal applicability of democracy, human rights or freedom of the press, I discovered that these values have become virtual “sacred cows”. No one could challenge their intrinsic worth. Worse still, when I persisted, I was greeted with sniggers, smug looks and general derision. The general assumption there was that any Asian, especially a Singaporean, who challenged these concepts was doing so only in an attempt to cover up the sins of his government.
I am as convinced now as I was then that the aggressive Western promotion of democracy, human rights and freedom of the press to the Third World at the end of the Cold War was, and is, a colossal mistake. This campaign is unlikely to benefit the 4.3 billion people who live outside the developed world, and perhaps not even the 700 million people who live inside it. This campaign could aggravate, rather than ameliorate, the difficult conditions under which the vast majority of the world’s population live.”
From a discussion I had on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.e.watkins/posts/275172499228393
The Ten Heresies of Free Press are:
- Heresy No. 1: American journalists do not believe in the Christian
rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
- Heresy No. 2: Power corrupts. The absolute power of the Western
journalist in the Third World corrupts absolutely.
- Heresy No. 3: A free press can serve as the opium of society.
- Heresy No. 4: A free press need not lead to a well-ordered society.
- Heresy No. 5: Western journalists, in covering non-Western events,
are conditioned by both Western prejudices and Western interests.
The claim of “objective” reporting is a major falsehood.
- Heresy No. 6: Western governments work with genocidal rulers when
it serves their interests to do so.
- Heresy No. 7: Western governments will happily sacrifi ce the human
rights of Third World societies when it suits Western interests to do so.
- Heresy No. 8: The West has used the pretext of human rights abuses
to abandon Third World allies that no longer serve Western interests.
- Heresy No. 9: The West cannot acknowledge that the pursuit of
“moral” human rights policies can have immoral consequences.
- Heresy No. 10: An imperfect government that commits some human
rights violations is better than no government, in many societies.