As libertarians, we believe in the fundamental dignity of the individual, as well as the free exchange of goods and services, ideas, people, and capital. This philosophy, also called market liberalism, emerged in Western Europe in the 18th century from the works of John Locke and Adam Smith, and has since been the foundation of human welfare and prosperity. Economic freedom and capitalist production have tremendously enriched nations, and have presided over the greatest poverty reduction in human history. Liberal equality has brought about greater empowerment of formerly oppressed minorities like women and LGBT individuals. As liberals, we also believe that power should be limited, and over the past few centuries, the world has become more politically free, as nations move towards democratic regimes constrained by the rule of law. 

This paradigm, which has so enriched the world, is not simply a Western construct, but a universal right of all man. While liberalism emerged in the West, the need to limit arbitrary power and the appreciation of voluntary exchange are themes found in non-Western traditions too. The Daoist philosopher Lao Tzu saw the tremendous power of the state, with its "laws and regulations more numerous than the hairs of an ox" as "more to be feared than fierce tigers". The Chinese historian Sima Qian, writing in 145-186BC, observed the importance of spontaneous market forces in economic organisation. Today, just as in history, we mock the efforts of Asian political activists struggling for freedom when we hold on to an authoritarian reading of Asian values. "Those who wish to deny us certain political rights try to convince us that these are not Asian values," said Aung San Suu Kyi, the former Burmese political prisoner and a Nobel laureate. "In our struggle for democracy and human rights, we would like greater support from our fellow Asians.


We believe that Singapore will benefit from the ideas of market liberalism. Despite our high degree of economic openness, our economy is dominated by large government-linked corporations squeezing the competitiveness of local SMEs. We struggle with innovation and productivity in the challenging economic landscape. Equal rights are not extended consistently, including LGBT individuals. Singaporeans lack political rights, even as civil liberties are restricted, and our media, regulated.
However, the Libertarian Society of Singapore believes that change is possible. This will not come through the usual process of party politics, or short-term policy tweaks. Real and lasting change begins when we propagate a new mindset. After all, "madmen in authority", said John Maynard Keynes, unwittingly heed the counsel of "academic scribblers". Ideas - what people believe, what they're taught, what they read - are ultimately “dangerous for good or evil”.What is required, is a shift in the realm of ideas on all levels of Singaporean society.
Mission and Vision
As such, our mission is to inspire a greater appreciation and understanding of market liberalism. This mission, as we see it, is pursued through the means of intellectual education:
  • Organising talks and discussions on topics of intellectual interest in the following areas: political philosophy, economics, history and politics.
  • Teaching important concepts and principles found within the libertarian intellectual tradition and free market economic thought, through accessible and interactive content.
  • Carrying out and publishing research and opinion pieces on issues of interest to Singaporeans from a libertarian perspective
We define our success on two levels. First, we hope to see the national conservation in Singapore shift with a greater incorporation of the libertarian perspective. More importantly, we would have built a community of critical, intelligent thinkers willing and able to defend the intellectual foundations of a free society.
F.A Hayek, who probably did more than most to defend the free society in his time, issued a clarion call: "we must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage." We are heeding that call in Singapore.