Governments should do what is right, not what is popular. Do you agree?
Interpretation of keywords
The rational decision for the greater good of society (being concerned about the long-term welfare of a nation)
Well-supported by the masses, policies that pander to the prevailing sentiments and desires of the people
The role of the government:
Governments should indeed listen to the voices of the people, but they should also look into the long-term outlook of the nation/ should address the long-term goals and challenges of the nation in the long run
This essay outline will be structured into three possible stands, explaining the reasons behind each stand.
Questions you may want to ask yourself:
- what are the stands that exist in this question?(populism/ democracy vs aristocratic governance)
- What are the reasons behind each stand?
- What is the context of each stand? (corruption, country’s economy, pre-existing values, political situation.)
- Is this stand applicable to all countries?
- What is the is the political situation of each country
- Does populism address the needs of each country?
Terms that are related to governance and politics:
Representation of the interesting of the ordinary people/appealing to the concerns of ordinary people.
A country which is ruled by a handful of elites.
Let’s get straight to the content!
GOVERNMENTS SHOULD DO WHAT IS POPULAR
It is the duty of the government to listen to the people because the popular views of the people often point towards the possible blind spots of government policies or the broader needs of society, which must be collectively addressed by the government.
Social contract theory:
Political philosophers have often argued that there is a binding “social contract” between the government and its people. This suggests that the government has a duty to render protection and assistance to the people in exchange for their loyalty. It is important for all governments to honour such a social contract.
Uses direct referendum and plebiscites to enable citizens to propose or amend policies directly
OSC – Our Singapore Conversation – after the watershed election in 2011 – PAP in Singapore launched this significant initiative to take heed of the prevailing sentiments of local citizens
The ruling government did so because it was vital for the ruling party to continuously engage its citizens for their support.
Democracy is essentially about heeding the voices of the majority in order to act upon the very needs and desires of the masses.
Link and focus back to question:
For a government to continue its political governance, it is imperative to constantly strive to win the support and favour of the people. It is, after all, the people that give the government the rightful mandate to rule.
GOVERNMENTS SHOULD DO WHAT IS RIGHT EVEN THOUGH IT MAY NOT BE POPULAR
At times, the popular/prevailing viewpoints of the masses are often based upon myopic and short-term desires of the people. As a result, such popular views may go against the greater good of society and it is the role of the government to resist implementing populist policies just to pander to the masses.
Brexit is said to be a miscalculated move as the voters who were in favour of the Leave Campaign often lost sight of the broader economic repercussions of the UK as a result of Brexit.
The exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was accused of implementing disastrous populist policies because of his overly lax rice subsidies given to the farmers in the rural areas (who formed the bulk of his political supporters)
In view of the changing conditions and the extreme political volatility/instability of the today ’s, the conservative in society may argue that governments should be firm in enforcing what is right for the nation, even though these policies may appear to be divisive and unpopular.
Donald Trump’s travel ban:
There is validity and it is justified to enforce such a ban to prevent the influx of migrants and refugees with unknown history and background, in the name of upholding security
Marine Le Pen’s conservative stance on immigration in France:
Addresses the fears and needs of the people and is crucial to her gaining a power in the French elections. With terror attacks and rampant refugee migration, she can use these events to increase the fear and dissatisfaction to create a strong and firm national identity. Thus building a strong sense of nationalism and pride for France as a country.
Link and focus back to question:
Ensuring that a country’s security is paramount, and more often than not these controversial policies are required to fulfil the goal of maximising the safety and welfare of the nation.