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Social & Political Philosophy

Is “True Democracy” A Good Idea? – Jennifer and Clayton

Should the government reflect or impose the values of society? At first glance, it seems like a simple question to answer. The basic definition of a “democratic government” is a government representing its citizens in the decisions they make. But what happens when the views of the people could potentially lead to self-destruction?

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There are many benefits of the government absolutely reflecting the values of the people. For one thing, the government would have more support from the people. A true democracy is achieved by the government being run by an open-minded person, reflecting the views of an average citizen. The end result of this would be the people being generally “happier” and more satisfied with the decisions being made by the government.

However, citizens can be wrong. No matter what logic or experts say, a movement with enough passion fuelling it is very powerful. If the government reflects the values of citizens to the country’s own detriment, who will the fingers be pointing at when everything falls down? The government.

Furthermore, if the majority of society is rejecting the opinions and wellbeing of the few, a government following general public sentiment would be ignoring a minority group also under it rule. Reflecting common values does not mean providing fairness.

Taking that into account, it could be said that a country would function better if its government imposed values on citizens. Really, the government does have more experience leading a nation. Members of office study economics and policy, and have access to experts that can provide politicians with an in-depth analysis of an issue. Plus, change happens a lot faster when it’s forced.

Not surprisingly, there are some obvious flaws with imposing the values of the government on the people. Such issues are improper representation of people’s beliefs, infringement on people’s rights, and other minor problems like that. When values are imposed, minor and major voices are often ignored.

While the appropriate training and experience is necessary to properly conduct a job, the government can suffer from a one-sided POV that comes with most representatives have a similar educational background. Not necessarily a problem, but a thought to consider.

If you notice, the Pro-Con list effectively neutralizes itself on both sides. So it’s up to us, and to you, to form an opinion on the question posed.

In a democratic government, “the supreme power is vested in the people” (Dictionary.com) and exercised directly or indirectly, in the form of elected officials. While this form of leadership that is intended to reflect, not impose the values of society, does have its flaws, it builds itself upon the righteous view that government is intended to organize a large population, not dictate its every move.

The government still has the right to impose in some some situations, where citizens are causing harm to themselves, in order to maintain a relatively peaceful and safe society. Take environmental regulations, for example. Regardless of whether or not public or private sentiment is majority for heightened restrictions on the release of the greenhouse gases or greater standards for chemical disposal, such regulations should still be put in place. Leading science, as well as common sense in the case of pollution, shows us that if we don’t do something now, the problem will come back and bite us later. Just because the average citizen doesn’t recognize this, does not mean positive change should halt.

Or shall we discuss the controversial, at least in America, discussion on gun restriction. The debate is highly polarized, providing no clear majority. Nonetheless, with off-the-charts gun deaths, including mass shootings, plaguing the USA, the argument for increased restrictions to protect the lives of the common person is hard to combat.

When do you think our government should step in?

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