Politics and Government Essay Outlines

Good government is a dangerous government, because it deprives people of the need to look after themselves.” Do you agree?
Key words:
In Gandhi’s quotation, “good government” paradoxically “deprives people of the need to look after themselves”: This suggests a level of government involvement in the lives of citizens such that it approximates a welfare state (where the state assumes primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens) or a nanny state (government intervention in social issues).

“Deprives” suggests that people are denied or robbed of the right to take care of their own affairs.
Possible stands:
Yes, good government is dangerous government
No, good government is not dangerous government
STAND:Yes, good government is dangerous

Argument: Good government may lead the people to become over reliant on the state

Reason: Personal responsibility is a virtue, and a state that provides too much diminishes the capacity of individuals to develop this virtue.

Explanation: If welfare is too generous and easy to obtain, a welfare mentality or dependency culture would be fostered. There would be no incentive to work as irresponsible individuals would rather go on the dole.

Evaluation: In the UK the welfare state has produced a generation of dependents who, instead of working, rely solely upon the state for income and support; even though assistance is only legally available to those unable to work. The welfare state in the UK was created to provide certain people with a basic level of benefits in order to alleviate poverty, but that as a matter of opinion has been expanded to provide a larger number of people with more money than the country can ideally afford.
Other possible arguments

“Good government” operates on the assumption that the state has a duty to protect the citizenry from their own harmful behaviour, and that it knows best what constitutes harmful behaviour, leading to policies such as bans on smoking in public places, media censorship, anti-pornography laws, etc. However, this practice of supporting people also infringes on their individual freedom and controls them, and thus isn’t really an act of altruism.

The nanny state may be less safe because the government is more often wrong than right.

Government resources are expended on issues, which citizens are more than competent to handle and decide for themselves.


No, “good government” need not be dangerous if the level of assistance is appropriate

The government has a responsibility to help minimise social disparities through assistance programmes and level the playing field as much as possible e.g. by providing health subsidies, education bursaries, housing, outright grants, etc. If the poor are not sufficiently helped to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty, it may create more problems such as societal divisions, persistent high rate of crime, etc.

No, “good government” need not be dangerous There are some services that should be provided for by the government

There are areas in which it isn’t reasonable to expect the people to take care of on their own. Certain services are more efficiently provided by the government for the public e.g. infrastructure and transport system, water distribution, healthcare, and national defence.


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