‘People, Not the Government, Should Decide How to Organize Their Lives.’ Is This a Fair Comment? Essay
Q5 ‘People, not the government, should decide how to organize their lives. ’ Is this a fair comment? “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. ”- Winston Churchill. Ever since the era of most monarchy systems had ended, people have taken steps towards democracy. Government springs up and took over the welfare and interest of its people. This allows a form of authoritative rule, which suppresses undesirable behaviors; which would otherwise result in anarchy.
Therefore it is justified and fair for the government to partake in organizing our lives. These can be in the form of controlling our financial status via the Central Provident Fund and ensuring our minimum level of education. However, there exists a limit as to how much government should help to organize our lives as well. In my opinion, it will not be justified and fair for the government to intervene in sensitive personal issues. These include abortion, euthanasia and religion. Most of the time, the government is elected by its people, except in cases such as Myanmar, Laos and North Korea.
The government which is elected by its people will have substantial power to ensure its country’s prosperity. Most people do not have sufficient knowledge of financial planning nor have the ability to find out. They tend to splurge on the whims of their materialism nature as a result. This phenomenon is especially true in today’s context, where easy credits are available easily. Therefore it is justified for the government to come into the picture. The government can and would implement legislation to allow prudent financial planning of its people.
In Singapore, the Central Provident Fund is a compulsory comprehensive social security savings plan, which aims to provide working Singaporeans, with a sense of security and confidence in their old age. Realizing this in 1955 was a great achievement as people in Singapore are equipped with foresight for their future. Therefore this ensures that they can live their later part of their lives in bliss. Hence it is justified and fair for government to organize our lives. Under the Millennium Development Goals, it hopes to achieve complete primary education schooling by 2015. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ’- Nelson Mandela. Indeed, much of today’s poverty is attributed to the lack of access to education. We often find that education and the success of a person are closely intertwined. In Singapore, students are often offered opportunities to pursue higher education. This is including the cap on a minimum level of schooling till primary six. This minimum level allows these students to be equipped with minimum level of literacy and understanding of the world, which helps them to be self reliant in the future.
In the sense, the Singapore government does not only help individuals to stay self reliant, it also allows Singapore to stay competitive with a small labour workforce. Therefore it is justified for the government to intervene to organize our lives, and help us stay buoy amidst the competitive society. However excessive intervention would result in a totalitarian state or even a communist one. We find that certain issues which are closely related to us should be taken care of by none other than, ourselves. Therefore this amount of freedom should be granted on certain areas.
The delivery of a life is often so precious and valued. No one in their sane mind would ever have any intention to harm it. However circumstances have changed it. Imagine a widowed woman, just delivered a healthy newborn girl, who is currently and simultaneously facing a severe lawsuit. She lacks the basic requirements to take care for herself, much less her new daughter. Indeed, this might be a nightmare scenario for most. At least for people who have not experienced such horror before. Most government have legalized abortion.
However, there are some who refuses to budge to the idea of freely conducting abortion, thinking that the mother is irrational and that it does not reflect well on its international reputation. In Ireland, it is illegal for anyone who has an abortion, unless it is on critical medical grounds. The government in Ireland has come down hard on helpless mother, who are forced to undergo abortion, to experience a second trauma. These mothers are usually given the harsh death penalty. Parents should have a say in their children as much as possible.
Even if this meant the terminating of their child, it will be for the best interest at heart. Therefore it is not fair for the government to justify their actions against abortion, in attempt to organize our lives. Instead, we the people, should be given the freedom to choose in our best interest. Euthanasia may seem as a cruel term for most of us. The termination of a life is abhorred by many, even today. However have we, as bystanders, ever really understood the pain of being critically ill? If we can, just for once, step into the world of these patients, it will be sufficient enough to understand their pain.
Human rights activists advocate for the equal treatment of all beings. They mentioned the exclusive rights that humans possessed, which all other animals in the world lack. Sadly, those rights do not include the right for one to end their life in peace. In Singapore, the ministry of home affairs, internal security department takes a strict stance against euthanasia. It is punishable by law for those who attempt it. The government, no doubt, has the interest of its citizens. However, in its futile attempt to organize our lives, they have neglected the people who are really forced by their circumstances.
In place, the Singapore government places hospices for terminating ill patients. In retrospect, does that really solve the problem at its roots, or does it palliate the situation? In my opinion, the government should not try to organize our lives by restricting the freedom to live, for it is unfair for the person who is offering his life. Lastly, ever since the beginning of government systems, we also find the diminishing of religious sects. These are not coincidental. Governments have in mind that people should adhere to a few common religions, in order to prevent anarchy.
In practice, the government intends to organize our lives, such that everyone can share a common faith. However, this clearly violates the intention of a religion. A religion should be open to people who chose to believe in it, and not because it is the ‘’only’’ one around. In the Us, churches often have conflicts with the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), conflicts like the presence of the Ten Commandments, crosses, or other religious symbols on land owned by the government or in government buildings. The Ground Zero of the US is one of such places.
The government who intends to build a Mosque near the location was bombarded with criticisms. The government hopes to pacify the wrath of other religion and hopes befriend the Muslims simultaneously. This is done with intention of preventing clashes between religions. But it is seen as a violation towards other religions. However, that did not work out as people realized that it is often incoherent with what the government has promised earlier, which is the freedom to choose for religion. Therefore, it is not justified for the government to decide upon the lives of the people when it concerns our religion.
In conclusion, people, not the government should be held responsible for controversial issues. It is the people who hold the power to live and choose. This power is exclusively beyond what the government should intervene, to organize our lives. Despite that, when we take a step back, we should be grateful for what the government has done for us in terms of our welfare in the society. As long as the government exists over a country, there will be bound to have grey areas of much contention. We can only continue to work upon these contentions to find the best compromise for all parties.