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GRE Issue 50: Government Officials Should Rely On Their Own Judgment - With A Free Essay Review
PROMPT: “Government officials should rely on their own judgment rather than unquestioningly carry out the will of the people they serve. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.”
The statement claims that government officials should rely on their own judgment rather than unquestioningly carry out the will of the people they serve. In some cases, government officials should act of their own accord when it comes to affairs with respect to war, national affairs or macroeconomic control policies. On the other hand, if government only rely on their own judgment without listening to the will of people, this government is likely to become corrupt and autocratic, undermining their people’s interests as a whole.
In some cases, a government dealing with affairs by themselves without considering people’s may have some negative consequences. On the one hand, the government is liable to be corrupt and serve only its own interests. On the other hand, only relying on their own judgment, the government is likely to do wrong things, damaging people’s interests. For example, government, which makes decision about construction of plants nearby the community, would exacerbate the quality of lives of local residents. Owing to the toxic fumes and effluvia the plants release, the inhabitants in this area may be vulnerable to serious diseases. Therefore, government officials, though they want to build factories to stimulate the economy, are likely to make wrong decisions by their own judgment without taking quality of lives of residents into account. On the contrary, government which listens to its people would avoid making such wrong decisions. So, when handling some affairs, government need to consider the will of its people.
In addition, government that always determines something on its own is more likely to be corrupt largely because government officials have too much freedom to do what they like without enough restrictions. The Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution is an excellent example of this point. At that time, officials always made decisions by themselves. As a result, the policies they made satisfied their own needs rather than its people. Worse still, they utilized their power to exploit people’s private property by making some autocratic policies. Therefore, governments that make decisions only by themselves are likely to corrupt.
However, under different cases, government officials should rely on their own judgment since it is infeasible and unrealistic for government to listen people’s opinions about some affairs. For instance, when it comes to war, government officials have to make decisions by their own judgment. Sometimes these decisions should be made as soon as possible for any delay means opportunities are irredeemably lost. Carrying out the will of the people on these affairs is not only a waste of time, but also leads to no desirable outcomes because most people do not have specific knowledge. Hence, tackling some affairs, it is much better for government to use its judgment to make decisions.
In conclusion, while in some cases government officials should make decision by themselves, they should consider the views of people in other cases. Nevertheless, considering the views of people does not mean unquestioningly carrying out their will. In other words, governments’ decision should be based on both their judgment and people’s opinions.
The first argument is poor. You need to explain why you think a government that relies on its own judgment would be likely do wrong things. You don’t offer any reasons in support of the argument and since the example is an invented one, it provides no evidentiary support for the claim. One could, for instance, just as easily have constructed an example supporting the opposite point: “For example, a government that relies on its own judgment may prevent an environmentally dangerous plant being built in a community, despite the community wanting the jobs such a plant would bring.”
The second argument is a little better, but your reason for arguing that a government that relies on its own judgment is likely to be corrupt is in need of elaboration. You say government officials have too much freedom to do what they like, but you don’t explain why that is likely to lead to corruption. In this case, if you think the statement is true, but the explanation is unknown (or if you don’t like the idea of trying to justify such a commonplace idea by making assumptions about human nature, or the nature of humans who seek political power), then you could justify your claim with reference to historical examples. But one example is not enough, if you want to make an argument about what is always likely to happen when a government ignores the will of the people. You need something like: “History demonstrates repeatedly that those governments that rely exclusively on their own judgments, and are not responsive to the will of the people, are inclined to become corrupt over time.” That’s a sentence that provides a link between the example and the claim it supports. The example itself can just be a list of authoritarian regimes.
It should be obvious why the last argument is the best of the three.
You should use the “on the one hand... on the other hand...” construction to juxtapose opposed ideas. On the one hand, cats are cute; they make for an aesthetically pleasing pet. On the other hand, they are evil.
Use “exacerbate” as a synonym for “worsen.” The thing being worsened must be already bad. You can exacerbate a problem, but not something neutral in itself, such as “the quality of life.”