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Some People Believe That In Order To Be Effective, Political Leaders Must Yield To Public Opinion - With A Free Essay Review

“Some people believe that in order to be effective, political leaders must yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise. Others believe that the most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives. Write a response in which you discuss which view more closely aligns with your own position and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should address both of the views presented.”

The issue of whether political leaders should yield to public opinion or remain rigid to their principles is a controversial one. In my opinion, effective leaders firmly adhere to particular principles and objectives. However, they are flexible enough to consider public opinion as well in making a decision.

Some actions have harsh consequences, but are necessary to take. The political leaders have to adhere to their principles and objectives, despite public opinion which may not favour the harsh but necessary measures. For example, Greece has been suffering from a severe economic crises; a way to counter the crisis is to implement austerity measures. These are not favoured by the public but an effective leader who wants to alleviate the economic situation of Greece has to adhere to particular principles and objectives despite opposition to the austerity measures by the public. Moreover, some principles and objectives have to be adhered to by political leaders. For example ,the Iraq war now is deeply unpopular among the American public, but that does not mean that a strong American leader should withdraw troops from Iraq, leaving it in a destabilised situation.

An opposite viewpoint is that political leaders should submit to the opinion of the public, but in my view weren’t the political leaders elected because their principles were appreciated? The political leaders should base their actions on the principles they believe in but also look to see the public opinion on the implied solution. The ultimate decision should be made by the elected political leader, submitting to political opinion only if it is in the benefit of the country.

To conclude, an effective leader is one who is committed to particular principles, but also considers the opinions of the public, and the reasons that shape the opinions of the public. If public opinion is incongruous with the leader’s principles, it should be seen whether the effects of deterring from their principles have a positive effect.


Essay Review

Firmly adhering to principles entails being inflexible with respect to those principles so it is difficult to see how your statement of your opinion is not self-contradictory; it seems to require that leaders be inflexible and flexible at the same time. This problem recurs in the final paragraphs, where you seem to be trying too hard to have it both ways. It is fine to want to establish a middle ground between the two claims staked out in the prompt, and a reasonable way of doing that would be to say that there are circumstances in which being inflexible is important, and circumstances in which being flexible is important, or at least acceptable. In that case, you would need to specify the characteristic features of each set of circumstances.

If you want to make that middle-ground argument, it needs to be consistently made throughout. Your second paragraph is written, apparently, from the perspective of one who only favored the rigidly principled approach to decision making. It therefore does not seem consistent with your first articulation of your opinion. This (second) paragraph also relies more heavily on examples than on argued reasons. The opposite should ideally be the case.

In your third paragraph, you address the second claim from the prompt, but your discussion of this claim is very brief, and your defense of your opinion of it appears only in the form of a rhetorical argument ("weren't the political leaders elected etc., ...?") and an assertion (the paragraph's last sentence). Again, it would be better to articulate clearly and directly your specific reasons for holding the opinion you hold. The final sentence of the paragraph, in any case, does not sufficiently clarify the circumstances in which you would change your mind about what a leader ought to do, and also seems a little to skirt the issue (insofar as one would assume that the issue concerns centrally the question of whether a leader should follow those principles which she thinks are of benefit to the country or whether listening to the public ought itself be a principle of good leadership).

best, EJ.
Submitted by: 13100021

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