This model essay aims to provide some useful guidance for writing an insightful and impactful argumentative essay on an A-Level essay question. The essay is periodically interjected with Teacher’s Comments (TC) to allow a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the content.
Fully-Guided Model Essay
In ancient times, true democracy is one where the entire population has a say in all decisions in the country.[TC:Be specific. What kind of decisions? Note that democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or indirectly through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, religious, cultural, ethnic and racial equality, justice, and liberty.] Such a system has flaws such as the long time period that is required to collate all the votes and even so, the decision made might not entirely benefit the population, as not all voters have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the claims made by their representatives and arrive at a rational choice. This brings us to our current definition of democracy where voters elect a representative to represent their views and vote for decisions which benefit his supporters. The predominance of democracy has come a long way since the post cold war era, which was marked by the massive popularity of 2 major opposing ideologies, communism and democracy. However, in the past decades, a slew of eventful historical developments had eventually resulted in democracy emerging victorious. Although it may be too bold to assert that the ends justified the means, I do believe that democracy is often the best, given that certain modifications are undertaken. As with any other political systems, democracy is not without its flaws. The benefits of democracy could possibly be reversed by factors such as the limited knowledge of the population, selfish human nature and the huge power gap between the political representatives and the general public. Therefore, to reap the most advantages of democracy, such limitations would have to be adequately addressed with supplementary measures. [TC:Good stand]
Indeed, proponents of democracy argue that democracy is usually the best as it gives people the ultimate power to vote the government. In Singapore, every adult member of the populace, who is 21 years old and above, will get to vote a representative into government in a general election held once every 5 years. Democracy enables the fair representation of the interests of every adult, regardless of their socio-economic status. Through voting, everyone will get a chance to choose their political direction or inclination, and thus the political representatives and party that further their individual interests. Therefore, on a broader scale, the political party that claims the highest votes will head the government. In most countries where the ordinary working class constitutes the bulk of the populace, the elected political party may be deemed populistic. Thus, it could be opined that the majority of the decisions made may benefit most of the population and be generally deemed the best for a country. This perspective is in line with the principle of utilitarianism which advocates the proper evaluation of policies in light of their effect on the general well-being of the populations they involve.
However, decisions made by the population may not be the best even if it is a fair representation of the people. During elections, political parties are often caught up in winning votes that they often present misleading information or present alternative policies with inadequate research. [TC:Good reasoning] A country with such a warped political system would be India, which had seen 15 prime ministers head the country since its independence in 1954 with the shortest term limited to two hundred and thirty three days. Serving such a short term that is barely the length of a full year is extremely detrimental to the economy since most policies may not be seen through, leading to suboptimal results at best. Therefore, democracy in its raw form may not often be the best as it may cause political parties to lose sight of its actual aims and instead become a popular party through deception to win its way into government. As such, it often results in the inability of the government to fulfil its promises given at the rallies. [TC: Should mention the corrective policies/measures to mitigate the negative consequences]
Secondly, although the elected individuals are mandated to represent their supporters and decide on policies that will benefit the country, they are ultimately still humans and thus are equally vulnerable to the same human temptations. [TC: Good point] As such they may become corrupt and implement venal policies for their personal selfish gains. An example is the previous president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych. He allegedly misappropriated part of Ukraine’s savings to build his lavish mansion, which houses golden taps and a collection of motorcycles and cars worth millions of dollars. Up till now, he still insists that he funded his house with his savings, even though he merely earns fifteen thousand pounds annually. This notorious example has showcased the immense corruption that can possibly occur, where politicians entrenched in power may abuse the public trust and loyalty to their own favour. Thus, even if morally upright politicians are democratically elected, they may eventually succumb to financial temptations and often render democracy not the best political system. [TC: Should mention the corrective policies/measures to mitigate the negative consequences]
Finally, in many democratic countries today, many outcomes are premeditated by the political representatives while feedback and open discussions are often not sought from the people. Thus this has increasingly raised doubts on the level of “democracy” in a “democratic society”. For example, in Singapore, there is a piece of legislation that was recently enacted which is often said to be a violation of Singaporeans’ freedom of speech. This legislation is called the Online Licensing Framework, where this framework requires websites that report on Singapore news with a readership of at least 50,000 over a period of a month to pay for a license to continue operating. Furthermore, they have to obey any notices received from the government and take down any articles deemed as untruthful. This led to many Singaporeans, especially the anti-PAP (the incumbent ruling political party of Singapore) activists to express even greater dissatisfaction with the government. The distaste for this legislation stems from the fact that government is trying to limit the content Singaporeans get to read, thereby effectively diminishing the ability of Singaporeans to post their criticisms of the government. Therefore, democratic governments today, may run the risk of getting too much power which could lead to them unknowingly robbing the citizens of their rights. As such, democracy may not be generally the best. [TC: Should mention the corrective policies/measures to mitigate the negative consequences]
In conclusion, even though democracy allows the people to have greater say in how their country is run, there are several unintended byproducts of the democratic systems due to the insufficient knowledge of the population, the shortcomings of human nature and the ability of politicians to abuse their power. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that democracy is often not the best system. Yet with felicitous modifications to mitigate its inherent ills, it will be a better system.
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