GRE Issue Essay 92
“If a society is to thrive, it must put its own overall success before the well-being of its individual citizens.”
Why have there been numerous wars in our history? More often than not, the reason is the unequal status of two societies. The society which was developing faster was the one that attacked the society that was underdeveloped in a bid to annex its territory. Needless to say, the strong societies grew stronger and ultimately they were the ones which survived and the weaker societies gradually became extinct. Man’s history is testimony to the fact that societies have flourished and survived only when its people flourished. How do people flourish? They need to be happy and satisfied with their lives if they want to flourish. Whenever there has been a widespread revolt in a society, it has always been due to dissatisfaction prevalent among a particular section of the society. It is not possible for a society to move ahead on the path to progress in the modern world if it is plagued by internal problems. The solution to all problems plaguing a society lies in the well being of its citizens in addition to attaching an equal amount of importance to the overall success of the society.
Is it possible for any society to thrive if it imposes restrictions on its citizens forcing them to be dissatisfied with their environment? This dissatisfaction can lead to mass boycott of the rules and regulations of the society, thereby making it difficult for the society to thrive. There have been numerous examples of big countries which were split into smaller countries or states because there were sections within the society which were dissatisfied as they felt that they were a minority and they could not associate themselves with the society as a whole. Thus, a large society was divided into several small societies and this signaled the end of the erstwhile large society. The reason for this can be attributed to the fact that the interests of the citizens were probably not looked into and the society kept its overall interest in mind rather than catering for the well being of all its citizens.
On the contrary, there may be certain cases wherein the individual interests of the citizens have to be kept aside in the larger interest of the society. However, this cannot be taken as a thumb rule as this plan of action generally backfires and the leaders of the society have to go all out in order to pacify the individuals or groups who are dissatisfied. For example, it is a well known fact that smoking is injurious to health, but still there are a number of individuals in every society who are chain smokers. A society may have to take the decision to ban the sale of cigarettes in order to restrict the exposure of teenagers to smoking. There will be widespread opposition to this action of the society from the group of smokers; nevertheless this action will be beneficial in helping the society to thrive.
Therefore, the decision to ignore the interests of individual citizens in the interest of the society may be a harsh one, but it may ultimately lead to the progress of the society into the future. One cannot refute the fact that the success of a society is largely determined by the well being of its citizens. Hence, in order to succeed, a society should be willing to give due consideration to the interests of its citizens as well as be firm when it comes to choosing the overall success of the society over the interests of its citizens.