GRE Issue Essay 218

“People who are the most deeply committed to an idea or policy are the most critical of it.”

Good criticism requires thorough and deep knowledge of the subject. Most of the ideas and policies have a flip side to them, which invites criticism of the policy. People who are deeply committed to a cause or a policy are the ones who are aware of this flip side and therefore they not only become the advocates of the policy but also critics of this flip side. However, I also believe that this is not the case with all ideas and policies. There have been examples where an idea is supported fully by some people without being critical of it.

First let us discuss the writer’s stand that it is those committed to a cause who are most critical of it. As I have mentioned earlier, genuine criticism is possible only with thorough knowledge of the subject. When a person is committed to a cause, he becomes basic to its functioning and policies. This not only makes him understand the cause that he supports but also exposes the disadvantages and harms of the policy as well. For example, a doctor who administers drugs to his patients to save their lives and make them healthy also knows the ill effects of their misuse by a healthy person. The doctors become the first persons to criticize the use of certain drugs by healthy people. Similarly, nuclear explosions have helped countries to gain power and technology, however, these countries have also showed their concern towards the misuse of this power. These countries are strong critics of destructive use of the nuclear power.

However, I maintain that every policy does not have a harmful side to it. For example, the supports of humanitarian efforts only devote themselves to social service and humanitarian work. They would not find anything wrong with helping the poor or needy. As we can see, Gandhi was a supporter of nonviolence and Mother Teresa stood for the cause of the destitute. They supported their cause with their heart and soul, without being critical of it.

Even if there is a critical way of looking at an idea or policy, it need not be criticized by its supporters. Take for example a company building hotels and malls in otherwise scenic and serene surroundings. An engineer who is involved in construction of buildings need not be critical of the construction of these buildings. He only devotes his sincere efforts to his work without thinking about the result of constructing the multistory buildings and its implications. Another example of this is that of anti-social elements like terrorists and revolutionaries. These people are also fully committed to their ideas. Their efforts are solely derived towards attaining their goal. This may involve causing damage to property, harming people, or even taking lives. This surely brings out that they are not critical of their activities. It comes as a sharp contrast to the stand taken by the writer according to which people committed to a cause are most critical of it.

In the end I would like to sum up by saying that I agree only partially with the writer. Without refuting his views that the supporters of an idea are the ones most critical of it, I would like to add that this can’t be accepted as a general truth. While the writer can be true in many cases, there are exceptions where those who are committed to a cause only devote themselves to it completely, without being critical of it.