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Is the main aim of a government to do what is best for the people?

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    Is the main aim of a government to do what is best for the people? Or to do what it is the population want, even if it's self destructive?

    I'm not really sure what to think of this question.

    The problem with governments doing what is best for the people is that people judgement is different - and what makes one mans judgement greater than another?

    If we say it's the judgement of the majority of people then this is doing what the population wants.

    So does this mean that if a population want to say, allow it's population to carry guns without a license, should the government allow it? Or if 60 percent of the population belong to one ethnic denomination and want to kick the other 40 percent out is that just?

    Dunno if this is politics, philosophy or foolishness - but yeah!
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    In theory, their job is to improve the welfare of the country's population. But in reality they just screw us over my taking large chunks of our income and spending it on wars in the middle east.
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    Government is representative so to think of its mission as to appease majority decision is short-sighted, there's a significant difference between the wishes of the majority and the wishes of the population. Government has to try and balance representation of all people. Sometimes this does mean going with majority politics, like redistributing power from an elite adversely affecting the quality of life of the majority, but if it's beyond reason and amounts to poor representation like the majority demonising that minority beyond what's fair, government has a responsibility of representation for that minority

    TL;DR: both
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    [QUOTE=Harolinho;37550263]Is the main aim of a government to do what is best for the people?

    Pretty much. Although reality often suggests otherwise.
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    (Original post by Harolinho)
    Is the main aim of a government to do what is best for the people? Or to do what it is the population want, even if it's self destructive?

    I'm not really sure what to think of this question.

    The problem with governments doing what is best for the people is that people judgement is different - and what makes one mans judgement greater than another?

    If we say it's the judgement of the majority of people then this is doing what the population wants.

    So does this mean that if a population want to say, allow it's population to carry guns without a license, should the government allow it? Or if 60 percent of the population belong to one ethnic denomination and want to kick the other 40 percent out is that just?

    Dunno if this is politics, philosophy or foolishness - but yeah!
    No, do we have referendum's on everything? Do we have direct/Swiss style democracy.

    The government is for itself, to prevent circustances that would mean it is overthrown, and an arm of private interests.
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    The aim of government is to secure the welfare and livelihood of a small section of society by getting the proletariat to do their bidding. This is how it has been for the last 10,000 years or more. Sure enough, there have been compromises, democracy being one of them, human rights, minimum wage, and the reduction of working hours from 12 hours a day to 8 hours or less being three others.
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    In my opinion its to protect the liberty and freedoms of the people. This is just my view and not a view held by many or by the current government.
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    Do you mean what it really is or what it ideally should be?
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    In a democracy, yes.

    But 1) As people have pointed out, governments exist to serve themselves/the economic and social elite just as much as anything else.

    and 2) It's not a very good idea to talk about 'the people' as one big homogenous mass.
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    My inner cynic says the job is to stay in power. In theory, the government should follow it's manifesto, which the people elected them for. This means each government will do a different thing - Some will support business, some will support local infrastructure.
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    There's 2 theories about how representatives should act;

    The Burkean model says that representatives should act on their own concience, even if they go against the views of those who elected them, as the electorate doesn't have the expertise of our representatives.

    The delegate model states that representatives are there to speak on behalf of those who elected them. They're not supposed to use their concience, but just follow the views of the electorate.

    In practice the government has to mediate between the two. They have to follow the views of the electorate otherwise they'll get voted out, but they also have to use their discretion as the electorate don't have the expertise they do, and what the majority is calling for isn't always benificial to minorities etc. What the government do is supposed to be in the interests of everyone - including minorites
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    In a representative democracy such as our own, government does what it thinks is best for the citizens of said nation.

    The problem here is that people are unable to agree on what is best, both governments in the UK generally believe that their aim should be to improve the welfare of the citizens however they have differing ways of achieving this as Labour believe that by having a massive safety net they can prevent mass poverty while the Tories believe that a prosperous economy allows all to succeed.

    You can then extend this view to the international stage as justification for intervention in other nations (rightfully so in my opinion).
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    The primary role of government is as the watchman, the umpire and the enforcer of society.
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    The duty of government is to protect the people.
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    Their main aim is to get re-elected.
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    The principle role of government is to impartially uphold liberty so individuals can pursue their own ends without being unduly restricted by others.

    Needless to say they fail in this task, dismally.

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