2 Bi Weekly Feedback 5th Question 2nd Period

Has the concentration of power in the hands of a centralized government been a good thing for Western society?

Centralized government has been a wildly progressive step in the development of democratic governance over both large and small nations. Those countries that can rise above factionalism are the ones that can accomplish huge feats of strength because their governments aren’t bogged down in the legislation process by partisanship. A large part of the reason why the Articles of Confederation didn’t work for the United States was that they couldn’t agree on anything in the legislative body and had integration issues with interstate commerce. Both these problems illustrate the simple yet universal principle that a nation divided falls while united it stands, thus making centralization a crucial step in the progression of a successful and stable government. -Richmundo

In response to what Richmond said, I agree that centralized government has aided society in progression towards democratic governance. However, part of what creates this form of freedom is by having this bipartisan aspect to it. Without disagreement and having the ability to express disagreements through separate parties that stand for separate ideas, a dictatorship of the elite would subsist over their subordinates. Government works for the people and by the people, and it is unrealistic to believe that a society can unanimously agree with every piece of legislation. This being said, power in the hands of a bipartisan government is good for its people and its society’s advancement, but a government that pretends to have the support of all its people is not progressing towards anything positive.-Sarah sHea

Western society has benefitted greatly from the concept of centralized government power because it allows for initiatives to be taken on a national scale using a process less bureaucratic than, for example, the system seen during the Articles of Confederation in the U.S., in which little was accomplished because of the extremely limited power of the centralized Confederation Congress. Although the U.S. still has a complicated process for passing legislature in congress, it affects each and every American, similarly to Parliament and the English, and all centralized government in Europe. I disagree with Sarah’s point that the government must have the support of the people to advance, there are many cases of government who rule through fear, such as Russia under Stalin and China under Mao, and they have always competed with the traditionally democratic powers of the world. Powerful, centralized government has been as beneficial as the enclosure movement has been detrimental to the workings of modern day society, the land restriction movement that led to resentment of the gentry by the peasantry in 16th century England, violent rioting, and today Marxist radicalism amongst the proletariat in regions where landowners mercilessly extort the landless poor for their own personal benefit. (Jordan)

The concentration of power in the hands of a central government has been an incredibly successful step for western civilization and in fact has led to the development of more efficient, effective, and comprehensive institutions of state that provide benefits to the citizens. The rule of law across a large territory closely united by both physical and cultural infrastructure has throughout history been associated with a prospering in peace and an economic boom. These positive effects can be witnessed in the results of the Pax Romana, which untied most of the Mediterranean World and beyond. During this period of strong central government and cultural cohesion, violence within the empire was less frequent and a relative peace was enjoyed. Furthermore, the concentration of government in a central power allows the greater sharing of resources and the accomplishment of more difficult and ambitious projects. There is no way one U.S. State would've been able to land on the moon as quickly as the entire U.S. could working together. In addition, the lack of a strong central government has often been associated with violence, strife, economic stagnation, and other unfortunate conditions. If you don't believe me look at Somalia. That country is basically run by pirates and nobody knows what is going on. (Shreddasuarus)

Yes, I think that a strong, centralized government is essential to promoting structure and solidarity within a growing nation. Without a stable source of centralized power, a country can quickly fall into disunion and anarchy, where “nobody knows what’s going on” (Shredder). However, I agree with Sarah Shea in that healthy partisanship is essential to the success of any democracy. Debate is important to developing new ideas and stimulating growth. A government that forces its beliefs on its subjects will only cause more dissent and separation. Overall, I think that the ideal democratic government is organized and judicious so as to ensure national progress, but not so omnipotent that it disregards the desires of its people. (Mackenzie)

Yes, even though the ideal government would either be a absolute monarch who was purely just and fair or a huge commune where no ones selfish desires came forth to ruin the society. In a world where the first is impossible and people are to selfish to the core, centralized government forces people to cooperate. They no longer can just run around like headless chickens and just take whatever they want. Government is forced to be a rigorous and structured process. There isn't any question on who you answer to, or if you need to pay five taxes or no taxes. Western Society has taken a step back from that absolute monarch direction and has in parts combined the two by trying to make an "absolute democracy" where we elect representatives and give the group of them almost absolute power. (MDog)

I agree that centralization of power has been quite beneficial to Western society. If the United States can be used accurately as an example, it becomes clear that a decentralized state simply cannot work as efficiently as a centralized one. American history proves that although local autonomy is important, only with allegiance to a centralized governmental bureaucracy can a state move forward because decentralized states cannot take on grand initiatives on their own. We see this in the American colonies’ failure to unify against the common threat of Great Britain during the French-Indian War and even to some extent during the Revolutionary War. We see this again in the utter governmental failure of the Articles of Confederation during the critical period. Without a strong, centralized government during the first tenuous years of its existence, America nearly failed even before it had a chance to succeed. Only when America adopts a centralized government does the country begin to advance. New territories are conquered, railroad tracks are laid down, great turnpikes and dams constructed, a market economy developed, a complex network of interstate highways built, and a man landed on the moon (as Shredder pointed out) because centralization of power actually lessens conflict, thereby allowing goals to be achieved, which benefits all of society. This progress would have been severely retarded, if not precluded, by a decentralized government. (Chuma)

I believe that centralized governments have benefitted Western Society and contributed to the improvement of nations as a whole. Without a strong sense of leadership, passing legislation and solving issues nationally and internationally would be delayed drastically. Although the government should be looking towards the greater good of its citizens, the government should be the one in control and the citizens’ role should simply be electing officials who they deem are the ones who will represent their will best. With that in mind, the government should not abuse this power because that will most likely result in a counter-productive end. (Kavitha Eechambadi)

I think that centralization has had good and bad effects on Western society. As most everyone else has said, centralized power is necessary for the government to be able to make significant progress. If power is too widespread, the people in charge will have varying opinions, making it more and more difficult to come to agreements. This being said, centralized government increases the damaging effects of corruption or misguided theories. If a monarch is corrupt or not adept they are able to do much more damage to their country than if a duke is corrupt or an unskilled ruler. Concentration in the hands of a centralized government was a good thing for Western society because it allowed the government to be more effective, but what was even better was when they backed off a little from that and found the delicate balance between decentralized and centralized government. (Laura Gill)

The centralization of government power has been an absolute benefit to Western society, because it gives the governmental leaders of countries the ability to push legislation and enact policies to move countries forward. Without this concentration of power in the government, the leaders would have less power in making critical decisions. It is also important to note that this centralization has allowed the leaders of countries to decide where the money that flows in from taxation and other means goes. This control over where the country's monetary wealth has contributed to the widespread desire for exploration throughout the world that has contributed significantly to the influx of goods, people, and ideas throughout the Old World. (Richard Gillis)

The concentration of power in western society has absolutely been a beneficial aspect to the success of any government, but too much of a good thing is not always great. Having order and stability give a government and a society the clear foundation that is needed to ensure a powerful and successful nation. But when this strong centralized government turns to “tyrannical” it essentially reverses the intended reason for which there was strong influence in the first place. The government’s job is not to control every aspect of the citizen’s lives; rather it should be a guide and foundation for a society to grow. (Sarah Tomlin)