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Summary Of John Stuart Mill's Considerations On Representative Government

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The Usage of John Stuart Mill’s Warnings to Elect a Despot

In “Considerations on Representative Government,” classical theorist John Stuart Mill explores a common misconception that if a good despot were ensured, “despotic monarchy would be the best form of government.” Here in the U.S., through the creation of a passive population with many frustrations but not the drive or ability to see them through, we see the encouragement of this misconception. During the 2016-17 Presidential election, we saw this misconception fulfilled by Donald Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States.

Over time, people in the US have become frustrated with their government. A report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this year downgraded the
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This passivity benefits politicians because as Mill states, “the passiveness of our neighbors increases our sense of security” and should legislators “not happen to need their [citizens] activity” they can “seem an obstruction”. This is why we see politicians encouraging deficits in participation with the discouragement of voting, the recent encouragement of branding sources as fake news and the general support of people’s narrow self-interest to stay in the private sphere. We can see this direct influence of legislators on voters through the creation of voting barriers on multiple levels of government. In 2013, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the core of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 allowing barriers to voting to continue. The previously blocked voter ID law in Texas moved forward as well as the federally unchecked manipulation of voting districts across the US in the form of gerrymandering. This encouragement of passivity has led to low voter turnouts on all levels of government and even made 2016 have the lowest voter turnout since 1996. This type of voter suppression created a feeling of apathy towards government because if you “let a person have nothing to do for his country, then he will not care for…show more content…
When people move out of the role of passive consumer and into the public sphere, then they have a role and develop concern for their government. Therefore, no need for a despot. The active participation in government is not only morally right, as Mill says, but also the only way that a healthy democracy can function. This matters because the goal in Mill’s benevolent, all seeing despot dystopia was “one man of superhuman mental activity managing the entire affairs of a mentally passive people.” This is terrifying in its own right but it’s worse in this reality. In this reality, that one man is may be missing the key element of “superhuman mental activity” and instead speaks at 7th grade level and does not know what the nuclear triad
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