I’m writing a series of books called The big fat NO debates for a young audience (aged 10 – 12). Here is an extract from a debate about what makes a good government [without included art brief details]:
Eskify lists 10 great rulers (who governed) in ancient times. If you’re interested go to my WordPress post on GOOD GOVERNMENT and check it out. Ask yourself what all these great rulers/governments had in common. What they provided was:
- Stable government. People felt safe and secure. THAT’s important, because:
- People prospered, being safe and secure means they had enough food and so on.
- The government established rules and laws
The funny thing about almost all these great rulers of the past is that they had to fight wars. Sometimes they fought to conquer somewhere and sometimes to put down enemies of their state. The same thing is true of more recent ‘great rulers’ like:
- Umar ibn al-Khatab
- Genghis Khan
- Catherine the Great
- Elizabeth the first of England
- Akbar – The Great
- Napoleon Bonaparte
If you want to know who these people are, look at this site. Again, look at the WordPress blog if you want to check out the ‘facts’ about them.
What’s it all mean?
I guess we have to admit (oh debaters) that you can’t guarantee a good government just by having a good leader. Or even two. (In general, though, you can guarantee bad government if you have a bad leader.)
If you remember (or have read – if not, go out and buy it immediately; that’s me being a bad governor) Book 1, you might remember this:
All… people want pretty much the same things as you and me.
• To feel safe
• A bit (or more) of fun
• Somewhere comfy to sleep
• Food and water
It’s not fair but a lot of people do NOT get these things…
Good government is about helping people achieve these things. The fancy debating term is ACCESS. Everybody should have access to education and shelter and health services and good food and healthy water and so on and so forth (phew). It’s government’s job to govern for this outcome (more fancy debating language).
Good governments have rules about how they govern. This is called a constitution. Many constitutions say that people have rights and freedoms and should be free and not go hungry, et cetera.
Good governments often provide things for people to help them live better lives, like education, health services, affordable houses, roads and public transport, stuff called infrastructure (which includes those roads and also electricity and such). The government does not charge a lot for people to have these things. Sometimes (and for some people) these services are free.
Good governments do not punish people for being poor. And it doesn’t blame them.
How does the government pay for these things?
Yep, good governments tax people to pay for services that help ALL the people have better lives. It’s that simple really.
If you live in a society where some people earn more money than others (and that is almost every society) the government should make people who earn more money pay more tax. They’ll still be well off, but so will everyone else be a little better off. Everyone will be happier.
 Eskify lists these 10 great rulers: http://eskify.com/10-most-amazing-ancient-rulers-from-history/