To What Extent Should Governments Influence Public Opinion?

1549 words - 6 pages

It is impossible for any nation to have their governments not influencing public opinions. Since the very start of the media through the telegraph, governments have been molding and shaping citizen thoughts either for personal gain or what they think is best for the state. Some individuals believe that manipulation of public opinion is a governments right, while other believe that the influence should be abolished. A government has responsibility, and with responsibility comes accountability. Nearly every major world leader has used some sort of propaganda in their stead in office; let it be fascist Mussolini, Nazi Hitler, or even democratic George W. Bush. Governments have the power to help or heed their nation as they please, and make decisions based on their personal values and ideologies. The Jewish holocaust, arguably humanities worst moment, is a prime example of an excess of public influence. No one was allowed to raise his or her opinion, and only the voice of the government is heard. Genocide would most certainly have been committed against the Jews, had the world not stepped in. Hitler's rise to power was through constant propaganda and German people thought they must support him in order to nationalistic. Some individuals may argue that under Hitler's rule, the people were living better lives. They had education, medical coverage, and ideal-working conditions that brought Germany success and happiness it has never before experienced. Prior to Hitler's dictatorship, the German government constantly made atrocious decisions that further hindered any possible advancement to their economy. Stalin is another example of extreme propaganda to become a dictator. The Russian people believed that they had no choice and were constantly in a state of fear and panic. Even in democracies like the U.S.A, president George Bush manages to convince citizens the good of international concerns like the greenhouse effect and war in Iraq, which otherwise they would oppose. The true question still remains, to what extent should governments attempt to influence public opinion. Governments should be able to inform the public, give advice, but never physically force anyone to do what they do not wish to. When force becomes a factor of any political system, freedom itself is torn from its roots and cast into the abyss of uncertainty.Dictatorship is based on the belief that people need the guidance of the elite. Germany was in shambles after the First World War. The treaty of Versailles took away their land, economy, and pride. Everything was in shambles politically, as the nation had no money and massive debts. When Hitler created the national socialist party, citizens voted for the Nazis so a system of social production, distribution, and ownership in the community would exist. They genuinely believed that life would steadily get better, and in some ways it did. Eventually president Von Hindenberg presented Adolph with the opportunity of chancellor of Germany,...

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