The Surest Indicator Of A Great Nation Is Represented Not By The Achievements Of Its Rulers, Artists, Or Scientists, But By The General Welfare Of Its People.
The surest indicator of a great nation is represented not by the achievements of its rulers, artists, or scientists, but by the general welfare of its people.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
A great nation, in my opinion, refers to a community of people, living in a free society and at the same time enjoying high standard of welfare. According to this definition, I would like to argue that neither the achievements of elites, nor welfare of people constitutes the surest indicator of a great nation.
The achievements of elites could not be used as a yardstick for measuring greatness of a nation since in many cases those achievements was achieved at the price of deteriorating most people’s living conditions. In our history, there were many lords, kings or emperors, who built one after another magnificent palace to boast their greatness. However, such achievement sharply contrasted with the widespread poverties that most people of those eras suffered. Consider the king of ancient France, Louis 14th the Great, also called “le roi de soleil"- king of the Sun. Most talented artists and architects of that era surrounded him, built both flamboyant and grandiose chef d'oeuvre in the history of architecture –the Versailles. However, at the same period, a loaf of the most ordinary bread could cost many ordinary Frenchmen most of their daily income. Our history is replete with generals or military leaders led their troops, wiping one after another regional powers in order to ascend to military supremacy. However, behind their military achievements, there were countless broken families in which old parents lost their only son and young couples were separated by the death. All those achievements of elites could even not bring back basic prosperity and security to people. Certainly those achievements could not be used as an indicator for judging the greatness of a nation.
People who oppose to my viewpoint might argue that in many cases, people’s well-beings - in terms of convenience in daily lives, health, as well as security, were brought into fruition by way of elite’s achievements. Admittedly, works of our scientists and engineers brought us gadgets such as computers or tablets which bring a world of information at our fingertips. Medical researches, conducted by our specialists brought about all kinds of new medicines and treatments, which increased our life span. Works of artists, lift our spirits, incite our imagination and help us appreciate our humanity. Concerning to critics’ claim, I would like to argue that those achievements could be used to create a great nation. However they, in themselves, do not amount to greatness of a nation. Consider United States as an example. In United States, there are best hospitals in the world. But at the same time, many American citizens over a long span of history did not enjoy even basic medical insurance. In United States, there is Michael Phelps who could win 8 god medals in one Olympic game. But, nearly half of Americans are suffering from obesity. Artists could create some chef d’oeuvre. However, they could also be only presented in some private museums, where the public don’t have access to. Achievements of those scientists, artists or architects could be used to help create a great nation. But they, in themselves, cannot define grandeur of a nation.
A good welfare for its people is a necessary condition for a nation to be great. In a nation with high welfare, people could live with certain dignity. They don’t need to worry too much about the high educational fee which might deprive them of right of being educated. In the case of illness, they could go to hospital to receive a decent treatment rather than wait at home for death due to lack of financial means. Living in a nation with high welfare, people have the condition to pursue their interest. Since interest in many cases is the best teacher, they would have more chances to produce excellent works. Enhancing people’s welfare is an overriding imperative of any nation. Only by fulfilling this basic task, a nation could be eligible to the competition to be great.
However, why a nation cannot be great only by virtue of a good welfare system? In my opinion, in order to be great, a nation also needs to be a free nation. In a free nation, people could be allowed to execute their natural right-questioning the authority which helps to reduce corruptions and leads to an increasing well-being. In a free nation, people would tend to be open-mind toward different ideas and opinions, since social tolerance is the guarantee of achieving of freedom. In a free nation, every person is allowed to pursue their interests within the realm of laws, bringing diversity to a society. Consider certain oil-rich countries. Although there people could enjoy welfare from cradle to tomb, people are not allowed to question the government. Women are not free to drive. Even with a high level of well-being, those nations cannot be considered as great ones.
In short, neither achievements of elites nor welfare of the public is the surest indicator of greatness of a nation. If a nation wants to be great, it should not only ensure its people to have a high life quality, but also give freedom to people.