My Political Philosophy on Nation and Government (Part 2)

Posted: December 19, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Opinion Articles, South Sudanese Diaspora

By Simon Deng Kuol Deng, New York, USA

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December 19, 2016 (SSB) —- In the first political philosophy part one, I have emphasized that my political philosophy is rooted on high degrees of believing that God has created humans with the rights and responsibility to recognize the necessity of having kind of nation state and government as the repository of the power aimed at protecting their common interests (P.1). Humans used to distinguish the functions of the nation state and government as the functions of public affairs, which means that, they recognize themselves as the possessors of the nation state and government (Deng, 2016).

Furthermore, humans recognize the offices of the nation state and government as the public offices in which they have rights to delegate individuals who may be interested in doing the public works for consent fixed periods of time for the purposes of providing humans’ legal needs such as law and order, security needs such as national defense, economy needs such as trade and employment, and social needs such as health care and education (P.1).

Although, they used to consider or regard the functions of individuals outside the nation state and government as the private affairs (Deng, 2016). The government offices have designed to remain the public trust for the reason that people entrust the public offices of the state nation and government to the individuals who are capable of responding to the people’s general needs (Deng, 2016). Thus, the nation state and government consider by people as the repository of power, which they delegate to the public officials for the purposes of protecting the common or public interests (Deng, 2016).

People expect public officials to serve the public interest with fairness and also manage public resources properly on a daily basis (Deng, 2016). For the reason, that fair and reliable of public services inspire public trust to the public officials and the nation state and government.

Therefore, I intend to emphasize again in my political philosophy part two by arguing that in order to build trust in a nation state and government, elected and non-elected public officials ought to strengthen the systems of democracy and promote good governance where transparency and accountability have deep-rooted; so, that citizens can hold the public officials accountable if they failed to deliver the services and goods to them.

Likewise, in order for the elected and non-elected public officials to promote human development and strengthen the systems that may safeguard the freedom and dignity of all people, the principles of democracy must be widened and deepened in any institution within the nation state and government.

The democratic peace theory recognizes nation state as liberal democracy when it has applied the principles of democracy, such as citizen participation in decision making, system of representation, rule of law, electoral system of majority rule and minority right, equality among the citizens, liberty or freedom granted to or retained by citizens, separation of state and religious, institutional system that ensures checks and balances, free press , education, etc. into the systems of its institutions.

In the democracy system of governance, it is the citizens who are more likely to be powerful over the elected and non-elected public officials, which remains one of the reasons why they have rights and responsibilities to hold the public officials accountable if they failed to deliver public goods and services.

Around the nation states and governments, people have acknowledged that in order for any nation state and government to be considered as a democracy, the principles of democracy or the bill of rights must exist in its constitution and the systems of all institutions.

Democratic nation states are not exactly identical, nevertheless, people from these nation states are more likely to incorporate the principles of democracy into their constitutions and institutions because for the benefit purposes that are typically associated with principles of democracy such as a good governance.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in its 1997 policy paper has defined governance as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels (United Nation Economic and Social Council, 2006).

Whereas, good governance comprises the mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences (United Nation Economic and Social Council, 2006).

The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment; equally, it requires that institutions can try to serve all citizens and stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe (United Nation Economic and Social Council, 2006).

Furthermost importantly, good governance might be recognized if the citizens’ participation, transparency, accountability, and the rule of laws are deepened in the systems of a nation state and government. Equally, in order for the nation state to promote the good governance, it needs a policy for making sure that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus, where the voices of all citizens are heard in decision- making over the allocation of development resources.

So, to improve the citizens’ well-being, elected and non-elected public officials ought to acquire foremost the skills and knowledge to be able to establish the strategic plans, implement the plans with full participation of citizens and also recognize the need for change. For the reason, that both, elected and non-elected public officials may be able to commit themselves to ensure that every citizen might have complete confidence in the integrity of the nation state and government.

Elected and non-elected public officials have the obligations to acquire the skills and knowledge to work effectively with citizens from all backgrounds by treating them equally with dignity and respect, embracing diverse of points of view, and demonstrating this respect consistently into their daily work and decision-making. Likewise, elected and non-elected public officials have the obligations to be respectful of the nation state’s values, which have strengthened its citizens to work together to consent or delegate the authority to them for the purposes of providing public goods and services to the public and citizens.

That commitment might keep elected and non-elected public officials united as a team to complete the achievement of the nation state and government’s goals, which are known as the provisions of the public goods and services to every human. Equally, elected and non-elected public officials have the obligations to act with honesty, integrity, respectfully, and comply with laws, rules, and regulations of the nation state and government as well as citizens in whom they provide goods and services as they have promised during the election or appointment day. Otherwise, they might be held accountable by citizens for the failure to fulfill their obligations.

Traditionally, elected public officials pay a critical, although often undeveloped role in representing citizens in the important task of determining the purpose and direction of their government and assuring that it is heading in the right direction (Svara, 1999). On the other hand, non-elected public officials generally complement politicians, drawing on professional values and expertise and their own distinct responsibility to serving citizens and to advancing the public interest (Svara, 1999).

Both sets of officials need to examine how they interact with citizens, as well as with each other, to strengthen the contribution of citizens to governance. If we are to understand how citizens and officials interact in nation-state governance, we must have a sound understanding of the roles of both elected officials and non-elected officials and how they relate to each other (Svara, 1999).

We believe that the governmental institutions of this nation state’s structure governance activities and officials are major actors in the process, it is important to understand how institutions viewed broadly affect governance. The common starting point in discussions of internal and external relationships is some approximation of overhead democracy. Traditionally, politicians confine themselves to making policy and administrators to the implementation of policy and delivery of services (Svara, 1999).

While, feedback is introduced as the impact of policies and satisfaction with services affects citizens’ demands in the next cycle of interaction with their elected representatives, which it means that the relationships are characterized by dichotomy.

Furthermore, the complementarity model suggests that the relationship of elected officials and non-elected officials is characterized by extensive interaction, reciprocal influence, and interdependence along with political supremacy and distinct, but not strictly separated roles and values (Svara, 1999). The external relationship is and should be characterized by extensive and multifaceted interaction between officials and citizens. Non-elected public officials have their own direct relationship with citizens as well as receiving input mediated through elected officials (Svara, 1999).

This direct relationship between non-elected officials and citizens has traditionally been supported although the range of interactions was presumably narrow in early decades. The relationship of non-elected officials to citizens interacts with the relationship of other non-elected officials to elected officials, both are shaped by institutional structure (Svara, 1999). So, the prospects for citizen governance or even representative democracy are bleak under either the dichotomy or separate spheres model.

Citizens have direct ties only to elected officials with no provision for administrator-citizen relationships other than the interaction that occurs in providing and receiving services (Svara, 1999). The elected officials are either weak since they have limited capacity to affect the behavior of insulated non-elected officials or they are inconsequential if they do not even have much impact on policy.

My political philosophy is that we need a more complex and richly textured starting point to understand the roles of both elected officials and non-elected officials. In recent years, however, there has been a call for decision makers to use citizen surveys and citizen focus groups because this effort is part of performance measurement systems in value-accountability vs. efficiency, focus service impacts (Wang & Gianakis, 1999), and results vs. internal management procedures and activities, performance measure criteria-goal achievement vs. measurement validity and reliability, key decision makers-non-elected officials vs. various stakeholders, and uses of performance measures in decision making-budgeting vs. management (Wang & Gianakis, 1999).

First, the purpose of the performance measurement is accountability- that is, through standardized measures and indicators, in which citizens and their representatives attain a better understanding of where public resources go and how effectively these resources are used. Internal non-elected public official efficiency is secondary to the ultimate goal of meeting public demands for services (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). Whereas, individual measures are designed to evaluate the achievement of public support service goals instead of internal service workloads, activities, and processes.

A measure’s ability to address organizational goal achievement is emphasized, while the values of measurement validity and reliability, which are the core in the traditional performance measurement systems are reconsidered (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). In this regard, my political philosophy is concurred with subjective measures, which are often associated with goal achievement, they play a significant role in the performance measurement system.

Second, the dominant role of non-elected public officials in the design and implementation of performance measurement gives way to a decision-making model that involves a variety of governmental stakeholders (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). Non-elected Public officials have been the key decision makers in traditional performance measurement systems that target management operations and policy implementation.

Objective measures are often used because they empirically record directors or managers’ main responsibilities in these activities are to transform the resources into services or products (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). Moreover, the new performance measurement, which is more likely appropriated to me because it concurs with my political philosophy asks for active participation of citizens and their representatives, which ultimately demands the use of subjective measures.

Third, governments use performance measures for management and budgeting purposes because performance measures help non-elected directors monitor operations and improve communication among non-elected directors, elected public officials, and citizens (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). Performance measures also help non-elected officials specify management objectives, identify operational problems in management, and present alternative solutions to solve service delivery problems.

As a budgeting tool, a measure helps an agency outline its service objectives, identify funding alternatives, establish funding priorities, and service funding levels (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). Nevertheless, the new performance measurement, which is most appropriate to me because it concurs with my political philosophy, advocates performance budgeting in which governments are held financially accountable and responsible for their performances.

Fourth, in the new performance measurement system, a government’s organizational and socioeconomic situations are also considered, and the design and implementation of performance measures should reflect differences in organizational and socioeconomic variables (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). For instance, in a populous and culturally diversified area, public officials may feel that it is difficult to satisfy different groups of residents simultaneously, and therefore, they may prefer objective to subjective measures.

Public officials in wealthy communities may be more likely to prefer subjective measures because they may perceive a stronger taxpayer demand for quality service (Wang & Gianakis, 1999). While, objective measures such as criminal arrests and investigations may be perceived as critical in a high-crime area. Objective measures are more suitable for resource control purposes because, unlike subjective measures of individual perceptions, objective measures are directly related to the processes of production and service delivery (Wang & Gianakis, 1999).

Consequently, public officials in a centralized management system may prefer objective measures to subjective citizen evaluations.

Inclusion and Discussion. My political philosophy has also been re-enforced by the roles of political parties’ programs and policy areas in the affairs of the nation-state and government as well as in the private sectors. For example, the modern liberalism’s social programs and policy in the public affairs which have related to the economic, social, political, or referred to the guidelines and interventions for the creation of living conditions that are conducive to human welfare (Vargas, et al., 2011) through providing education, health, housing, employment and food for all people.

For liberalism, social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both become the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity (Cutierrez, 2005). Modern liberals desire to construct a state which respects individuals’ need for an extensive private sphere in which to select their own goals but which also provides those individuals with the resources that enable them to pursue the goals if they so desire (P.220).

Social policy of modern liberalism impact on society has been subjected to the debate, even though, the evidence continues to mount that a better formulation and implementation of an adequate social policy has a positive impact on social development (Vargas, et al., 2011). As we see these All aspects of the social, economic, and physical environment, it is likely that we will become more aware of the need for the sophisticated plan that has linked public policies to deal more effectively with these interactions of social programs to the budget.

That why the modern liberalism economy is a mixed economy, which it means that market economies might be regulated for the purpose of maximizing state welfare and public services and goods.

Rawls has explained in his second principle that social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices upon to all (Rawls, 1999). The distribution of wealth and income and the hierarchies of authority must be consistent with both the liberties of equal citizenship and equality of opportunity.

Rawls’s general conception of justice states that all social values liberty and opportunity, income, and wealth, and the bases of self-respect are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any, or all, of these values, is to everyone’s advantage (Rawls, 1999). As respecters of persons, individualists and egalitarians share support for some types of individual rights; indeed, both individualists and egalitarians contributed to the early stages of the civil rights movement of the 1960s (Lockhart, 1994).

Each political party’s economic development is always rested on the economic theory that has adopted by its political leadership for the improvement of the economic well-being and quality of life for every individual within a country. Thus, Modern liberalism or Democratic Party’s social economy policy is rested on distributing economic justice through building renewable energy; innovating community, manufacturing, and automobile industry; standing up for the workers; helping small businesses; supporting opened markets for products and supporting insourcing.

Therefore, the Democratic Party, which remains basically associated with the concepts or ideology of modern liberalism justice, which aimed at strengthening the American community, protecting rights and freedoms, and ensuring safety and equality of Life through providing social programs to the disable individuals, low-income individuals, and senior individuals is absolutely shaped my political philosophy.

About Author: Mr. Simon Deng Kuol Deng is SPLM Former Secretary General in New York-USA. Mr. Deng is currently a graduate student for the Master’s Degree of Political Science, SNHU, U.S.A. He holds Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He can be reached by smndeng@yahoo.com or simondeng.deng@snhu.edu

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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