Insight on the Impeachment

Recently, there have been many debates during and leading up to President Trump’s impeachment: that it is inappropriate for presidents, or any other government officials, to prioritize their own private interests above the interests of the nation. In impeaching Trump, the House emphasizes that while it is understood that a president can have their own private interests, he should not use his office to advance those interests, acting only in the interests of the nation as a whole. The House has decided that in an attempt undermine his political rival while withholding Congressionally approved funds to aid an ally engaged in war, the president has failed to prioritize the national interest. The president’s behavior evokes my distinction between the general and the private wills, most associated with my idea of a social contract. I have found it to be true that every citizen has both a private and a general will: the private will corresponding to our personal interests, and the general will corresponding to our interests as citizens of a society. A citizens’s natural preference typically tends toward the private will, “he may want to enjoy the rights of a citizen without being willing to fulfill the duties of a subject.” (Discourse on Equality, pg 48). In other words, our natural tendency as humans is to prefer ourselves above the interests of the common good of our community and fellow citizens. This is why I believe it to be essential that the government compel its citizens, through laws, to live according to the general interest of society, especially in times when an individual’s private will inclines them to do otherwise. Thus, it is not the job of the president, or the executive branch of government, to subvert citizens in favor of the branch’s own interests. Instead, it is their job to carry out and enact laws that promote only the general good of the nation. Thus, if the executive branch of government, including President Trump, privileges their particular will over the general will of the nation, the state will inevitably collapse.


One thought on “Insight on the Impeachment

  1. Megan, I agree with your perspective on how the functionality of a government builds a foundation upon favoring public will and private will. The way that Donald Trump fails to disclose his financial dealings and instead use his presidency to promote them leading to certain illegal activities and obstruction of justice puts our democracy at risk. Rousseau’s point of view on property and wealth inequality leading to exploitation of the lower class by the upper class and an unjust ruling of power is seen clearly by how Donald Trump is on the way to being reprimanded for his exact actions in using his position of power to promote his own financial interests. The pursuit of his private interests at the risk of the United States’ relationships with other countries and at the risk of harming our citizens compromises the foundation of our democracy and the government our country has built that was intended on doing good by the people, not for oneself.

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