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.