Free «Public Opinion and Public Policy» Essay Sample

'Information effects on collective preferences,' is an article by Scott L. Althaus that seeks to identify the differences in political opinions basing on how informed people are. The author recognizes that political policies are not always made for the interest of every one. After all they are suggested and implemented by a few people in the government who have the powers. Even though the people went to power by the majority vote most of the people that voted them into power have little information about public policy. The policy makers were mainly put in their position considering their abilities and influence. It is hence hoped that as they get to business, they shall consider the needs of the people that voted them into power and come up with policies to their interest. However as they get to power, they get to realize that some of the policies that are for public interest may not be in heir interest after all (Althaus, 2003). Being the ones in power and knowing very well that it is a rare opportunity that will not always knock at their doors; they twist the policies to ensure that they are for their own interest.

The politicians know very well that they cannot implement policies to satisfy every individual, there will always be a group of people either from within or without to criticize what they have come up with. To the common man who may have no idea of a single vocabulary that is used in the policies, they will rely on their seemingly concerned representatives for interpretations. However vague a statement may seem to be, the policy makers themselves know how to twist the wordings and making them sound appreciated to the small minds. One thing about a policy is that it can be translated in many ways. The lawyers know how to do it even better than the policy makers themselves. Some of the politicians involved in the process are well acquainted with the issues of law and will always seek out to sue, words that will have several meanings. They is usually no rigidity in any policy and are always subject to different interpretations. Most of the politicians who may want to be remembered in the books of history will come up with new ideas and suggestions. Even though they are implemented in the name of protecting public interest, they know that such ideas will, loose meaning once they are out of power.

It sometimes seems not to bother the policy makers about the future of their ideas. They will of course appreciate if their ideas are recognized even years after they have left the office. However, once they are out of the office, most of them will not follow up on what is happening unless they have further political interests either to defend the people they feel should be in the field. They observe from afar as selfish decisions are made in parliament yet they have no power to correct the message with full knowledge that they were once there. However, once most of them join the caliber of the public and discover how selfish the decisions are, they tend to criticize them as wrong yet may not have much influence to change them. Some of such people who have genuinely come in defense of the majority after realizing how unfair some of the ideas are have had to pay their dear lives through assassinations or being overthrown. To be on the safer side as a policy maker is to comply to the interests of the majority policy makers unless the idea is having negative effects on you as an individual. There is usually a trend that has been hard to reverse especially when it comes to positions of influence (Althaus, 2003). Most of the politicians sought for the sits with a genuine reason of helping their people. However the perspectives changes immediately the aspirants get into power.

The aspirants who were known by their people to be genuine and supportive all of a sudden become arrogant and only make occasional meetings with the people. They forget all about what they had promised to give to their people as they behave more or less the same way like the politicians that were there before them. Even though the people feel cheated and deceived by their own, they have no power to reverse their decisions but patiently wait for their term to end. Another aspirant who may also seem to be more genuine and concerned will, also come with the enticements and once into power, the same trend repeats. Such selfishness has become part and parcel of policy makers as a group of individuals completely shy off from the election process (Althaus, 2003). They see it as a waste of time since they have to stand in long queues, being scorched in the sun and hungry only to discoverer that they made decisions that did are not really bringing change to their lives. The only alternative they probably have is to encourage their children to work harder and be wiser so that they also get the rare opportunity of being in power to benefit from the good of the land. Public opinion may be loud and clear but the public policy is all at the mercies of few privileged individuals.


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