16. Some people believe that in order to be effective, political leaders must yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise. Others believe that the most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consiste

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16. Some people believe that in order to be effective, political leaders must yield to public opinion and abandon principle for the sake of compromise. Others believe that the most essential quality of an effective leader is the ability to remain consistently committed to particular principles and objectives.

Theoretically, the political system has developed to better reflect the public opinion. Practically in real world, political leaders need to compromise to public opinion at some extent to implement their policy in a practical level. Therefore, it might be reasonable for political elites to be flexible towards the majority of people’s will at the expense of political principles. However, being an effective political leader does not always mean compromising to public opinion. Political leaders should maintain their principles to serve people effectively.

First, sometimes it is not recommendable for political leaders to comply with people’s will. Because public opinion can easily be agitated by rumors or be irresponsible for the results, reflecting it directly in making a decision of national affairs is not a viable option. To set up long term plans such as an economic development, public education systems, and national security, political leaders must consider national issues with unbiased mind. Clearly, since the fundamental duty of politicians is serving their people, political leaders should be cautious to the voice of the public. However, to effectively serve the people, political leaders must have the ability to induce people’s consent to draw macroscopic national interests.

Second, understanding public opinion is not always easy. Public opinions are rarely unified as one. Rather, in most cases, public opinions are divided into several discordant opinions according to individual group’s interests. Political leaders need to choose only a few opinions among many mutually conflicting ideas. In this case, ineffective political leaders take a detour to maintain their supporting rate; they simply follow the opinion of the majority. On the contrary, effective political leaders do not abandon their principles to compromise. They consider national interests first and make an effort to satisfy the needs of each group in a society rather than represent particular major groups.

National leaders can consider public opinion before making an important judgment to maintain a support rating. But the support rating itself is not the primary object political leader must pursue. It is a rather one of the many conditions to be fulfilled in order to pursue long term goals in national affairs.

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