Being fair to the community is more important than being just to the individual. Discuss.

What follows is my second attempt to complete a LNAT essay question (under exam conditions including 40 minute time limit). I am putting this here  to archive my attempts at timed essay writing; more for my personal benefit than others. If however, you have any suggestions on how I can improve my answers I will happily welcome them; but I won’t make changes to this essay as this is my attempt “as is” (including spelling mistakes and grammar).

I intent to argue that while fairness is a right integral to both individuals as well as the communities they are from, the needs of a community supersede those of an individual. It is important to think about what it is exactly that constitutes a community; a community is a collection of individuals with shared traits, typically their shared geographical location. As such, it is possible to demonstrate that the rights of an individual would appear less important than those of a community if we make the assumption that the rights of all members of the community are of equal worth (as they should within a fair society) then the culmutive worth of the individuals that constitute the community clearly outweigh those of the individual.

For the reason I have stated as an overbearing argument, the rights of the community are more important than those of the individual. This is true with the macroscopic view of my argument, but looking at specific points on a more localized level is needed to supplement this claim. Firstly, consider a scenario common place in today’s newspapers; a large company requesting planning permission, often requiring a drastic and contentious change to the landscape, opposed by a local council with long emotional attachment to the area and a view to protecting and sustaining their way of life. In this case the local council represents the role of the community, while the company represents an individual, through its unified views and single-minded interests. In these cases there is often long deliberation because such issues are often contentious. As a whole however, media coverage representative of the views of the public in general support the community the majority of the time. To further support this view, when public opinion contrasts this, it is not because the views of community are being suppressed in support of the individual. Instead the roles within this scenario have simply reversed and the company has something of benefit to a wider society, while the local constituency appears to have a more focused and individualistic view.

Consider also, the very nature of the system of retribution within Britain today. Individuals are often removed from society as part of our penal system. While this is done in some cases to serve as a punishment to the individuals for crimes they have committed, it also serves as a way to isolate potentially dangerous or volatile persons from negatively effecting society as a whole. This is better illustrated with an example; a criminal who has been convicted of stealing is removed from society not necessarily to punish the criminal but instead prohibits the criminal from stealing further from society. Indeed, a man who been convicted of manslaughter while claiming temporary insanity may receive psychiatric treatment, not to punish the individual but instead to benefit society as a whole. This view to benefiting our communities, and society as a whole is key too much of our penal system.

Many aspects of accepted contemporary etiquette are in place not for the sole benefit of the individual, but for those around them. It is also important to remember that the places may often change, and the should the individual be put in an undesirable position, for example having to endure noisy neighbors; if the individual created similar levels of noise, then his right to do so as an equal would be respected. If several people were subjected to excess noise levels, then surely the rights of the many would outweigh the rights of the few. This view, is open to abuse, and is not continued throughout society as a whole. Indeed, there are executives who often exercise more control than a large majority who might instead share a different view. This example within our society demands the question; “why should the views of powerful individuals be held in esteem to the dismay of the masses?”

It is important to remember that by placing the rights of an individual above those of his community, you do so to the detriment of many others like him. As all members of society are equal, this can be deemed as unfair, and unacceptable in a just civilization. It is for these reasons that rights of a community are so important.


Should public transport be compulsory in certain areas?

What follows is my first attempt to complete a LNAT essay question (under exam conditions including 40 minute time limit). I am putting this here  to archive my attempts at timed essay writing; more for my personal benefit than others. If however, you have any suggestions on how I can improve my answers I will happily welcome them; but I won’t make changes to this essay as this is my attempt “as is” (including spelling mistakes and grammar).

The key question on this matter is what will benefit the general public more. It is a contentious issue, which will undoubtedly split opinion within the public, and it is important to consider this subject thoroughly before casting judgment on its appropriateness.

The main argument for introducing compulsory public transport is to reduce the negative effects caused by the other forms of transport available. There are many areas of heavy congestion within the UK, in which many of the key problems caused by the oversaturation of British roads could be reduced by the introduction of compulsory public transport. The current problems are caused by to the dominance of the car as the primary method of transport. Some of the problems this causes include pollution; both in the resultant fumes from the combustion process as well as the constant noise caused by cars. Pollution caused by combustion is of particular concern, as this affects not only our generation, but also generations to come. Although this type of combustion has only been in full effect for c.75 years, its impact is already noticeable. While this could easily be reduced by introducing more efficient transportation methods like electric motoring, the development and adoption of such technology is expensive, and it potential benefit to society when contrasted to the other areas where public money could be invested is questionable. Possibly the most obvious method to reduce negative effects of inefficient transport is to adopt compulsory public transport. This at first seems a controversial proposal, however, the ongoing shift in focus towards more environmentally friendly transportation methods is already in full swing. Companies are increasingly promoting staff to carpool; schools encourage students to walk where possible, or to make the most environmentally friendly journey when travelling longer distances. It is important to bear in mind that this is only an argument for adoption of this proposal within certain areas, particularly highly urbanized areas in which most benefit can be gained from such changes.

The changes to the environment, which transportation causes, are something that has happened throughout civilization. The roads of the Romans, the lochs of the Victorians are all lasting signs of human settlement, which are debatable for their effect on the landscape. It is important to consider how our transportation footprint will change the landscape for our children.

Making public transport compulsory has several benefits to end users, but it is important to consider the financial implications of adopting such a larger change. Increasing the number of users of public transport, whether state funded or otherwise would mean more money would be generated through public transport. Of this increased profit a larger amount of money would be available for improving public transport. On the other side of this argument, it is important to remember that an increased number of users on the current public transport systems would be likely to place a strain on the resources available. While further research into the financial suitability of making public transport is needed, indeed a full enquiry is necessary before committing to such a radical change; because of the larger capital generated by public transport, combined with the reduced outlay governments would have to invest in the obsolete transport methods I would feel safe in making the assumption that making public transport compulsory is not only financially viable, but good use of public investment for a long term reward.

While it is important not to disregard the stresses and other ailments caused by overpopulated public transport, we must also compare this to transport in general. Other problems include the safety risks which having such a wide plethora of transport available in such a limited space can introduce. Motorbikes, cars, cycles, buses, taxis, trains can all be found in most urban areas of Britain and this variety of transport requires a wide range of regulation in order to maintain safety. The easiest way to avoid accidents is to simplify the process and reduce it to its simplest constituents. By making public transport compulsory, we can better regulate transport in general and like in a safer environment.

While there are several drawbacks to making public transport compulsory, it does provide some key benefits including; safety, a better environment for both us and generations to come, economic gain. These benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and I am of the view that public transport should be compulsory in certain, particularly highly urbanized, areas.