Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 13

COMPREHENSION 2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue

COMPREHENSION
CONTENT
NAME CLASS
/35M /15M /50M
LANGUAGE TOTAL
The Hollow Republic
Comprehension Answers available at www.broaderperspectives.com.sg & www.twitter.com/ThinkTankMags
QUESTIONS ATTACHED
THE SPACE
BETWEEN THE
INDIVIDUAL AND
THE STATE
Yuval Levin
COMPREHENSION 2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
President Obama must surely wish he could undo the campaign speech he delivered in Roanoke,
on 13 July 2012. That was where he offered up the view that if youve got a business, you didnt
build that, somebody else made that happen. It is a line that could haunt him right to November,
revealing as it does an unwillingness to creditindividual success and a sense of hostility toward
the culture of entrepreneurship. But the remark came in the context of a broader argument that
was just as telling on a different point, and no less troubling. After laying out his plans to raise
taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the president said this to his audience: You know, the Internet
didnt get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies
could make money off the Internet. The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of
our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. This remarkable window into the
presidents thinking shows us not only a man chilly toward the potential of individual initiative, but
also a man with a staggeringly thin idea of common action in American life. The president simply
equates doing things together with doing things through government. He sees the citizen and
the state, and nothing in between and thus could be said to see every political question as a
choice between radical individualism and a federal program. But most of life is lived somewhere
between those two extremes, and American life in particular has given rise to unprecedented
human fourishing because we have allowed the institutions that occupy the middle ground the
family, civil society, and the private economy to thrive in relative freedom. What is disconcerting
and a grave concern is how Obamas attitude toward that middle ground is increasingly
characteristic of many modern day governments across the world.
Again and again, we have witnessed many governments that have sought to hollow out the
space between the individual and the state. Their approach to the private economy has involved
pursuing consolidation in key industries privileging a few major players that are to be treated
essentially as public utilities, while locking out competition from smaller or newer frms. This both
ensures the cooperation of the large players and makes the economy more manageable and
orderly. And it leaves no one pursuing ends that are not the governments ends. This has been the
essence of the governments policies toward automakers, health insurers, banks, hospitals, and
many others.
It is an attitude that takes the wealth-creation capacity of our economy for granted, treats the
chaotic churning and endless combat of competing frms (which in fact is the source of that
capacity) as a dangerous distraction from essential public goals, and considers the business world
to be a parasite benefting from the infrastructure and resources provided by the genuine
common action of the state. Of course, the states benevolence is made possible precisely by the
nations wealthiest citizens, but it increasingly seems to be that governments are adopting the
view that this is simply an appropriate degree of giving something back. The positions of political
Privacy Matters
1
2
3
1
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have Nothing to Hide by Daniel J. Solove,
for the purposes of the A level General Paper
COMPREHENSION
leaders and actions by their administrations imply the view that government is the only genuine
tribune of public desires, and therefore seeks justifcation in harnessing the private economy to
the purposes and goals of those in power.
This intolerance of nonconformity is even more powerfully evident in the shifts in governmental
administration attitudes toward the institutions of civil society, especially religious institutions
involved in the crucial work of helping the needy and vulnerable. The aim increasingly appears
to be to turn the institutions of civil society into active agents of the governments ends, even in
violation of their fundamental religious convictions. In a number of instances, but most notably in
the controversy surrounding the American Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule
requiring religious employers to provide free abortive and contraceptive drugs to their employees
under Obamacare, the appalling contempt for the basic right of religious institutions to pursue
their ends in accordance with their convictions is undeniable. The HHS rule did not assert that
people should have the freedom to use contraceptive or abortive drugs which of course they
do have in our country. It did not even say that the government facilitates peoples access to these
drugs which it does today and has done for decades. Rather, the rule required that the Catholic
Church and other religious entities should facilitate peoples access to contraceptive and abortive
drugs in fagrant disregard of their responsibility to remind and reinforce to the public that life is
sacred and belongs to God.
Such rules implicitly assert that our governments will not tolerate institutions that are unwilling to
actively ratify the views of those in power that there will be no acceptance of differing views and
attempts to fnd other ways to put those views into effect (even though many other ways exist), but
will instead compel it to participate in the enactment of the ends chosen by elected offcials. This
is an extraordinarily radical assertion of government power, and a failure of even basic toleration.
It is, again, an attempt to turn private mediating institutions into public utilities contracted to
execute government ends. This shocking dynamic goes to the extent of recasting the basic
defnition and purpose of other institutions in defence of its own unwillingness to compromise. The
fnal HHS rule defned a religious employer exceedingly narrowly, as an institution that primarily
serves and employs people of its own faith and has as its basic purpose the inculcation of the
beliefs of that faith. This leaves no room for most religiously based institutions of civil society
no room for hospitals, for schools and universities, for soup kitchens and homeless shelters, for
adoption agencies and legal-aid clinics. In other words, religious institutions may preach to the
choir, but otherwise they may not play any role in society. Do we really want it to be that when
other organisations disagree with those in power, that they must be cleared out of the space
between the individual and the state?
4
5
40
45
50
55
60
65
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have Nothing to Hide by Daniel J. Solove,
for the purposes of the A level General Paper
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
COMPREHENSION
This difference of opinion about mediating institutions is no trifing matter. It gets at a profound and
fundamental difference between the Left and the Right. The Left tends to believe that the great
advantage of our liberal society is that it enables the application of technical knowledge that can
make our lives better, and that this knowledge can overcome our biggest problems. This is the
technocratic promise of progressivism. The Right tends to believe that the great advantage of our
liberal society is that it has evolved to channel deep social knowledge through free institutions
knowledge that often cannot be articulated in technical terms but is the most important knowledge
we have. For the Left, therefore, the mediating institutions (and at times even our constitutional
forms) are obstacles to the application of liberal knowledge. For the Right, the mediating
institutions (and our constitutional forms) are the embodiment of liberal knowledge.
This attitude toward mediating institutions is by no means novel or unique. It has been essential to
the progressive cause for more than a century, and indeed has been an element of more radical
strands of liberalism for far longer than that. As far back as 1791, Thomas Paine, in defending
the French revolutionaries, complained of the distance that traditional institutions established
between the citizen and the regime, which he described as an artifcial chasm [that] is flled up
with a succession of barriers through which [the citizen] has to pass. Conservative voices have
defended these mediating layers precisely for creating such barriers, which can guard the citizen
from direct exposure to the searing power of the state. Alexis de Tocqueville celebrated Americas
bewildering array of associations, institutions, and corporations of civil society for their ability to
offer individual citizens some protection from the domineering sway of political majorities.
Thus, Obamas exceptionally revealing description of America in his Roanoke remarks points to a
key dividing line in our politics, and to a central issue of contention for all interest groups. And so,
if we want to create communities where we are truly free, then surely we must continue to speak
out against the juggernaut that threatens to trample our cherished institutions underfoot.
6
7
8
70
75
80
85
90
Adapted from The Hollow Republic by Yuval Levin
for the purposes of the A level General Paper
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
Comprehension Questions
1 Explain what the author means by the expression could haunt him (line 3)? [1]

2 What does this different point refer to (line 6)? [1]
3 In what way does the author consider the Presidents thinking to be chilly toward the
potential of individual initiative (lines 11)? [2]
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
4 According to the author, why has there been unprecedented human fourishing in American
life (line 16-17)? Use your own words as far as possible [2]
5 What do the words in the parenthesis (lines 30-31) reveal to us about the authors attitude, and
the reasons for his attitude, towards the endless combating of competing frms? [2]
6 Why is the word genuine in inverted commas in line 36? [1]
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
7 What do rules such as the HHS rule (paragraph 4) implicitly assert (line 54)? Use your own
words as far as possible. [3]
8 Explain the meaning of the phrase radical assertion of government power? (line 58) [1]
9 Why is this difference of opinion no trifing matter (line 70)? [1]
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
10 What does the quote in lines 84-85 suggest about Thomas Paines view of institutions? [2] Use
your own words as far as possible.
11 What does this juggernaut refer to (line 93)? [1]
12 Summarise how and why governments seek to hollow out the space between the individual
and the state. [8]

Using material from paragraphs 2-4, write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the
opening words which are given below. Use your own words as far as possible.

Seeking to hollow out the space between the individual and the state, governments have
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
13 Yuval has considered the shortfalls of giving priority and credit to group contribution when it
comes to success, and how this undermines individual efforts. How is contribution viewed or
acknowledged in your society? [10]
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
Comprehension Answers
1 Explain what the author means by the expression could haunt him (line 3)? [1]
The author means that President Obama might regret (1/2) what he had said for his detractors could
possibly continue to highlight his message and use it against him and his election campaign (1/2).
2 What does this different point refer to (line 6)? [1]
It refers to how the author was troubled most by the Presidents amazingly shallow notion (1/2) of
common action in American life because the latter merely equated doing things together with doing
things through government (1/2).
3 In what way does the author consider the Presidents thinking to be chilly toward the
potential of individual initiative (lines 11)? [2]
The author highlights how the President downplayed/dismissed (1/2) the possible gains of an
individuals resourcefulness (1/2) when a businessman/an individual succeeded and instead attributed
(1/2) the success to the collective efforts of society and government (1/2).
4 According to the author, why has there been unprecedented human fourishing in American
life (line 16-17)? Use your own words as far as possible [2]
Line Lifted Paraphrased
16-18 American life in particular has given rise to
unprecedented human fourishing because
we have allowed the institutions (1/2)
that occupy the middle ground (1/2)
the family, civil society, and the private
economy to thrive (1/2) in relative
freedom (1/2).
There has been a human prospering
that has never been witnessed before
because America has allowed the entities/
organisations (1/2) that stand between
the individual and the government (1/2)
such as the family, civil society, and the
private economy, to have a fair amount of
liberty (1/2) to fourish (1/2).
5 What do the words in the parenthesis (lines 30-31) reveal to us about the authors attitude, and
the reasons for his attitude, towards the endless combating of competing frms? [2]
They reveal to us that the author, in contrast with the view of many governments (1/2), holds a positive
view (1/2) towards the endless combating of competing frms because he believes that it is precisely in
this kind of never-ending competition that the American economy fnds its ability to create wealth (1).
6 Why is the word genuine in inverted commas in line 36? [1]
The author is trying to confer a sarcastic tone (1/2) and to cast doubt on the actual contribution/
involvement by the state (1/2).
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
7 What do rules such as the HHS rule (paragraph 4) implicitly assert (line 54)? Use your own
words as far as possible. [3]

Line Lifted Paraphrased
54-57 Such rules implicitly assert that our
governments will not tolerate institutions
(1/2) that are unwilling to actively (1/2)
ratify the views of those in power (1/2)
that there will be no acceptance of
differing views and attempts to fnd other
ways (1/2) to put those views into effect
(even though many other ways exist), but
will instead compel it (1/2) to participate
in the enactment of the ends chosen by
elected offcials (1/2).
Such rules implicitly claim that our
governments will not permit the existence
of organisations (1/2) that are reluctant
to take the initiative (1/2) to formally
approve the opinions of those who
are governing (1/2)that they will not
embrace different perspectives and
endeavours to fnd other avenues (1/2) to
implement their views but instead force
(1/2) the organisations to be involved in
carrying out the goals selected by the
governments (1/2).
8 Explain the meaning of the phrase radical assertion of government power? (line 58) [1]
It means an extreme enforcement (1/2) of force by the elected authorities (1/2).
9 Why is this difference of opinion no trifing matter (line 70)? [1]
It is no trivial matter as the views are in direct (1/2) and irreconcilable (1/2) opposition with each other.
10 What does the quote in lines 84-85 suggest about Thomas Paines view of institutions? [2] Use
your own words as far as possible.
Line Lifted Paraphrased
84-85 artifcial (1/2) chasm (1/2) [that] is flled
up with a succession of barriers (1/2)
through which [the citizen] has to pass.
It suggests that he views institutions as
unnecessary/a nuisance (1/2) [inferred] as
they a manmade gulf (1/2) that is replete
with a series of obstacles (1/2) through
which the governed person in the country
has to overcome (1/2).
11 What does this juggernaut refer to (line 93)? [1]
It refers to the huge and powerful force (1/2) called the state/government (1/2).
12 Summarise how and why governments seek to hollow out the space between the individual
and the state. [8]

Using material from paragraphs 2-4, write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the
opening words which are given below. Use your own words as far as possible.

Seeking to hollow out the space between the individual and the state, governments have
Lifted Paraphrased
From para 2:
Their approach to the private economy
has involved pursuing consolidation in
key industries
From para 2:
sought to gather together in main sectors
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
privileging a few major players that are to be the big frms by favouring them
treated essentially as public utilities, as necessary infrastructure
while locking out competition from smaller or
newer frms.
and preventing smaller ones from competing,
ensures the cooperation of the large
players and makes the economy more (a)
manageable and (b) orderly.
making it easier to (a) control and (b) organise
the economy
And it leaves no one pursuing ends that
are not the governments ends.
as everyone will then seek the countrys
goals.
Para 3:
takes the wealth-creation capacity of our
economy for granted, treats the chaotic
churning and endless combat of
competing frms
Para 3:
They regard competition among frms as
(which in fact is the source of that capacity)
as a dangerous distraction from essential
public goals, and
diluting focus on necessary national objectives
considers the business world to a parasite
benefting from the infrastructure and resources
provided by the genuine common action of the
state.
and hence views the industries as beneftting
freely from society.
The positions of political leaders and actions
by their administrations imply the view that
government is the only genuine tribune
of public desires, imply that he views the
government as the only genuine tribune of
public desires,
They see the state as the true champion of public
wishes
and therefore seeks justifcation in
harnessing the private economy to the
purposes and goals of those in power.
and aim to utilize the business world for
governmental objectives.
Para 4:
This intolerance of nonconformity is
even more powerfully evident in the shifts in
the governmental administration attitudes
toward the institutions of civil society,
especially religious institutions involved in
the crucial work of helping the needy and
vulnerable.
Para 4:
They required also institutions of civil society to
conform
The aim increasingly appears to be to turn
the institutions of civil society into active
agents of the governments ends,
by forcing the latter to further governmental goals
even in violation of their fundamental
religious convictions.
even in infringement of their spiritual beliefs,
appalling contempt demonstrating their disdain
for the basic right of religious institutions
to pursue their ends in accordance with their
convictions is undeniable.
for the fundamental entitlements of spiritual
organisations.
(114 Words) Award full marks for 14-16 key phrases.
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue
THE HOLLOW REPUBLIC
13 Yuval has considered the shortfalls of giving priority and credit to group contribution when it
comes to success, and how this undermines individual efforts. How is contribution viewed or
acknowledged in your society? [10]
This passage is about the authors views on how governments (such as Obamas administration) that
do not respect the roles of institutions of civil society and the role individual efforts play in the economy
are posing a threat to the promotion of individual initiative and an entrepreneurial culture. It also relays
the authors concern about the increasing monolithic reach of the state and sounds the clarion call for
us to preserve the middle ground that institutions of civil society occupies, for they are instrumental in
protecting the individual from overwhelming governmental interference and power.
Key arguments/threads of thoughts that students can consider are:
a) Yuval lambasts a dismissive attitude towards the potential of individual initiative as it reveals an
unwillingness to credit success and a sense of hostility towards the culture of entrepreneurship. How
does Singapore fare in this area? Do we downplay the effort of the individual in favour of focusing on
how individual success is only possible because of community contribution?
b) Yuval also frowns upon the attitude of viewing endless competition as a negative thing, as a
distraction from concerted governmental action. He does not agree with the view that individual frms
should give up their respective pursuits for the sake of group goals such as that of the government.
What is the Singaporean societys views on such matters?
c) Is there anything unique or different about the Singapore context, e.g. culture, size, trust in political
leaders, etc, that makes it easier for individuals to sacrifce their personal interests for the sake of
collective public interests?
d) Candidates can also consider how a greater focus on group contribution can lead to a long-term
erosion of the rights and value of the individual unit, and even a near totalitarian power of the state.
e) They can also discuss instances of public recognition of successful entrepreneurs in the country on
the part of the state in order to foster a stronger enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.
2014 BROADER PERSPECTIVES The Institutions Issue