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General Paper Essay Outline : Is obedience always desirable ?

(Q) Is obedience always desirable ? (NYJC Prelim 2014)

warning handle with care

Note that these are just some ideas. This outline is not meant to be taken as the only or final answer to the question.

Stand : Obedience – despite its advantages – is not always desirable.

Point 1 : An orderly society >>> peaceful, stable, less crime + look for peaceful resolution to conflict
Point 2 : Fairness (provided rules protect fair competition) >>> healthy climate for doing business and being innovative
Point 3 : Tradition, religion, nationalism – all thrive because of a certain degree of obedience. And this is not necessarily a bad thing


Point 3 : Excessive, unthinking obedience is repressive and unnatural for a thinking, feeling human being >>> kills personal leadership >>> Dulls our ability to adapt or be responsive to (sudden) changes

Point 4 : Hinders creativity >>> affects innovation, competition
Point 5 : Quashes necessary debate or challenges to the status quo that could improve society, promote justice or protect human rights

Other insights :

(a) There is a need to consider how disobedience is demonstrated too. Certain expressions of disobedience are more productive or effective than others. Some could actually be destructive and counter-productive

(b) It is not obedience itself that is problematic. It is the purpose for that obedience : is it aimed to oppress and benefit a small few, or is it truly for the greater good ?
Also, higher education, greater awareness of rights and a desire to participate means that obedience that is a achieved via more consultative means could have potentially more benefits in the long run compared to an imposition of poorly-justified rules.


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