Government Conduct: The Guiding Force for Developing National Soft Power

By Daixing, Tang; Xiaoping, Li et al. | Canadian Social Science, November 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Government Conduct: The Guiding Force for Developing National Soft Power


Daixing, Tang, Xiaoping, Li, Qing, Chen, Canadian Social Science


Abstract

Only the conduct of a government that strives to serve the people that empowered it can produce governmental soft power. The soft power of a government constitutes the guiding and consolidating force for the soft power a country. In order to give full play to these forces, great attention should be paid to the dynamic composition of soft power. In the structural system of governmental soft power, the character of the head of state is the soul while universal values constitute the soil; the concept "small government large people" becomes the practical norm; the construction of extensive social credibility is the approach that generates governmental soft power; the moral guidance of government conduct is the fundamental way to release the function of governmental soft power; constitutional politics forms the institutional cornerstone where governmental soft power can be created and developed.

Key words: Governmental soft power; The character of the head of state; Universal values; Government credibility; Moral guidance of government conduct

National soft power is the autonomous soft creative power of a country as well as an influential force portrayed to the world as well as the emotional appeal to other nations. In addition, the soft power of a country is first of all a soft creative power within the country itself; only after this has been achieved can an influential force be portrayed to the world and an emotional appeal to other nations be given.

National soft power is constituted by the vitality of the system, political affiliation, government conduct, level of education, ethical standards, artistic creativity, academic ideology, populace's high culture, traditional charm, diplomatic competence and other elements. However, if these elements are to allow the creation of the soft creative power of a country, an influential force to the world and the emotional appeal to other nations, a government's level of conduct is of great importance. Therefore, the conduct of a government constitutes the consolidated guiding force for a country to be able to generate and enhance its national soft power.

i. TWO APPROACHES OF GOVERNMENT CONDUCT

Hume believes that "The state of society without government is one of the most natural states of men, and must submit with the conjunction of many families, and long after the first generation. Nothing but an increase of riches and possessions could oblige men to quit it". Bentham points out in his masterpiece A Fragment on Government: Society means a state of nature. In order to live, men have to quit the state of nature and therefore they enter into a state of government. Government ends the state of nature of individuals and society. It establishes the system of society, constructs the order of society, implements the system of allocation, guides the ethical existence of people and achieves their moral way of living.

Hence it is not difficult to conclude that as soon as governments came into being, it has existed in a way that is prior to the individual and has been functioning in a way that is superior to individual forces. The two advantages of a government give two possible approaches for government conduct: one is hard conduct, meaning the government would one-sidedly emphasize the will to power and exert itself over its citizens and make itself the master of them; the other is soft conduct, meaning the government would observe people-oriented principles, keep to its own duties and try its utmost to serve the country and its citizens.

The former way of conduct for governments is first of all an arrogation of its peoples, and this arrogation creates the reversion of morality and politics. "Now consider the extent of the moral and political inversion in today's prevalent view of government. Instead of being a protector of man's rights, the government is becoming their most dangerous violator; instead of guarding freedom, the government is establishing slavery; instead of protecting men from the initiators of physical force, the government is initiating physical force and coercion in any manner and issue it pleases; instead of serving as the instrument of objectivity in human relationships, the government is creating a deadly, subterranean reign of uncertainty and fear, by means of nonobjective laws whose interpretation is left to the arbitrary decisions of random bureaucrats; instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating to itself the power of unlimited whim - so that we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force".

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