Voters should be equipped with ability to think critically

United States President-elect Donald Trump's proposed policies might have detrimental results if he indeed manages to implement them ("Policies Trump has said he might execute"; Nov 10).

For instance, he plans to raise taxes on foreign-based American firms to incentivise these firms to return to America.

However, bringing jobs back to America might backfire. US companies may lose their competitive edge if they are unable to exploit cheaper manufacturing resources overseas.

If American firms decline, unemployment will increase in the US.

Mr Trump, playing on xenophobia, managed to sell the idea that increased trade and migration led to job competition and, thus, fewer jobs for the average American.

Therein lies a failure of US democracy: People voting without a clear understanding of the repercussions of a politician's policies.

Many people lack the ability to think critically about the true cost and benefit of policies on different people and the various impacts.

This allows any eloquent, charismatic politician to persuade people of policies that on the surface appear sound but when carefully analysed, are actually damaging.

Thus, along with the right to vote, all voters should be equipped with the ability to think critically.

They should try to acquire some basic understanding of political science, similar to social studies or economics, so that they are able to responsibly and effectively evaluate proposed policies.

If we want democracy to remain, it must be able to lead to constructive politics, and this must begin with educating every voter with critical-thinking skills when it comes to proposed policies and current affairs.

Barnabas Lim Cong Ping

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.