Critical Reading>Select an Answer
The question "What absolutely is the bestgovernment?" is unanswerable as well asindeterminate; or rather, there are as many goodanswers as there are possible combinations in theabsolute and relative situations of all nations.
But if it is asked by what sign we may know that a given people is well or ill governed, that isanother matter, and the question, being one of fact, admits of an answer.
It is not, however, answered, because every-one wants to answer it in his own way. Subjectsextol public tranquility, citizens individual liberty; the one class prefers security ofpossessions, the other that of person; the one regards as the best government that which ismost severe, the other maintains that the mildest is the best; the one wants crimes punished, the other wants them prevented; the one wants the State to be feared by its neighbours, theother prefers that it should be ignored; the one is content if money circulates, the otherdemands that the people shall have bread. Even if an agreement were come to on these andsimilar points, should we have got any further? As moral qualities do not admit of exactmeasurement, agreement about the mark does not mean agreement about the valuation.
For my part, I am continually astonished that a mark so simple is not recognised, or that menare of so bad faith as not to admit it. What is the end of political association? Thepreservation and prosperity of its members. And what is the surest mark of theirpreservation and prosperity? Their numbers and population. Seek then nowhere else thismark that is in dispute. The rest being equal, the government under which, without externalaids, without naturalisation or colonies, the citizens increase and multiply most, is beyondquestion the best. The government under which a people wanes and diminishes is worst. Calculators, it is left for you to count, to measure, to compare.
Which choice best describes the overall structure of the passage?
A.The author defines a term and then illustrates it with multiple examples.
B.The author presents and describes the two sides of a controversy.
C.The author considers a complex topic and then offers a judgment.
D.The author poses a rhetorical question to introduce an extended argument.
Choice C is the best answer. Throughout thepassage, Rousseau considers the question ofdetermining which type of government is absolutelythe best. He notes in the first two paragraphs that, while it is impossible to answer the question, it is possible to tell if a certain group of people iswell-governed or not. Rousseau proposes in the last paragraph a simple answer, or judgment: "numbers and population."