The question "What absolutely is the best government?" is unanswerable as well as indeterminate; or rather, there are as many good answers as there are possible combinations in the absolute 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 is another 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. Subjects extol public tranquility, citizens individual liberty; the one class prefers security of possessions, the other that of person; the one regards as the best government that which is most 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, the other prefers that it should be ignored; the one is content if money circulates, the other demands that the people shall have bread. Even if an agreement were come to on these and similar points, should we have got any further? As moral qualities do not admit of exact measurement, 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 men are of so bad faith as not to admit it. What is the end of political association? The preservation and prosperity of its members. And what is the surest mark of their preservation and prosperity? Their numbers and population. Seek then nowhere else this mark that is in dispute. The rest being equal, the government under which, without external aids, without naturalisation or colonies, the citizens increase and multiply most, is beyond question 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 the passage, Rousseau considers the question of determining which type of government is absolutely the 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 is well-governed or not. Rousseau proposes in the last paragraph a simple answer, or judgment: "numbers and population."
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