The word ‘republic’ is derived from the Latin term ‘res publica’, meaning a public matter or affair. Thus, a State is a republic when matters of policy are a public affair, and citizens get to have a say in the formulation of policy.
There are subtle differences between a republic and a democracy; however, in practice, the two terms are broadly synonymous.
With that in the background, here are the questions that the makers of public policy (including the citizens) must consider before arriving at policy on any matter:
- What does the science say on the issue?
- Where is the data?
- What changes in policy are being advocated for?
- Does the science and data warrant these changes?
- Who would be affected negatively by these changes, and how?
- What steps need to be taken to eliminate, or at least mitigate, these negative effects?
- Would the benefits and compromises be equitably shared by all those affected?
Any policy that skips any of these steps will be sub-optimal for the society, and hence will weaken it.