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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

NMSU Philosophy Department informs students on the importance of democracy

Neil+Sinhababu%2C+a+professor+of+philosophy+at+the+National+University+of+Singapore%2C+answers+a+question+from+an+attendee+after+his+talk+Thursday%2C+Jan.+25%2C+2024.+
Leah De La Torre
Neil Sinhababu, a professor of philosophy at the National University of Singapore, answers a question from an attendee after his talk Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.

Professor Neil Sinhababu typically spends much of his year at the National University of Singapore as an associate professor of philosophy. On Thursday, Jan. 25, Sinhababu stood in Breland hall and explained why democracy is important for the preservation of human life.  

The talk began promptly at 4:00 p.m. when Sinhababu took to the podium. For over an hour, he used a branch of philosophy known as Consequentialism to justify why and how a democracy is the best political system.  

Consequentialism is defined as the morality of an action being outlined by its direct consequences.  In the context of this discussion, its ideas would apply to participation within a democracy and how it keeps individuals from dying. Sinhababu explained that free elections are instrumental to preventing loss of human life through war, famine, and genocide.  

“You have civil rights, you have the right to vote, this I think is the best system” Sinhababu said. “Why? You have the argument that it prevents people from dying in famine, war, and genocide.”  

While the presentation was largely academic, Sinhababu supplied a list of sources and explained the historical significance behind each quotation and chart. These were all used to defend his main point.  

The talk was attended by interested students of various majors, with the increasingly relevant topic drawing those outside of the philosophy major, including multiple graduate students.  

“I found out through Lori Keleher, she teaches ethics and poverty, and it seemed very interesting with everything going on currently,” said government major Devon Harrison.  

Neil Sinhababu delivers his talk, “Consequentialism Favors Democracy for Preventing Famine, War, and Genocide”, on Jan. 25, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

The interest in current events is why Sinhababu does these talks. Liberal democracy – the kind seen most throughout the world – is what he believes needs to be preserved. At a time when many people are losing faith in the power of their votes, Sinhababu is trying to remind people of the power of their vote.  

“I saw the flyer, and I wanted to learn more about how democracy prevents genocide and famine and war” said government major Jeannette Jaure. “I feel very moved by this talk and about how important democracy is.”  

The attentive audience had much of the same reaction as Jaure, sitting patiently for a moment as the talk concluded before breaking into chatter about the topic. Sinhababu, meanwhile, said that discussion is part of the main goal of these talks: to get people thinking about the true weight of their vote.   

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About the Contributors
Madeline Nielsen, Staff Writer
Madeline Nielsen is a freshman at NMSU majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. This is her first semester at The Round Up as a writer. She is excited for the learning experiences in Student Media and in college at large. She is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and graduated from St. Michael’s High School in 2023. In High School, she participated in creative writing and theater, and is excited to continue working with all facets of student media in college. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and painting.
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sowing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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