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[REQUEST] Ethics and Public Administration

Permanent Linkby loganriley on Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:02 am

This is a new request which hasn't been taken on by any user.

People are the most multifaceted creatures in the universe, whose individual traits and life concepts have determinative meaning of all processes regardless of their area. One can hardly find out the phenomena or events that are beyond human influence, especially when speaking about social areas that are inextricably linked to interpersonal communication. Being aware of this fact, the majority of the ancient sages, as well as modern scientists, are trying to investigate the secrets of human minds and souls in order to find the most efficient ways of harmonizing social relations. Considering the person is the core element of society, there is no surprise that the majority of theories emphasize ethical issues as the primary regulator in every area related to the interaction between people. Ethical norms and standards serve as a road map helping people in self-regulating and navigating throughout all communicational levels. The reason of ethics’ equal importance not only for psychological or philosophical studies but also in the political area, that is not limited to the only human factor and involve a wide range of life being’s aspects. It makes applying moral values to the policy one of the most controversial points, as well as a diversified political environment implies numerous variables in combining and interpreting ethical norms, shaping their classical context. Thus, the paper seeks to explore the political essence of the concept of truth and find the answer to the question whether people should expect politicians to be completely truthful.
Disclosing the essential role of political truthfulness could not be persuasive without presenting the essence of truth’s concept. That is why, exploring and explaining the multifaceted meaning of the notion will be one point of the paper. Then the truthfulness will be observed from both perspectives’ ethics and political challenges to find the reason for politicians’ lie and its acceptability. To provide a broad analysis, I will address the philosophical implications, moral theories, and political studies. By means of the arguments, I suppose to prove that morality, implying truthfulness as one of the core axis, is the ground for healthy functioning of the social institutions and providing efficient public administration. Because of this, politicians should not undermine the meaning of telling the truth and people should expect them to be truthful.
Back to the Initial Understanding of the Truth: Philosophical Essence
In one way or another, ethical law of conduct was developed by the ancient philosophers, as well as the rules of their applying to the individual life of the person, family relations, community, and global society. Apparently, this notion, its interpretation, and application had changed throughout the centuries and gained new features because of significant social transformations and modern challenges. However, speaking about ethics and moral values without addressing their initial philosophical contexts would not be full and precise.
Everybody knows that telling the truth is one of the most important things in human life and interpersonal communication. From early childhood, the caregivers teach their child that lying is not a decent behavior and can actually be equated to the most serious offenses. Thus, the question about the reasons for such strict positioning of this seemingly innocent act appears. Having read the ancient philosophical theories, one can find the answer. Thus, Plato, who was one of the first philosophers investigating this issue, emphasized that the need of telling the truth had come together with the faith in Good and was the most significant phenomenon near which everything had secondary value. This perspective emphasizes on the close interrelation between the faith and telling the truth, implying that one cannot exist without other. Thus, the crucial significance of truthfulness becomes evident from the point of the core meaning of the trust for interpersonal communication.
It was not a single association that sages used in their everlasting theories. Thus, traditional ethics of the ancient Athens told that telling the truth is the core element of justice, which Plato considered as one of the four fundamental virtues good people should own. It is worth to admit that Confucian’s moral theory also underlines this virtue as the basic one for reaching and saving social harmony. Claiming that injustice is the biggest social evil, Confucian study presents justice as the most efficient cure for this evil. One can see the crucial importance of the truth and universal value that can help to avoid degradation and destruction as the personality. Thus, the need to cultivate the truthfulness and related virtues as the ground for social prosperity that should be provided by the politicians is the primary argument for politics to be truthful.
Political Dimension of Truthfulness
One can refute that philosophical theories represented ideal rules of life, but in the modern world, people are facing numerous things in their life which could not be solved ideally. Indeed, there are numerous cases when the lie seems to be the most efficient decision, especially when speaking about protection of the public interest. The mentioned challenge is the acutest for politicians who are dealing with numerous opposite interest groups. Every day they face the issues that are related to the conflict of the interests and should adopt decisions, which protecting one group without any doubt, meets the protest of the other. Thus, due to the need to save the social balance and avoid social crisis, they should adapt their words to the target auditory. It was the ground for the lie which Machiavelli considered justified in such cases. He claimed that politicians should know how to color the situation or action and to be a great liar and deceiver. From this perspective, the words become an instrument of the political manipulation and the primary tool for the political struggle between the parties. Telling the absolute truth may be the ground for opposite political forces’ attacks which are interested in undermining the credibility of the ruling party or those groups who are pursuing their private commercial interests.
Such an environment creates a lot of challenges which the politicians should be able to meet. Even when they are the persons with the highest level of morality, they have a miserable chance to follow their individual convictions. It is not just an assumption or justification for politicians’ dirty hands, but the fact that is experimentally proven.
Thus, in 1973, Philip Zimbardo held an experiment which was aimed at investigating human conformity to the situation surrounding them. Having imitated the prison condition, he divided the participants who had no prison experience into two groups. One should play the role of prison guards, and the other implied the social role of prisoners. The results overcame the author’s expectations. Involved participants started to play their assigned roles so credibly that the experiment became dangerous. Those who represented guards went beyond the borders of their usual moral conduct, demonstrated brutality and seemed to enjoy this behavior. Alongside with this, the group of prisoners immediately adopted the rules of the situation and resigned to dominating guards’ role. Because of such impetuous results, the experiment was terminated and lasted only six days instead of the fortnight, as it was planned at the very beginning. This experiment brightly demonstrates the readiness of human mind to conform any social role, especially when speaking about stereotyped schemes of conduct. In this case, the guards were the stereotyped group, but the same could be said about politicians. From the ancient times, the politicians should fight for people’s adherence, power or territories. The history of diplomacy saves a lot of stories about virtuous politicians who decided on the fates of the nations by means of skillful operating with the facts and words. Thus, human mind is so marvelous that it can adapt to virtually any known environmental circumstance in order to survive, to create, and to destroy as necessary.
It may seem that the political essence of truth is quite different from the philosophical one. Indeed, the information mentioned above was used to underline the complicatedness of politicians’ tasks and emphasize on the crucial challenges to those rare person can resist. It is worth to admit that such a high level of responsibility does not undermine the moral essence of the politicians’ actions, but, on the contrary, strength it. Thus, according to the Confucian study “For the ruling class, their virtues in family affairs are even more significant for the whole country”. Machiavelli who emphasized on the meaning of lie for politicians also argued with the moral side of the issue, although in his original manner. He emphasized that the lie should not serve as the instrument for gaining individual politician’s preferences or pursuing private interests but exclusively for preserving and increasing power. The need of choice between good and evil again comes to the fore and gains new sound because of the high level of politicians’ responsibility. This responsibility requires special politicians’ attention and efforts towards following the moral concepts instead of adjusting them to their private interests and justifying unethical behaviors, including lying. Here is the second argument for the politicians’ truthfulness.
Lie as Unnatural Human Behavior
It seems that the choice between telling the truth and lie is just the process of reasoning and situational reaction to the reality. However, everyone knows the feeling when everything seems to be good reasoned, but the strong sense does not allow to act in a reasonable way, directing that it is a disgusting or a disrespectful decision. People cannot gain such strong reflex, helping them orient in the complicated, contradictory situations, as well as intuition occurs quickly, effortlessly, and automatically. It is the strongest argument for the innate nature of truthfulness, which is trying to be undermined by some of the modern scientists who are defenders of the dominative role of reasoning. The philosophical studies confirm it claiming that a person should constantly cultivate the fundamental virtues through practicing “needed to develop so-called “virtuosity” on a musical instrument” in order to succeed in the complicated moral choice between good and evil, truth and lie. Persons could cultivate something only when they have the preconditions to have this in their nature. This assumption has its confirmation in modern psychological theories. The Haidt’s moral foundation theory that emphasizes human internal moral intuition is the most famous. It demonstrates a range of persuasive arguments that prove innate nature of human morality grounded on five foundations, and fairness belongs to the most crucial of them. Haidt underlines interrelation between motivation and practical result as the brightest evidence of truth’s innate nature. He claims that the link between moral reasoning and moral action is quite weak, while the link between moral emotions and moral action is much stronger. Thus, going reverse, one can conclude that the lie is unnatural and unethical human behavior in all spheres, including business and politics that used to be considered as the field for manipulations. However, even such mundane issues could not be cut off the moral concepts, as well as they are inextricably linked to the equity, equality, worth, and the like moral issues which are beyond the scope of the cash register. Thus, it is quite natural to operate with the innate sense of truth, as well as the line between good and evil lies in the center of every human heart.
Truth as the Foundation of Democracy and Guarantee to Equal Rights for Access to the Information
It is worth admitting that the truth and fairness play the crucial role in the interrelation between the politicians’ and society in terms of the political trust. When electorate has the strong faith to the politicians and their actions related to the procedural affairs, as well as to the process of distribution of benefits and burdens, it accepts even disadvantageous outcomes much more willingly. Only one case of lie could much significantly shake their position then it could do oppositionists’ machinations or activity of the groups interested in the politicians’ fail.
Moreover, fairness in the sense of equality may also be observed as the equal access to the valid and true information that is an integral element of democracy. In this concern, politicians’ truthfulness has special significance for the health system of public administration. People have the right to know everything and make their individual moral decision. In that way, they participate in solving common problems and challenges that have the crucial influence on each life and fate. The lie deprived people of this right. The lie is the lie and nothing else, despite the existence of numerous political technologies claiming about the need to protect social common interests. Promoting the public interests by means of good public policy decision making is the best strategy for any politician.
After all, the majority of observed philosophical, political and psychological theories argued that the truth and the notions related to it have great human and political value. The system of interrelation of truth - faith is a defining factor in the communication in all its levels and areas. Violation of this system means the crisis in any relational sphere, especially policy, that implies a huge scale of consequences. People should not only expect the politician to be truthful but require the truthfulness to free their access to the objective information. Operating with the false information society has no chance to develop in the correct direction. Despite the unpredictable consequences that the truth may cause, it is undeniable to move forward trough the solving crisis. However, everyone should understand that politicians are just the same people with the inherent human weaknesses and should not be radical in their requirements. When politicians should remember that power and truth is the prerogative of the morally strong persons, and they should meet people’s expectations. Only such balance can help to save the social harmony, stability, and progressive development.
Logan Riley is a talented writer at the site where everyone can find a lot of useful tips. He likes to express his thoughts on paper.

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