Relationship between morality and politics?

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by GoldenGary, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. GoldenGary

    GoldenGary Guest

    What is the proper relationship between politics and morality? Should one's morality make one's politics? Can there be effort to aim at a neutral ground where politics and morality are divorced from each other? What should the ideal ethical system to guide politics be?

    I think that a neutral ground is somewhat possible and that the minimization of government influence and a basic rights framework can achieve such a goal, but of course, that could be my self-deceiving perception, however, my ideal government only puts in place a few of my moral ideals, while ignoring many if not most.

    I do recognize that others will likely disagree with my claim of a system somewhat neutral to actors within the system, or my desire for neutrality.

  2. Mecha

    Mecha Guest

    The only reason your question exists is your obfusication of meaning through use of the word "morality" and "politics". Simply choosing solid coherent definitons for each answers the supposed question.

    ...Of course, social policy should be in line with what I think: I'm right. Other people are wrong.

  3. tipsycatlover

    tipsycatlover Registered Member

    One's morality makes one's politics. A person who believes that stealing is wrong and immoral will not likely vote for someone who has already dipped into the public till. There are those who think that positions of trust entitles a person to an occasional pocketing of public money. That's why the corrupt and immoral are elected to office. Otherwise, how would Los Angeles have gotten Antionio Villaraigosa as mayor.
  4. Mecha

    Mecha Guest

    Hardly. In practice, the deciding factor for a person's voting practices are a few choice words from a canidate for the right issue (also possibly subsituted for having an R or D next to their name), or in the case of a few too many people: the end result of a series of half-baked smatterings of thought and intuition.

    Besides the simple logic of "If the voters of an area don't mind a politician taking some of their money, it isn't stealing.", do you really think that the people who vote for people who have been convited/accused of taking the public's money are aware of, believe its true, and have no other overriding considerations for their vote? Your, for lack of a better term, moralizing the degenerecy of the politicians directly onto the voters (without even using "majority/minority" distinctions!) is fuzzy-minded at best. And was that a postulation from ignorance on the tail end of your post there? For shame.

  5. GoldenGary

    GoldenGary Guest

    Oh, I didn't even state social policy! Do you think that the only moralizing comes in at social policy? After all, the same rhetoric of rights and wrongs comes in on the economic policies and proper government organizations, as efficacy isn't the sole reason people pick economic policy.

    Not exactly, moral intuition is found as a driving force in political choices on the left and the right. Basically, whenever someone speaks of justice, rights, divine forces, or anything of that nature we find morality involved, and this happens to be a lot of the time. In fact, the relationship between morality and politics is placed on a few internet quizzes and I believe that a language expert has actually written a book on the matter.
  6. Mecha

    Mecha Guest

    In determining an acceptable form of government, a consensus for many ethical decisions (ie slaves are property; or only white men with property get to vote) and a way to resolve the rest (ie Constitutional amendment process and division of powers) must be decided upon. In the case of the later, it is an ethical decision which defines future resolutions. Hence, one's current ethical outlook would determine your optimal social policy (which, is a term includes the political system itself, mind you; while we're on the subject: economic policy is a subsection of social policy even in a strict sense) for turning your ethical positions into reality.

    Example: You think society should be run by certain people. The society already being semi-democratic, thus, you would try to restrict input in the system to produce said effect. Be it restricting voting rights to some degree (completely or simply erecting a series of legal barriers), or cultivate non-government factors (ie racism, prejudice, etc) to manipulate political input. Or nothing at all if the demographics are in your favor enough. Or overthrow and form a dictatorship if you are in the minority enough.

    Essentially: in choosing any way of doing things, decisions are made. Hence, either voters are willing to leave each other alone, or they are not. Or the system could ignore the section of the population whose input results in interfering in your "neutral" area (most often the mechanism used is requiring a super-majority for decision type-x). Hence, there is no such thing as a moral-neutral system.

    Thus the proper relationship between "morals" and politics is the application of sound ethical decisions (logic, essentially).

  7. GoldenGary

    GoldenGary Guest

    Technically, all modern governments have already had establishsed systems. Really though, a social policy of minimal intervention is not much of a social policy at all and leaves individuals to decide their own actions without involving others. I think that the problem is terminology, look at your political compass score: I call social issues to be the ones involving authoritarianism versus libertarianism, which means that I call social policy to be things involving intervention into these affairs. Really though, does the absence of law happen to be a law? Is an attempt of neutrality towards individual choices a very unneutral decision?
    But I would really prefer society not being run or controlled by anyone as control means that certain objectives will be weighted by those in control and forced upon others.
    But, is the absence of a law a law?
    Is there a such thing as a provably sound ethical decision? A random thing to state and actually rather useless to the argument, however, let's just state this: if politics is an application of morality, how can people of different moralities exist in the same society? Any law that we make must be an oppression of one to favor the other is it not? All people have different moral structures as well. Are all political systems oppression?
  8. Mecha

    Mecha Guest

    The absence of law in a system of law is the rule of law. Its the difference between anarchy and an extreme degree of libertarianism, for example.

    A secular worldview with strong debate is as close as it gets. You ever read an ethics paper by someone skilled in rhetoric? Nothing else gets close.

    One must be chosen to govern society. Possibly one formed by compromise, for example.

    Any particular system is probably going to be considered oppressive by someone, yes.

  9. GoldenGary

    GoldenGary Guest

    That doesn't make sense as the rule of law is a part of a system of a government following law. Now, I mean, I might get where you get that interpretation as rule of law has to do with only following known, predetermined laws, but still it has nothing to do with what is stated. I don't really get how you make the jump from no action taken and a concept found in western political science.
    A secular worldview based upon what though? There is reality and there is metaphysics. Morality is the latter and the secular is the former. Given the fact that no moral system can be stated as perfect or argued as all encompassing, there is still a strong need to create a system that tries to give a semi-equal weight to the moral codes of the individuals within.
    But why govern? If action leads to favoritism and favoritism necessarily interferes with moral choice, something beyond human knowledge, will governing be desirable?
    Why create a system? One can create a few rules without going so far as to create a system.
  10. Mecha

    Mecha Guest

    Would you give equal weight to a moral code that requires intervention into other's lives? Or directly acting upon them?

    You have to ask? Are you aware of what the world is like without government?



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