In recent posts there has been much talk about morals, relativism vs. absolutism, and what is deemed right or wrong. It is obvious that we can debate relativism vs. absolutism for an infinite amount of time without coming to a consensus view. This is what is most important, I believe, because one persons views will always differ from the next. While religiosity can be called into play here, it must be stressed every individual in society is brought up uniquely. Each person has their own set of experiences, given-advice, and environmental upbringing, which creates a persons moral standards.
Regardless of calls for moral absolutism, there will always be deviations. With that being said, how does this play in policy making and the electorate? Todays headlines flash the tragic news of New York Governor Elliott Spitzer's involvement in a prostitution ring. It is yet another case of our policy makers getting illegally wrapped up in the very laws they are charged to enforce and follow. It is interesting to note how quickly the electorate will turn on those politicians that are caught in an unfortunate, and sometimes illegal, act. It is common place for an individual to harp on the bad deeds of their politicians, while also performing their own less-than-moral acts.
In the case of Spitzer, it is obvious that he must step down as Governor, but as more of a political and familial decision (much can be said of the politics that pushed this story forward as well as why other flagged politicians have not stepped down as well). Morally, though, is it right that society holds their decision makers to a higher standard then how they hold their own? While moral relativism (in my opinion) is the only possible case for society, is it right to act as moral absolutists in regards to their elected officials? Is public policy more of an "ideas game" than an "individual game"?
Image Source: CBS News
Monday, March 10, 2008