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The Importance Of Moral Dilemmas In Politics

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In regards to politics, there is an aspect of the ethic of ultimate ends that Weber finds incompatible with the empirical evidence seen in the World’s history. F. W. Forster said, “From good comes only good; but from evil only evil follows”(Weber 3). The idea that by having good intentions, you can only produce good consequences is flawed. It also overly simplifies the moral dilemmas people face, particularly in politics. Weber explains, “In that case this whole complex of [ethical] questions would not exist… Not only the whole course of world history, but every frank examination of everyday experience points to the very opposite”(Weber 3). While Weber finds that an ethic of ultimate ends is not applicable in politics by itself, he acknowledges…show more content…
Politics perpetuate violence, and politicians are often in positions where they have the ability to direct others to perform violent acts. Weber says, “Should it really matter so little for the ethical demands on politics operates with very special means, namely, power back by violence?”(Weber 2). Given the larger scope of responsibility, politicians should be able to handle more morally difficult situations. Political theorist Michael Walzer states a possible scenario presented to politicians, “[They asked] whether or not a man can ever face, or ever has to face, a moral dilemma, a situation where he must choose between two courses of action both of which it would be wrong for him to undertake”(Walzer 160). In a scenario where any possible course of action would be morally wrong, a politician would need to be virtuous enough to make the right decision. Put more colloquially, politicians will often find themselves in situations where they cannot help but to get “dirty hands”. Walzer quotes Sartre to explain the theme common to many politicians, “I have dirty hands right up to the elbows. I 've plunged them in filth and blood. Do you think you can govern innocently?"(Walzer…show more content…
Walzer states, “Why is the politician singled out?... He hustles, lies, and intrigues for us-or so he claims. Perhaps he is right, or at least sincere, but we suspect that he acts for himself also. Indeed, he cannot serve us without serving himself, for success brings him power and glory, the greatest rewards that men can win from their fellows”(Walzer 162-162). Weber warns that politics and the power it provides has the ability to corrupt moral individuals. One can begin with good intentions and find themselves influenced by the newfound power they possess. Weber
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