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I have discovered that all of my problems with the Republican Party can be conveniently condensed into one issue. That issue is ethics. Merriam-Webster defines ethics as "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation," "a set of moral principles or values," "a theory or system of moral values," "the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group" and "a guiding philosophy." I disagree with the GOP's apparent new definition of torture. I do not share their moral principles or values. This is a matter of ethics. I disagree with the GOP's plan to pass off privatization of Social Security as a cure for the system's future fiscal issues. This is dishonest and a matter of ethics. I disagree with the GOP's recent manipulation of the House of Representatives ability to enforce ethics. This shows the party's lack of respect for ethics.

I disagree with the GOP's intention to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent. This is the single largest contributor to our national debt. Putting your debt off to future generations is unfair to those future generations and is a matter of ethics. I disagree with the GOP's intention to amend our Constitution to discriminate against a minority group of Americans. This is a matter of ethics. I disagree with the GOP's obfuscation and outright lies in regard to what information was known about the threat of terrorism prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This is dishonest and a matter of ethics. I disagree with the GOP's willingness to pay journalists to clandestinely promote the Party's positions on various issues. This is dishonest and a matter of ethics. I have many more of these disagreements and I'm sure that everyone out in Kos land can add to this list. What I'd really like to see, though, is for this to become the Democratic mantra. The Republicans do much better than the Democrats when it comes to framing the negatives of the opposition. I want to see the Democratic Party become the party of ethics. I want every Democratic member of Congress to begin their responses to Republican measures and issues with the statement, "It's a matter of ethics, this budget strips away vital support for the poorest Americans while giving the richest among us a tax cut." "It's a matter of ethics, indefinitely detaining persons without giving them a day in court is against all of the principles America stands for..." "There they go again, Wolf, it's a matter of ethics, there were no controls put in place for the distribution of the billions of dollars of reconstruction money. Now it can't be tracked and we don't know whether it went toward the seemingly insurmountable task of restoring electricity and water or ended up with insurgents."

Originally posted to Peace Monger on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 08:39 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My three biggies are... (none)
    1. Ethics
    2. Fiscal Irresponsibility
    3. Fear

    The Cognitive Dissonant... "Bringing Marshmallows to the Firestorms of Freedom!"

    by Dood Abides on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 08:40:11 AM PST

  •  Ethics (none)
    This is an excellent thought, but of course diehard Republicans do not link the notion of morality with the notion of ethics.  Hopefully ordinary Americans will.

    We must not let them bust our reformist groove. --k9disc

    by NYCO on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 08:51:43 AM PST

  •  morality against ethics (none)
    I would like to co-author a long essay on this idea.  In everyday parlance, morality is about (a) making a distiction between good and evil, and (b) supporting the good.  Ethics is about developing sound procedure and norms and following them.

    A very easy illustration: suppose that you are a prosecutor, you know the guilty party, you know that you do not have sufficient proof to convince a jury but it would be very easy to make up for it.  Ethically, making up a proof (or hiding exonerating evidence) is a no-no.  Morally, it is yes: the bad guy should not get away on technicality -- allowing that would support evil rather than good.

    I got impression from press stories that it is easier to win elections as a moral prosecutor than as an ethical one.

    I see it as a terrible problem.  Large proportion of the electorate supports morality in exactly this sense -- against ethics.  It is a bit of a chasm.  To a person believing in ethics, a "moral" person has no principles -- he or she is ready to cheat, lie, obsfuscate, torture, as long as it supports "good".  We are talking about political, legal, religious and military establishment and voters who approve them.  Of course, "moralists" see "ethicians" as not having principles either.

    A part of the terrible problem is that the part of establishment that believes in ethics kind of understands that principles are difficult to explains, so they try to hide it and obfuscate and reduce their choices to "morality" if possible.

    It used to be that religion was used to support ethics, as in "you cannot build good on evil foundations".  But this is boring mainstream religion that is not irrational enough to satisfy "spiritual needs".  In good old days, people used whisky and martini, nowadays "moral religions" offer a stronger brew.

    Ethics become a joke.  I suspect that if "ethical training" was offered on the topic of sexual harrasment, the course title would be: "Sexual harrasment, how to enjoy it, how to get away with it".

    However, not all is lost.  "Fairness" is a notion that is popularly accepted and ethics is basically codification of "fairness".  But try to tell that we should be fair to an "evil person".  Who do you think you are, Howard Dean?

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