Politics > Determining Political Choice > The Moral Context of Politics (CL6)

The Moral Context of Politics (CL6)

Human beings have developed an ineradicable sense that life involves «something more» than instrumentality and emotionality. For better or worse, this something more gets embodied in society’s moral institutions. These social entities form the context for public sentiment, political activity and governmental choices.

BUT: wasn’t politics supposed to be the context for ethics or even indifferent to ethics?

Impersonal Moral Institutions

Any choice proposed by politicians or pursued by the government touches on areas where certain impersonal moral institutions have authoritative positions as to what is right and good.

So, it is simply impossible for any action affecting the whole of society not to be submitted to moral judgement by these institutions. Conversely, it is impossible for representatives of these institutions not to have a position on which governmental solutions are right and good—and which are evil and reprehensible.

Moral judgements and positions are articulated by individuals but are dependent on the community. The importance that society assigns to «what is right and good» reflects the existence of the Transcendentalist mode in politics.

Is Morality Social or Private?

Addition of the moral context of politics: the personal principles of members of society make and their cultural identity.

What is considered «right and good» in society is determined by its natural moral institutions. These institutions—especially popular morality, ethical doctrines, and religion—forge the cultural identity of a society. Society as a whole possesses the cultural identity, not any particular individual. However, this identity is felt and assumed by each and all. It impacts on government as a powerful controlling force.

Nevertheless, independent of what the cultural position may be, individuals find that they have personal moral responses to social problems, events, political proposals and government solutions. Such responses may be referred to the culture, but…Closed no single person can claim to uniquely manifest the culture. Personal responses, if they occur, emerge from inner ethical principles and value systems that keep a person gyroscopically oriented to what is right for him or her and for their community. These values determine a core personal identity and shape commitment.

So the transcendentalist mode manifests as two Centres:

In terms of dominance, the cultural identity (CL6S) is monolithic and virtually unmanageable, while personal principles (CL6P) are varied and only sometimes activated.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 12 June 2014.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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