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Ethics Responses, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 925

Essay

1. As we learned in Civics class, the President is elected by the people primarily to execute the laws of the land. As we know further, the President is expected to embody the people’s ideals, protect the national interest, and establish whatever agencies are necessary to implement the complex agenda of the office. For these purposes, the President hires a staff of qualified people. Suppose you are a staff member, hired to keep the President posted on all matters concerning the natural environment. To whom or what are you accountable

  • The person of the President (your friend);
  • The interests of the While House and its staff;
  • The elected representatives of the people;
  • The people;
  • The natural environment?

Adhering to the deontological approach, I would be accountable to the President as the principle of accountability especially for public servants requires accountability to the respective overseeing authority; who is into accountable to the electorate. For instance if asked by a parliamentary committee to offer an account of government policies, the staff should refrain from offering their own views, judgments, recollections or opinions, but instead be helpful as possible by providing accurate, full and truthful information.

2. Are there better ways of handling the complexities of government than by appointing these proliferating staffs? Invent one, and defend it on the following grounds (any and all that apply):

  • Effectiveness (ability to get the job done;)
  • Efficiency (economical use of resources for a given result);
  • Happiness of the people involved;
  • Service to the republic as a whole;
  • Conformity to moral principle, especially those principles that apply particularly to government service.

From a teleological perspective, better ways of handling complexities in the government include effectiveness, efficiency and conformity to the moral principle. According to this perspective that attributes to the existence of design and order, governments are usually well-equipped and entail all the required tools. Therefore, when complexities arise, the best alternative is to ensure that efficiency by officers should maximize resources to ensure effectiveness. Additionally, the officers ought to abide by the moral principle while performing their duties; lest the public feel aggrieved (Katz).

3. The imperative of accountability-which the representative of the people must serve, and appear to serve; only his constituents- has some odd moral consequences. These include, as Rep. Barney Frank mentioned in the television presentation, the demand that the representative cultivate the vice of ingratitude, so that he can accept large sums of money and forget where it came from. What other odd moral behavior seems to follow from the imperative of accountability. Can you think of other professions where the duties incumbent upon the professional demand conduct that would violate ordinary moral principles in nonprofessional situations?

A pastor for instance will be expected to be morally upright as the congregations look up to him for guidance; and lawyers are also bound by practicing policies as they are expected to meter out justice. This teleological perspective works on the basis that an ‘invisible eye’ is watching them.

4. Can we demand higher moral standards of public servants than of other citizens? Why? Because they are public servants, and the public deserves the best? Or because they are in the public eye and misbehavior is harder to conceal?

From an ontological perspective, we can demand higher moral standards of public servants than other citizens because the public looks up to them to deliver according to the prevailing policies. Being in public eye concealing misbehavior is impossible and thus the need for a higher moral standard.

5. Can you show how Jefferson’s theory of revolution (found in shortest form in the Declaration of Independence) follows from John Locke’s theory of government? Could it follow from Hobbes’ theory of government? Under what circumstances?

Jefferson’s theory of revolution is believed to have been derived from John Locke’s theory of government. According to Locke, all individuals are equal as each one is born with certain “inalienable” natural rights that could not be taken away as they were God-given. These fundamental rights included life, liberty and property. Furthermore, Locke argued that individuals ought to be free in making choices in how they run their lives as long as individual liberty and that of others is not interfered with.

Although not directly referring to Hobbes, Locke’s argument that the doctrine of absolute monarchy leaves sovereign and subjects in the state of nature towards one another, seemed to have had Hobbes theory of government in mind. Having become the basis of social and political philosophy afterwards the constructive doctrines that were elaborated in the second treatise link labor to property as well as consent to government. Thus, the link between Locke and Hobbes ideas of independence for the individual person (Locke,).

6. What does it mean for a representative to “vote her conscience”? On democratic theory as we have presented it, is it permissible to “vote your conscience” as a representative? Show how.

I believe from an ontological view that “voting their conscience” involves allowing the electorate to freely choose their candidates without coercion or undue influence. A representative will equally be free to vote according to his conviction as the democratic theory makes provisions up to that effect.

7. Would public financing of elections ease the moral dilemmas of the elected representatives? How? Or why not?

From a teleological angle, funding of elections by the public would ease the representative’s moral dilemmas. This is the case because the public will demand accountability for the expenditure and ultimate performance of the servant.

Works Cited

Katz, Richard S. Democracy and Elections. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Locke, John. “Second Treatise of Government.” In Political Writings, edited by David Wootton. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2003.

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