We must elect ethical decision-makers

By By John Corlock and By John Corlock

By John Corlock

There’s no such thing as an honest politician. It’s so common an idea that you might not even give it a second thought, but that doesn’t mean that we ought to accept unethical behavior from our elected officials. Just the opposite: We should do our best to ensure that those people we elect are as ethical as possible.

If ethics is worth anything at all, then we ought to be able to say that, at a minimum, an ethical decision is better than an unethical decision. If a baker was selling bread that was causing his customers to become sick, he would quickly find himself out of customers. Ethics is in the business of telling people that they should do some things and shouldn’t do other things, and, like the baker, if ethics were peddling propositions that were bad for people to follow, it would quickly run out of people who would listen.

With this in mind, it is only natural to say that those people who make ethically good decisions, all things considered, make better decisions than those who don’t. This is precisely the quality that we ought to be looking for in our elected officials. When we elect a person, we are saying to them, “Go make decisions for us!” You wouldn’t want an accountant who couldn’t do math, or a singer who was completely tone-deaf; likewise, you wouldn’t want a decision-maker who makes bad decisions. Furthermore, how can you tell if an accountant can do math, or that a singer can sing? By seeing them do the thing they claim to do!

If an accountant told you he was a good accountant, but upon reviewing his work it was clear that he frequently made mistakes, you would be forced to conclude that he was not a good accountant. If a singer told you he was a good singer, but upon hearing him he was never on key, you would be forced to conclude he was not a good singer. If a politician claims to be a good politician, yet he makes bad decisions, then he is a bad politician. It would be just as stupid to knowingly elect a bad politician as it would be to hire a bad accountant.

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Editor’s Note8212;John Corlock is the community outreach chair for the U Philosophy Club.

John Corlock