In This thread there is a debate on ethics and fairness in politics and the role things like bribery or intimidation can or should play in the political process.
In my day to day life I am fairly equitable and polite, however when I feel my values or safety are at threat, most of those values and ethics go out the window. As an example, I do not support randomly going around screaming at people while ordering them around, but have no qualm about the military being full of seargents who go around screaming at people while ordering them around because I feel doing so will allow me to live a life where I do not have to be exposed to that kind of behavior (militancy and domination). I support authoritarianism to keep myself safe from authoritarianism.
When a nation like France in WW2 uses authoritarian structures (such as the military) it is to defend a way of life where people are not exposed to authoritarianism (aka freedom from the Nazis).
I know its kosher to say ‘the military fights for our freedom’ but the vast majority of military interventions seem to revolve more around strategic interest, economic interest or political agendas. And the French fighting against the Nazis is one of the few examples I can think of where a military actually fought for freedom, as well as a few of the early Israeli wars against Arab states.
But my point is that I do not support militancy and authoritarianism in my day to day life, but I support them to protect a way of life where I am not exposed to militancy and authoritarianism. I support injustice to protect myself from injustice.
I do not support blackmail, intimidation, double standards in my day to day life. However I do support them in politics and military operations. I am a progressive liberal and generally support the democratic party. The Democratic party tends to get large amounts of money from labor unions while the GOP tends to get large amounts of money from corporations.
I would support a law designed to limit corporate donations to $100, but allow labor unions to make as large of a donation as they would want. The result of this is that in each election cycle the democratic party would have hundreds of millions more cash on hand than the GOP.
I would support the same thing in a military operation. If the US military wants to bomb enemy supply lines while building newer and better supply lines to fund US forces, I have no problem with that.
I guess a distinction I have is the ‘us/them’ dichotomy. Many people feel more comfortable drawing an ‘us/them’ line between nations, but not among people within the nation. So double standards in war are acceptable, but double standards in politics are not. However other people I have met do not even support the ‘us/them’ dichotomy in war which is understandable since most wars are fought by impoverished young males who were conscripted and fed propaganda, but started by wealthy political leaders.
However I do not support such unfair double standards in my day to day life. I don’t wait for someone else to fill their car with gas, and then go siphon it. However I do let plants and animals do the hard work of anabolism, then I kill and eat them to steal their organic products (macronutrients, micronutrients).
So I feel in politics, war, defending self and defending loved ones most of my morals don’t apply. However I do have certain ground rules. I wouldn’t support violating certain basic civil and human rights, nor would I support intentionally harming innocents as a form of blackmail.
But I really don’t get why my values are the way they are because there are some inconsistencies.
Here are examples:
Would I support passing a law making it illegal for republicans to vote on election day? No. Would I support bombing and destroying the industrial infrastructure of enemy nations so they cannot maintain a war? Yes.
Would I support hiring 5 million hookers to seduce 5 million republican men in swing states, then blackmail those men into either staying home or voting democratic? No. Would I support using sexual blackmail on enemy generals during a war? Yes.
Would I support laws designed to ban voter ID laws (which make it harder for democrats to vote) while supporting same day registration, making election day a national holiday and increasing funds for voter registration (which help the democratic party)? Yes.
Would I support using public funds to fund groups like ACORN which register voters who lean democratic? Yes. Would I support using public funds to fund insurgency groups who fight against military enemies? Yes.
The GOP uses a revolving door of high paying jobs for ex-congressmen to control their votes. If you vote with the party you get a good paying job after you retire. If you don’t, you do not. Would I support dismantling the GOP revolving door but building a democratic revolving door to build party unity among progressives but harm it among the GOP? Yes. I fully support double standards to promote party unity among the party I identify with in politics.
If there were a minority report situation and I knew someone was going to molest my nieces in a year, and the only way to stop it was to let him be run over by a drunk driver, would I support it? Yes. Would I let his kids be run over by a drunk driver so he was at the funeral the day he was supposed to molest my nieces? No.
I’m wondering if I consider the right to vote different than using money as influence. I would not support laws designed to prevent republicans from voting. However I would support laws which made it harder for republicans to fundraise. I wouldn’t try to stop republican voter registrations. And I honestly don’t think I’d oppose using public funds for GOP voter registration. However I’d be far far more likely to support using public funds (which are designed to benefit everyone, not just a small segment of the population) to support the progressive wing of the democratic party which represents a small fraction of the US population.
I guess I’m confused. My morals and ethics seem all weird and contradictory. I do not support voter suppression of the GOP, however I support economic suppression of the GOP. I also support using public funds (which are designed for the public good) to advance a political party (the democratic party) that only represents 1/4 of the public (the rest of the public are either GOP or don’t care enough to vote). And I support double standards to destroy their party unity and build my own. And my standards for defending my political interests are more egalitarian than the ones I used to defend my national interest. I will support unethical behavior in war that I would not support in politics.
I’d be fine with the US assassinating leaders of enemy movements, while keeping our leaders safe. I was one of the few liberals who was OK with Cheney’s death squads (Delta and DEVGRU operators who went around the globe assassinating leaders of Al Qaeda). I don’t support Cheney being in charge of a group like that, but I do not oppose the idea.
I do not support torture during war. I do not support using people’s love for their families as a way to control them by threatening to harm their families.
I eat animals, but I will switch to hydroponic meat when the opportunity arises. Plants are not sentient, so I do not feel bad about eating them.
All in all my morals and ethics seem contradictory on a variety of levels.
Do you apply the same ethics when your values and interests are threatened (threats to self, family, nation or political values or whatever else you value and identify with) that you use in your day to day life (I personally think anyone who says yes to this question is lying, but I want to see the responses)? What ground rules do you apply and why did you pick them? Do those rules apply across the board to all your values or do you apply one set to family and another to an issue like nation? When/where would you be willing to violate those ground rules?