Morality and Ethics in Government

There are many debates that rage on. An example centers on life and death. While virtually all Americans, with rare exception, believe we should not murder without consequence or recourse, some believe in killing people for capital offenses (death penalty), others believe in killing people who no longer believe they want to live (euthanasia), and still others believe that killing people is tolerable as long as the victim still in the mother’s womb (abortion), or immediately after (infanticide.) Some few believe it is acceptable to kill members of a different race, religion, or nationality.

This debate and these choices, in almost all cases, stem from our personal foundational principles. In the above examples, for instance, murder is considered wrong until a human surrenders his legitimate humanity by murdering, or until a human no longer wants to live, until a mother no longer wants an unborn child, or until a human being is considered evil and illegitimate by birth, belief, or place of birth.

We differentiate between morality and ethics by weighing morality along with other considerations to produce our ethic. Morality takes a single role, along with practicality, economics, legality, ability and sustainability, available supply, etc. By this expanded form of morality, we may arrive at what we consider an ethical decision that violates our morality.

Unfortunately, this applies in government more than even in business or private affairs. Morality is often the last consideration, and ethics of any form may take a backseat to being reelected.