Morality and Governance

For me to point out right or wrong behaviour, especially relating to politics and politicians is decidedly suboptimal; I have lived an apolitical life in sheltered surroundings and that does make me a fledgeling and decidedly tendentious apropos politics. My interest was aroused recently when my sedate and staid routine here at Boston, had reached its monotonous peak due to the lull in my favourite cricket, soccer and golf tournaments telecasts for one reason or the other; to my surprise I discovered that the American Presidential news and views on the television were equally absorbing and consuming. I became a regular acolyte of the array of the astonishing newsreaders and the awesome panels of virtuoso experts. They are definitely more endearing, polite and presentable than their counterparts participating on Indian television . I heard no screeching, no screaming, no verbal cross swords and definitively no demeaning or abusive language on the American channels, unlike the spectacle enacted regularly on the Indian TV channels. I need to pause as I have digressed from the discourse.

I witnessed the three contentious and often belligerent and confrontational debates, especially to savor qui vive for punches above and below the belt. The image that emerged is intriguing and also entertaining and fascinating. I have never watched a live la corrida la toros (bullfight) however the depictions in movies and videos have allowed me to conjure and recapture the quintessence of these debates in the virtual bullfight arena.

The bull enters the arena and looks up towards the human multitude yelling and shouting, it then looks all around and finds the lone matador waving a red flag towards him. It rushes towards the scourge fuming and fretting, the matador deftly sidesteps and as the bull brushes past it receives a prick on his backside with a sharp iron spike; the bull fumes and winces, gallops a distance and returns with greater fury and fire, the matador again side steps and with the spike gives a more piercing thrust on bull’s backside. This continues for hours until the judges step in to give respite to the bull, who looks bewildered and tired. This sequence was repeatedly accomplished in the three debates; I leave it to your ingenuity to conjecture as to who is the brash bull and who happens to be the thorny matador! Not very difficult to guess!

On a more serious note the Presidential election is all about governance, the next President will lead not only the American nation but as we have observed, most importantly the free world. With the multitude charges and complaints of moral depravations against one of the candidate, I browsed through the internet to ascertain from articles and books, the validity and competence of governance by such persons in the past. I came across many thoughts and views across the spectrum and the one that I think would provide objective reasoning is reproduced.

The moral behaviour of individual actors may be examined using Kohlberg’s (1984) six-stage model of moral or ethical reasoning. Kohlberg’s framework can be used to ascertain the level of moral reasoning-in-use by various organisational.

  • It is presumed that Level Zero individuals cannot or do not engage in ethical reasoning. They ‘act out … gut emotions’ without thought, impulsively and amorally.
  • Snell (2000: 272) suggests that the remaining stages can be conceived as representing degrees of attempted ‘goodness.’
  • Levels One and Two are used to categorise individuals who respond to outside influences in a self-centred fashion. Level One captures an egocentric ‘fearful, unquestioning deference to authority’ — obedience, fear of retribution — but with no consideration of others.
  • Level Two captures recognition of the self-interest of others, but only serving that interest to benefit oneself.
  • Levels Three and Four represent a morality based on conformity, and the mutual expectation of conformity, to ‘socially-defined standards’ that are given legitimisation by significant or respected others, or by governing institutions.
  • Level Three behaviour manifests as an orientation to interpersonal, group or organisational approval, a disposition to loyalty and pleasing others.
  • Level Four extends beyond being the ‘loyal organisation man,’ to a conscience embracing conformity in terms of fulfilling roles and obligations, and as commitment to law and order that enhances the wider social system. In the Soccer system, this may be seen as captured in the world football governing body — FIFA– ‘For the Good of the Game.’
  • Level Five morality extends to recognising and valuing those various human rights, for example, freedom of speech, and notions of justice and welfare that contribute to the general good, and to promoting the ‘greater good’ of the wider community.
  • Level Six morality embraces the validity and personal respect of universal human rights, and of universal principles of justice and welfare, without condition. In a sense, it involves meeting social responsibilities beyond legal and contractual duties (Snell, 2000).

For me to rate the Levels of the two aspirants will be futile and ineffectual as I am not a US citizen and moreover its citizens will give their verdict coming November; however, I do have my opinion as a Citizen Of India and sadly the Level of moral governance of our leaders in power today is Zero!

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