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“Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands” By Michael Walzer
In the article “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands” its author, Michael Walzer, examines many different aspects of the political world and poses many moral questions regarding to the actions made by the government and how we view these decisions based on the outcomes they produce.
Walzer first states that “Dirty Hands Politics” are found heavily in democratic based governments because of our high moral and ethical code as opposed to nondemocratic governments in which the moral standards are more relaxed. The idea of Dirty Hands Politics is that the end justifies the means, a Machiavellian way of thinking. Simply put, this article claims that people act in “bad” ways for morally “good” reasons. A politician comes into office with the intent to tell the truth and only do what is morally right but faces an issue; in order to get the outcome that benefits the majority, ethical wrongs must be committed. Take for example torturing a prisoner who knows where bombs around a city are, although we understand it is wrong to torture, it is a must in order to save the lives of countless others. A politician who discussed how torture is wrong during their campaign, but still issues the order to torture the prisoner, is not morally wrong in the Dirty Hands Politics because they understand their decision is wrong but know it will benefit in the long run. Walzen also discusses the Utilitarianism
views that committing a bad deed is necessary for getting to the overall good goal and if a politician is unwilling to break a moral rule then they will not be able to complete what they set out to do and will not fulfil the duties of their office. In recap, Dirty Hands Politics is necessary because morally correct actions do not always get us to the goal and the power struggle among political forces them to ...
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