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Politics and Ethics

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Essay title: Politics and Ethics

Politics is truly one of the greatest developments that mankind has ever had the notion to make. Can you imagine our lives without? I really cannot see our lives operating as smoothly without the existence of politics in one form or another. Almost everything we do in our lives is somehow linked either directly or indirectly to some sort of political ideology. Whether you are buying a candy bar at the store or negotiating international business mergers, politics has had a hand in it. Since politics has being in existence for thousands of years and molds so much of our lives, why is still such a confusing process with so many dissatisfying outcomes? The fact is that politics, to an extent, has to be confusing due to the fact that many of its outcomes are good for us in the long run and not the short. What seems bad now really might be great in the long term.

Human Nature and Ethics

When dealing with politics it is important to take into consideration questions that deal with human nature and politics. For instance, does human nature and or ethics drive our political agenda? And if so, too what extent does it influence us? In order to better understand these questions we need to first understand the meanings of human nature and ethics. When applying these definitions to the political spectrum, human nature essentially refers to the driving force that narrows our political ideology into a path that will maximize our gains with as little output as necessary. Ethics in politics could be confused with human nature, but in fact they are very different. Ethics, like human nature, narrows our political ideology into a path that will also maximize gains; however, ethics differs in the fact that it deals what is best for a group as a whole and not just an individual's personal gain. Ethics provides for a guiding philosophy that strives to provide the best for everyone even if the ideology does not seem like the most effective means to gain.

Now that we understand ethics and human nature we need to use them to divide the outcomes of our political decisions into what we need and what we want. Many people consider needs and wants to be the same exact thing, but in all actuality they could not be more different. When thinking in the political mindset, there are many things that we want and need, but if you really think about it they usually are two completely different things. In addition, each time a decision about a want or need is made; human nature and ethics play an important role. For example, when Tim Iman introduced his political agenda in the late 1990's to reduce the cost of tabs for automobile owners in the state of Washington, the issue of ethics and human nature can be seen in a decision that clearly was a want. What does the revenue from automobile tabs go to? They go to pay salaries of road workers, road repairs, law enforcement, and a number of other public services that the government of the state had set up to help make our communities better places. Granted, the state will find another means to recover lost revenues, but this is just an example of a want creating trouble within the system. In addition, this example clearly illustrates how human nature corrupts the political system. It is in our nature to want to pay as little as possible for a good such as car tabs but on the whole it really is not in the best interest of society due to the fact that we are losing

valuable needs like public safety in order to save a few bucks. If Tim Iman had a political agenda that centered on ethics rather than human nature, it is likely that we would never have seen the car tab reduction. Since ethics focuses on what is best for the group as a whole, the realization would have been that our annual payment of tab fees is actually providing us with services that we need. This is why it is important for us to understand the potential ramifications of all of our political decisions.

The reality of human nature is that it does not always provide us with the proper framework for decision making. This is especially true when it enters into the political arena. Out of the two, ethics is the only real contender that should hold any weight in helping/guiding us in the correct direction. In addition to these two factors, needs and wants also need to be understood in the political world. Like human nature, wants do not really have a place in the political arena. They may provide for what seems like a good idea at the moment, but in all actuality they don't necessarily accomplish many positive outcomes. For these reasons, I feel that is of paramount importance to allow our political ideology to be guided by ethics and needs; for they are truly the only two factors that ensure an overall positive outcome even if they do not present the best looking plan at the beginning.


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