Ethics and Politics

Ethics and Politics

A moral being looks on other human beings as ends and not means. Is there such a thing as a moral being? Shrewd behavior implies inducing another to do what suits me. The other’s intention is to get me to do what suits him or her. We relate as politicians. One competes, expands, conquers, rather than be a loser who cannot defend his or her own interests. Self-respect compels expansion. Power wants to grow, every organization is happy when it is growing. Civilization would be impossible without politics. Thanks to politics we can coexist in competition. Without politics, we would still stand around the entrance of a cave, occasionally clubbing each other. What is a good marriage if not an eternal game of subtle politics played by husband and wife? The instrument of successful politics is as large as possible a consensus, and its dominant instrument is not force but persuasion and seduction. For the I the Thou is simultaneously end and means. Our lives are at the same time both moral and sinful. That is the human drama, and with vital differences of scale this is true of all politics, including that which intellectuals in Eastern Europe obtained, thanks to their writings and their spiritual deeds, even if they did not desire it. The intellectuals of our region have outgrown their minority; the opportunity and responsibility of exercising power is theirs.

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Lima