Responses To Three Issues In Government: Morality, Conservativism And Sartre's The Wretched Of The Earth

1765 words - 7 pages

1. Morality and Government"Athenians. For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences- either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."(From The History of The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides)QUESTION:What would George Kennan say about the above statement? Does he believe in international accepted standards of morality? Do you? Would Socrates disagree with Kennan? Would Kennan agree with Machiavelli that a Prince should learn "how to be other than good and to use or not to use his goodness as necessity requires." Explain your answer. What are the implications of Kennan's comments on "defense has developed into a national addiction" (Hazan 277) for international affairs. Is this "addiction a case of a society "captive to its own lies?" Does Vance support or reject a human rights approach? Are Kennan's and Vance's thoughts on morality and human rights in foreign policy rendered moot by 911?Many modern political thinkers and theorists argue that political activity, is, or at least idealistically should be, a simple extension of morality. The question remains of whether a supposedly moralistic government may forcibly impose its interpretation of morality onto another independent governmental entity. Philosophers have argued vehemently with regards to this essential issue - with viewpoints transcending the dialectical scope. From arguments ultimately centralizing moralistic theory to arguments reducing it to a fundamental weakness of ineffective factionalized government, the gamut has been run with regards to this issue.George Kennan states that "government's primary obligation is to the interests of the national society it represents, not to the moral impulses that individual elements of that society may experience." Diametrically opposed to this Machiavelli propounds the theory that "it is necessary for a prince to know how to use both natures and that one without the other has no stability." For a Machiavellian theorist, it is ultimately essential that government be inextricably intertwined with the moral factions within. For a Socratic thinker, the essence of government is morality - not only are the concepts inextricably intertwined, they are ultimately synonymous - starkly opposed to the Kennan rationale.One of the main tenants of Machiavellian theory is the dual nature of a government's responsibility - both to "goodness" and the fundamental preservation of...

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