Turn on thread page Beta

Bush and Ethics watch

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    The current American president is probably one of the most "moralistic" president ever. In his speeches, he does not limit his ambitions on the US national interest, but he has also ambitions with regards to the moral highground. He often makes references to moral considerations, doing the "right" thing etc.

    One example would be his "Axis of Evil"-speech. He did not merely brand Iran, North Korea and Iraq as enemies of the US, but as plain evil - in absolute terms. There was a moral component to it.

    Peter Singer (Princeton philosophy professor; utilitarist; highly controversial inter alia because of his views on animal liberation and euthanasia) has just published a book on the subject:
    The President of Good and Evil

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

    I am wondering what you're views are about Singer's book (if you happen to have read it) and the president's ethics.

    To kick-off the discussion, I would like to put a simple question to Bush's supporters on this forum (of which there are quite a few):
    Bush justified the killing of tens of thousands of innocents in Iraq by the prospect of a free Iraq, where ultimately less people will die prematurely than would have died if Saddam had stayed in power. So, Bush justifies the killing of innocents, by arguing that in the future more people will be saved.

    However, on stem-cell research, he argues that no embryoes should be killed for research-purposes. That's why he cut federal funding for stem-cell research. Even assuming that embryoes have the same right to life than other human beings, why do they deserve to be saved, even if their sacrifice would result in many more people to be saved in the long-run due to results in medical research?


    By the way, I don't want this to become a stupid Bush-bashing thread. I would like to engage in a good and honest conversation with both Bush-supporters and critics of the US administration.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    In my opinion Bush does contradict himself many times. Often he justifies something on a purely moral and ethical grounds which then causes trouble when justifing another action. Using moral reasons is never a good idea becuse you cannot sway someone definitely just because of a moral objection to it, as everyone has different ideas of what is right and wrong. An example would be abortion (sorry to bring it up-but it's a good example) one of his main objections is that it is killing, but everyone has a different idea of when a foetus turns into a baby. If there was hard scientific proof against abortion he would have a much stronger argument. I think his openness about his religion also weakens many of his arguments. A man in his position should be able to base his decisions on more than the Bible, in my opinion it shows a week personality if you make all you judgements on religious grounds.
    In my opinion Bush uses moral arguments too often, and although these may convince the relgious and ignorant one only has to question him before they realise how often he contradicts himself.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Louise_1988)
    In my opinion Bush does contract himself many times. Often he justifies something on a purely moral and ethical grounds which then causes trouble when justifing another action. Using moral reasons is never a good idea becuse you cannot sway someone definitely just because of a moral objection to it, as everyone has different ideas of what is right and wrong. An example would be abortion (sorry to bring it up-but it's a good example) one of his main objections is that it is killing, but everyone has a different idea of when a foetus turns into a baby. If there was hard scientific proof against abortion he would have a much stronger argument. I think his openness about his religion also weakens many of his arguments. A man in his position should be able to base his decisions on more than the Bible, in my opinion it shows a week personality if you make all you judgements on religious grounds.
    In my opinion Bush uses moral arguments too often, and although these may convince the relgious and ignorant one only has to question him before they realise how often he contradicts himself.
    Although I think religion ought to stay out of politics, I think that politics without ethics is bad politics.

    A leader ought to develop a moral code, based on rational considerations. The problem with Bush's morals, it seems, are that they are inconsistant and certainly not rational.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zizero)
    Although I think religion ought to stay out of politics, I think that politics without ethics is bad politics.

    A leader ought to develop a moral code, based on rational considerations. The problem with Bush's morals, it seems, are that they are inconsistant and certainly not rational.
    Morality is so subjective I think it should be used a little as possible and always backed up with some kind of proof, too often people make moral decisions purely on religious grounds and although Bush is too tactful to say this, I believe his is an offender.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zizero)
    The current American is probably one of the most "moralistic" American Presidents ever. In his speeches, he does not limit his ambitions on the US national interest, but he has also ambitions with regards to the moral highground. He often makes references to moral considerations, doing the "right" thing etc.

    One example would be his "Axis of Evil"-speech. He did not merely brand Iran, North Korea and Iraq as enemies of the US, but as plain evil - in absolute terms. There was a moral component to it.
    since we can take a definition of evil to oppose our idea of good and to suggest opposition to the happiness of someone. in relation to the values and happiness of the United States of America, these regimes did indeed oppose what they consider to be 'good', politically and morally, as well as obstructing happiness. yes they are evil. you can argue that this is subjective, which is possible, but as the President of the US this is very sandy ground on which to take and justify political decisions.

    To kick-off the discussion, I would like to put a simple question to Bush's supporters on this forum (of which there are quite a few):
    Bush justified the killing of tens of thousands of innocents in Iraq by the prospect of a free Iraq, where ultimately less people will die prematurely than would have died if Saddam had stayed in power. So, Bush justifies the killing of innocents, by arguing that in the future more people will be saved.


    im not going to debate on a statement that i believe is false. firstly, tens of thousands is highly inaccurate. estimated figures show that the number of civilian casualties is around the 10,000 mark. secondly, everyone of these casualties is not directly attributable to the US military. thirdly, not every civilian is innocent. fourth, each innocent life lost is regrettable. but there is a difference between justifying military action in the hope that these figures remain low and justifying a quotable number of deaths as acceptable collateral damage. fifth, Saddam was murdering(morally different) women and children by the hundreds each month. the war may have cost more lives throughout its duration, but fractionally more than would have been tortured, hanged, raped, beaten, fed into shredders by Saddam. and grossly less than would have died under Saddam in the coming years.
    sixth, he also believes the death of american lives for the liberation of Iraq were not in vain.

    However, on stem-cell research, he argues that no embryoes should be killed for research-purposes. That's why he cut federal funding for stem-cell research. Even assuming that embryoes have the same right to life than other human beings, why do they deserve to be saved, even if their sacrifice would result in many more people to be saved in the long-run due to results in medical research?
    there is a) a fundamental belief that nature should be respected and creation of life as its most protected element b) embryoes represent life itself, a pure tabula rasa. they have no ability to determine themselves. the same cannot be said for society. c) embryoes represent the purest form of human life, they cannot be evil, they cannot drive planes into buildings, they in his mentality are sacred, above the fabric of society which is free to determine its future.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Louise_1988)
    In my opinion Bush does contract himself many times.
    contradict?

    Often he justifies something on a purely moral and ethical grounds which then causes trouble when justifing another action.
    Using moral reasons is never a good idea becuse you cannot sway someone definitely just because of a moral objection to it, as everyone has different ideas of what is right and wrong. An example would be abortion (sorry to bring it up-but it's a good example) one of his main objections is that it is killing, but everyone has a different idea of when a foetus turns into a baby.
    he justifies something based on his moral and ethical grounds, of which i can ask no more. i dont see how his policies morally contradict one another, let alone how you expect him to make one decision fit every 500million moral reasonings.

    If there was hard scientific proof against abortion he would have a much stronger argument.
    why? because you happen to 'believe' that science is of greater ethic value than spiritual and human belief?

    I think his openness about his religion also weakens many of his arguments. A man in his position should be able to base his decisions on more than the Bible, in my opinion it shows a week personality if you make all you judgements on religious grounds.
    thats why he doesnt. he openly draws strength from christianity and uses it to make personal decisions but,as weve argued before, not once are they solely applicable to his policy making.

    In my opinion Bush uses moral arguments too often, and although these may convince the relgious and ignorant
    those who have different value systems to your own are now ignorant?

    one only has to question him before they realise how often he contradicts himself.
    id be happy to hear an example then! talking of contradictory, its slightly hypocritical to criticise the making of moral arguments when believe yours to be superior in the first place.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zizero)
    A leader ought to develop a moral code, based on rational considerations. The problem with Bush's morals, it seems, are that they are inconsistant and certainly not rational.
    im yet to hear of an example...
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    [QUOTE=vienna95]contradict?






    why? because you happen to 'believe' that science is of greater ethic value than spiritual and human belief?





    QUOTE]

    so do you think ethics should based on what someone thinks or is 'told by god' rather than scientific fact????
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vienna95)
    im not going to debate on a statement that i believe is false. firstly, tens of thousands is highly inaccurate. estimated figures show that the number of civilian casualties is around the 10,000 mark.
    Okay, I apologise. I was subconsciously influenced by pacifist proganda here. It is indeed around 10 000. My mistake. It should not have happened.

    However, that does not change the nature of my argument.

    secondly, everyone of these casualties is not directly attributable to the US military.
    Yes, but that's not the point. I am taking into account all those who would not have died, had Bush not decided to go to war.
    But anyway, even if you only take those into account who were killed by the US military, my argument still stands.
    thirdly, not every civilian is innocent.
    Granted. In fact, nobody in the world is innocent. That's one difference to embryoes. But then again, they contain the potential to "sin". Hitler was also an embryo once.

    You may of course argue, that it is not the potential of a being that counts, when we assess its moral value and to what extent it has a right to life.

    But then again, isn't the sole reason, embryoes have a right to life, similar or equal (in your view (as I understand)) to ours, that they have the potential to become human beings? I mean, what else differentiates them from just a bunch of cells?

    fourth, each innocent life lost is regrettable. but there is a difference between justifying military action in the hope that these figures remain low and justifying a quotable number of deaths as acceptable collateral damage.
    I don't really see what you mean here. Those who decided to go to war in Iraq knew that civilians would die prematurely and violently as a result of their decision to go to war. They didn't know the exact figures, but they did know, that the number of casualties would probably be in the thousands.

    fifth, Saddam was murdering(morally different) women and children by the hundreds each month. the war may have cost more lives throughout its duration, but fractionally more than would have been tortured, hanged, raped, beaten, fed into shredders by Saddam. and grossly less than would have died under Saddam in the coming years.
    sixth, he also believes the death of american lives for the liberation of Iraq were not in vain.
    That is how Bush justifies the loss of life that followed from his decision to go to war. Perfectly valid argument and I'm not questioning it.

    That approach is very utilitarian: The death of a certain number of people as a result of my actions is okay if I save a greater number of people by these actions.

    What I am criticizing is that Bush is not consistent in applying those utilitarian principles on other areas, such as stem-cell research.


    there is a) a fundamental belief that nature should be respected and creation of life as its most protected element b) embryoes represent life itself, a pure tabula rasa. they have no ability to determine themselves. the same cannot be said for society.
    What about dog or ant embryoes then? What makes human embryoes different and worth saving?

    c) embryoes represent the purest form of human life, they cannot be evil, they cannot drive planes into buildings, they in his mentality are sacred, above the fabric of society which is free to determine its future.
    Only a very small part of the civilians killed in Iraq are likely to ever drive planes into buildings.

    And by the way, embryoes have the potential to be evil, the potential to drive planes into buildings, just as they have the potential to become human beings, which is the very justification for their protection (or at least the most currently used justification).

    Of course they are innocent, because they have not had the opportunity to act yet. That does not make them any better than us.

    The fact that they are weak and are incapable of doing evil, does not give them the automatic right to life. The same applies to any other bunch of cells, yet (I suppose) you would not give the right to life to just any bunch of cells, would you?

    So, answer me this: What is it that confers a greater moral value to embryoes than to any other bunch of cells?

    Why is it more important to save embryoes than to save grown human beings?
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    My argument is that he should not try to make a moral decision for how ever many millions there are in America, yet he does. He feels because he thinks it is moraly wrong therefore everyone else should, he does not approve of abortion therefore he thinks he has a right to stop everyone else doing it.
    I don't believe my moral arguments to be superior I personally feel people should have a choice to make up their own mind on things. If you are anti-abortion then don't have one, if you want to have to go through pregnancy after being raped it is your choice, I am not going to impose my moral feeling on you.
    You say "he openly draws strength from christianity and uses it to make personal decisions but,as weve argued before, not once are they solely applicable to his policy making." I am asuming you are not religious because if you were you would realise that the bible is how strongly religious people make their decisions. He is not knowingly going to go against the bible.
    By ignorant I meant someone who was lacking in enough knowledge to form their own opinion. It was not used as an offensive term to describe anyone whose opinion differs from mine.
    The value he puts on life so regularly contradictory. He values is very highly so thinks that abortion is wrong, and yet will go to war and not let stem cell development to help save lives of those alive. He puts a higher price on the life of an embryo than of an 18 year old solider.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vienna95)
    im yet to hear of an example...
    My example is his positions towards stem-cell research and the sacrifice of around 10 000 civilians in Iraq, which are to me inconsistant.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    [QUOTE=vienna95] those who have different value systems to your own are now ignorant? [QUOTE]


    I think the point she is trying to make is, that to people in Britain it often appears that certain portions of American Society are indeed ignorant, not only to the need for change but also in relation to what occurs outside of america.

    Perhaps this is best demonstrated by the fact that many Americans are realising that the USA is not only disliked by 'extremists' but by hundreds of millions, dare I say I billions, of people around the world.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vienna95)
    im yet to hear of an example...
    Ok, the contradiction between free market capitalism and orthodox christianity.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by zizero)
    My example is his positions towards stem-cell research and the sacrifice of around 10 000 civilians in Iraq, which are to me inconsistant.
    sacrifice?

    and how? his morality in his capacity as a leader is that good should prevail and that we should act to preserve or create good over evil. this is consistent in both cases.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lepr)
    Ok, the contradiction between free market capitalism and orthodox christianity.
    being?

    and relating to Bush as a leader?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    [QUOTE=Cossack][QUOTE=vienna95] those who have different value systems to your own are now ignorant?


    I think the point she is trying to make is, that to people in Britain it often appears that certain portions of American Society are indeed ignorant, not only to the need for change but also in relation to what occurs outside of america.

    Perhaps this is best demonstrated by the fact that many Americans are realising that the USA is not only disliked by 'extremists' but by hundreds of millions, dare I say I billions, of people around the world.
    need i say more.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vienna95)
    being?

    and relating to Bush as a leader?
    Capitalist greed vs the compassion of christianity.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lepr)
    Capitalist greed vs the compassion of christianity.
    capitalism is not a doctrine of greed and does not oppose acts of compassion.

    how does this relate to Bush as a leader
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    [QUOTE=Cossack]
    (Original post by vienna95)
    contradict?






    why? because you happen to 'believe' that science is of greater ethic value than spiritual and human belief?





    QUOTE]

    so do you think ethics should based on what someone thinks or is 'told by god' rather than scientific fact????
    you should have grasped that this is not the point...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vienna95)
    capitalism is not a doctrine of greed and does not oppose acts of compassion.

    how does this relate to Bush as a leader
    Bush is pro-capitalist and a born again christian.

    Perhaps I phrased it poorly, but surely even someone as biased as you can see there is contention between christian ethics and free market capitalism.

    'The love of money is the route of evil' vs let's make as much money as we can

    Give money to the poor vs you have no obligation to have your assets taken away
 
 
 
Poll
Do you think parents should charge rent?
Useful resources

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.