Politics and Morality cannot be Segregated

In Favour

“Virtue is a mean state between two vices, the one of excess and other deficiency.”     —Aristotle

In the modern era of science and technology, politics and morality cannot be divided from each other as the values, ethics and moral discipline do not exist in the political forefront. Politics is an entirely separate issue where the politicians are the sole proprietorship and they hold the position of supremacy in both the private and government sectors. Morality is the motive of imparting social culture meditation, spiritual values and the nature of spreading the socio-cult among the religious community and moral preaches of caste and communism.


Politics and morality are an entirely separate state of affairs where the former rests entirely on leadership and administrative values and the latter rests entirely on cultural, religion and manifestation, system of conduct to spread peace, harmony and morality. Politics cannot be the sole factor in the path of morality, where each one has its own way of approach and the existence of both are necessary in the nature of sole divinity, enmity and religion. Morality cannot be segregated and cast off as both polity and morality are inter-linked to each other in a coherent manner.


Politics has its own way of conduct and to set forth the system of governance and inter-dependence in the conduct of setting up a stable government, appointing various ministers of state, electing the President and Prime Minister and setting up of a manipulative and core leader to challenge and discuss various issues leading to the maintenance and framework of the government in both sectors throughout the country.


Morality, on the other hand, states the nature of culture, caste, religion, pride, prejudice and belief within a social and cultural community. The nature of both polity and morality are inter–connected but each one has its advantages and disadvantages in the way of conduct of progressive and demonstrative mode of relation between each other. Politics and morality have both similarity but looking at it from the point of conduct, politics can never merge with morality as in the political fore-front a leader has to be aggressive, expressive and should possess the instinct of a proper leadership in the manner of coherent and modest framework of rules and regulations and discipline is shown in morality where the instinct one has to possess is of calm, sultry and meditative nature of mind, body and soul etc.


Politics and morality can be downcasted but not segregated from each other as the bonds of linkage are always related to each other. Politics and morality are an hot debate issue as both of them function in a different manner and the cultural and social community rests entirely on both the above factors to build up a strong, unity and diverse nation in the entire world scenario. Morality depends upon the morals of religious preachers such as Swami Vivekananda, Raja Rammohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati etc. in a long list of social and religious preachers who spread, and taught the virtues of unity, culturalibility, fought against discrimination and sacrificed their lives for the development and independence of the nation.


Politics and morality are the two major controversial issues to set up the backbone of a nation’s unity, diversity and integrity to reach the climax of a well magnified, and constructive approach towards the development of the core sanctity of a nation. The history pages reveal that politics is a dirty minded and fool’s destiny where no heroics and power stand forth but morality on the other hand, demonstrates the personal development within an individual and shows, reflects on his/her nature, behaviour and characteristics on the way to approach and face, life with full power, purity and aggression against obstacles, problems and debacles and sought the solution in a systematic and creative manner.


Politics and morality are in the same category of dictatorship, inner peace, stability and core administrative and cultural, ethical versions of textual and factual matters related to the smooth way of handling tough and tardy circumstances which may lead to the ultimate divine soul being show cast in the limelight of peace, purity and religious ferocity to usher in blessings and creation of harmony and moral sanctity of socio-cultural and religious faith accompanied with trust and passion.



“The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.”

—Jeremy Bentham

The great philosopher Jeremy Bentham also went on to say, “Generally, principles and convictions are in conflict with expediency; what is expedient is not moral, and what is moral is almost always inexpedient.” This forms the crux of the conflict between morality and politics. While the pivot of morality is truth and righteousness, the principle motive of politics is interests and benefits. Thus, this short essay argues that politics and morality are and must remain segregated due to mainly the dichotomy between these two concepts.


We live in a pluralist society with differing moral ideals. In a democracy, we elect a government that projects our ideals and promises to implement policies that are in sync with them. However, our differences of opinion do not inhibit discussion of moral and political issues like abortion, death penalty and euthanasia. The government in particular, and politics in general, are founded on the principles of ethics and morality so as to safeguard people’s rights and freedoms. The law aids the government in maintaining the foundation and cohesion of a society. Coupled with individual principles of the people, all these mechanisms are in place to ensure that a healthy society complies with the ethical standards it has set against itself.


However, this ideal view of society betrays practical difficulties and countless defaulters. It remains ideal on paper and has been so since the advent of society and humanist thought.


Secular humanists argue for such an ethical and moral political system that governs an equally upright and moral citizen group. But all is not well with the world and it is an undeniable truism that there are different perceptions of ethics and morality. This adds an inherent duality to politics and morality that is almost impossible to reconcile in everyday reality.


Politics and politicians serve to accomplish the people’s perceptions of reality as represented in their ethical and moral values. While the law serves as a blueprint towards an ethical and just society, it does not cover all moral issues. Ethical issues remain debatable notwithstanding the political stands of the people. A case in point is the recent US elections where abortion and right to life of foetus was a key issue under debate. Generally, what is said aloud and expressed public is understood to be politically correct. Nonetheless, a vast majority of Americans voted against abortion even though exit polls showed an exact opposite outcome. this illustrates how politics and morality occupy separate compartments in the common man’s psyche and it can never really be mixed in the public discourse.


A primary reason for this dichotomy is the diverging motives of politics and morality. Morality goes deeper than ethics in defining human behaviour and conduct. Under this, there is Group Morality and Individual Morality that together form the value base of a given society. These define and chart the course of human history. One of the most fascinating cases illustrating this curious duality is the society of Germany during the Nazi regime. The active discrimination and persecution of Jews found compliance and support among the Germans who certainly had a moral sense. But politics trumped morality in this scenario as it necessitated social survival in a wartorn, poverty ridden Germany trampled under the unjust Versailles Treaty. Politicians and rulers leveraged public resentment and anger for their own self-interests by overturning all semblance of moral principles. But the curious aspect is how such vicious propaganda against the Jews was sugar-coated with a sense of righteousness and nationalism. It was moral to be cruel in Nazi Germany.


This kind of politics of self-interests devoid of universal moral principles is more or less what Machiavelli prescribed. Machiavellian politics primarily dealt with preserving and furthering the interest of the state. It was to be free from the constraints and limitations of moral judgements. In this perspective, the USA dropping the catastrophic atom bombs on Japan during World War II could be justified. But it is curious how Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of the United States, Barack Obama, publicly declared that he would not apologize for the atomic attack, when he was on a state visit to Japan seventy years later ! This incident highlights how politics and morality could not be further apart. Even a gesture of acknowledging one of the most horrific war events of the twentieth century was refused by a head of state for reasons of national pride, foreign policy, and ultimately, politics.


Traditional morality and power politics lock horns not just at the national or international levels but, more commonly, in institutions, organizations and personal lives. In all human group interactions, politics can be seen in the process of making decisions. Competition and quest for power more often than not overtake moral values. In corporate, academic and inter-personal settings, self-interests gain an upper-hand, sometimes at the cost of ethics and morality. The betting scandals in cricket, doping in international games, plagiarism in creative works, notorious fake paintings of famous originals are only some such instances.


Reconciling personal liberty and public interest is another matter where politics and morality remain separated. In India, when homo-sexuality was decriminalised for a brief period, there was praise for public opinion being able to transcend age-old British laws. But when it was re-criminalised, political parties and leaders failed to voice their opinions and bring forth laws since they were afraid of upsetting the conservative vote banks. Similar is the fate of cases of abortion, euthanasia, and right to take one’s own life. In an ideal society, these will be easy to determine since people are seen as a homogeneous entity with identical moral compasses. But in a real, actual society, politics must be separated from morality so that debate and discussion on public moral issues must take place on an arena parallel to the political discourse, and at the same time, away from politics.


Above all, the question whether politics should be subjected to traditional moral principles is a matter that has generated opposing views. First comes the Aristotelian view which Gandhi supported as it sees politics as the pursuit of moral virtue. Here, politics is the means to an end which will guarantee common happiness to the individual and society at large. The opposing view is that of Machiavelli who sees morality in politics as unnecessary, even harmful. However, the fact of the matter is that both morality and politics affect and influence each other in everyday reality. They both equally formulate and regulate human behaviour. Public and private morality exist within the human individual. This governs his/ her actions, socio-political interactions, and even the art of politics. State power too is influenced by this morality.


Ultimately, it is the actions of such individuals that define and determine politics. But politics is also influenced by other factors like power. Here, the duality of motives of politics and morality clash and the resolution is provided by the moral status of the individual. This is illustrated in the process of democracy where the question of whether politics should have any moral qualms or whether morality should be final approval to political activities. Individuals decide this puzzle which is carried out by their representatives who wield power.


Man should be for politics and not politics for man—that should be the motto if one attemps to reconcile the separate entities of politics and morality. In man, if these two came together to bear upon his actions, the state of governance will be greatly enhanced. If it did, the world would have set everything aside to join hands for a healthier greener planet and not choke Earth with pollution and wipe out entire species of flora and fauna. If it did, humanity would have dropped its deadly weapons and nuclear bombs to be a peaceful group defined by cooperation and goodwill. If it did, the next generation would not be born into a toxic, warmongering world divided by ideology and whatnot. Since, these scenarios remain ideal and nearly impossible, so shall politics and morality remain separated.

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