Suited to Rule

I’d thought this was a quote from Plato or Aristotle, but I’m not disappointed to find that wonderful Douglas Adams is responsible for this bit of wisdom. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was filled with such wise idioms.

Well, today we vote and I hope we get someone who won’t suck or embarrass us or make decisions that are selfish or evil or morally corrupt. You can hope. I do hope.

Are those elected more easily corrupted, or do they just generally lack integrity and ethics? Or do the once formally strong in moral fiber slide down a slippery slope of acceptable deceit the longer they’re in office? Is it common for elected officials to hold one set of ethical guidelines for their personal life and another, more “flexible” version for business and politics? Why? How?


I once had a customer who knowingly damaged an item through carelessness right in front of our staff and when asked to pay for it, refused, saying that the company could “eat the cost” easily; a better solution than the individual having to pay for a damaged item. Intrigued, I asked the customer, from the perspective of personal responsibility – what was the right thing to do? They admitted that the right thing to do was to pay for the item they had damaged… but they refused, because:

“…that’s personal and this is business. It’s different.”

“Really?” I asked, “How is it different? Why does your personal integrity not extend to the world of business?”

“This is the real world,” they replied with a laugh, “it just doesn’t.”

“How so?” I asked, “In my world personal responsibility and integrity are the same whether it’s personal, business or politics. The right thing to do is the right thing to do whether it’s public or private, personal or business.”

“Well, you don’t live in the real world.” they said hotly, and I replied “Well, I certainly don’t live in your world, but mine is real enough.” Then they accused me of being a poor employee by starting an argument with a customer. I defended myself and my position by stating that I wasn’t asking them to pay for the item and we were just two people disagreeing over a principle.

The customer did not pay for the damaged item and I pursued the conversation because I really wanted to know how someone could not feel personally responsible for damaging a product or how that could lead to the separation of personal responsibility from public action and setting business or politics apart as a realm where responsibility, ethics and integrity don’t apply.

I don’t think it is a legitimate perspective. Your personal integrity is flawed if it only applies to some areas of your life and is exempt in others where it serves to your advantage. I think the customer knew it too or they would have been much less defensive and angry in exposing their view of personal responsibility in business.

GO. VOTE. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to have an opinion, KEITH.

Discussion ¬

    Victoria says:

    that is an unfair comic. Older siblings are always mean to their younger ones. Doesn’t mean they would be a bad Prime Minister. Unless this is just some random grade 10 picking on some grade 4 kids.

Comment ¬

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