Ethical Guidebook

A discussion of the difference between our personal values and our public ethics, how mature citizens can support both, and why our love for public ethics must trump our love for personal and group values when they conflict in the public space. Ethics offers a guidebook for evaluating public issues and finding multilateral solutions to endless cycles of values centric conflicts and unilateral violence.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kennedy Ethics

Ted Kennedy's passing has been widely noted as the loss of a great compromiser. However, his greatness was not defined by so low a scale. Anyone can compromise after all, and some for the basest of reasons. Kennedy's greatness was that he so often compromised from a position of Public Ethics - fairness, a level playing field, and higher human principles. That starting point raised Kennedy to the level of a true statesman who could look beyond the Personal Values of his own self-benefit and the limited views of his personal affiliations, religion, and ethnicity when making decisions that affected the public space. His ability as a mature citizen and Senator to appeal to Public Ethics rather than arguments of Personal Values in the end transcended his personal failures in the latter arena. To appreciate Kennedy requires that we recognize values may define the man but fall far short of defining the statesman. Historians will recognize it was Kennedy's insistance that any compromise start from a highly Ethical platform of human principles and goals of fairness that helped raise the level of resulting decisions and laws and dignified all parties involved. Ted Kennedy should therefore be honored most of all for his enduring support for Public Ethics that so significantly shaped his initiatives, tempered his compromises with an insistence on fairness, and bettered all of our public lives as a result. Let it be said Ted Kennedy was an Enlightened Statesman.