In my comment on her post I asked Amy a question. She responded and asked me the same question:

Amy said: "Now, let me ask you a question:  

If you would agree that politics is, at least in part, the art of compromise, what would be your preference in a candidate or a position:

Ideological purity against racism, discrimination & prejudice for all or political practicality where they would give tacit approval to racist/discriminatory policies against some in exchange for eliminating them for another "favored" group?

That is a rhetorical question, obviously, because I believe I know your answer, but it sure highlights how "evil"compromise can be."

My reply:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere?" ----MLK

While there are ideologies that stand in opposition to each other, there are no "negative" ideologies as such...

"An ideology is a collection of normativebeliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than purely epistemicreasons.[1]

The term was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796, who conceived it as the "science of ideas". In contemporary philosophy it is narrower in scope than that original concept, or the ideas expressed in broad concepts such as worldview, imaginaryand ontology.[2]

In the political world, for instance, there are many well-known political ideologies, which cover a wide range of human interests.

In the modern Althusserian sense, ideology is "the imagined existence (or idea) of things as it relates to the real conditions of existence" "


There is a distinction to be made between one's principles and one's ideological holdings.

I wouldn't compromise on my principles as the moral and ethical underpinnings of who and what I am as a person and as an individual. 

However, ideologically speaking, we all grow, develop, and undergo change at various times and stages of our careers and our lives...

This is true to the extent that none of us are truly ideological purists especially since many ideologies are eclectic or composits in essence....

As social beings we have existed, survived, and evolved due in no small measure to our ability to adapt and adjust to our physical and social circumstances and environments...

Political ideologies undergo changes that are necessary and appropriate for the times and circumstances in which they operate and function....

This may not be , and should not be, as easily said of our principles....

Our sense of good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust, though not completely immutable are less susceptible to the exigencies and expediencies of the moment to moment ebb and flow of our daily existence...

If you can hold fast to your principles while modifying your ideologies as necessary or required you are indeed an exceptional human being.

All too often our politicians are called upon to compromise themselves and their principles for the sake of political or ideological expediency and convenience.

Too many of them see such situations as matters of impossible dilemma and yield to the impulse and temptation of hypocrisy....

You don't,  and you apparently won't be that politician, but you can be an exceptional person...

It will occur when you realize that your values needn't change because you modify your views of the world to accommodate and make room for differing views...Even as you argue against those views and positions you see as diametrically opposed to your own...

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought applies to all...even those with whom you vehemently disagree...

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought gives each of us the opportunity to change the other person's mind and the responsibility and obligation to change our own when fact and truth call upon us to do so....

Views: 164

Comment by koshersalaami on November 8, 2018 at 10:30am

I would answer the question differently. 

I wouldn’t trade persecution of one group for another because that trade is sideways. Where is the net gain? To trade for a lesser evil, the evil has to be blatantly lesser, otherwise there’s nothing moral about the action. As to how much lesser it has to be, that’s case by case. Yes, the idea is to help people, but that has to be weighed against who gets hurt - and how badly - in the process. 

That may not sound moral at all, the idea that we’d let someone else get hurt, but I’ll give you an example that will illustrate the moral difficulty here:

Increasing social services financed by an increase in historically low inheritance taxes falls under this category. After all, those who stand to inherit are being hurt by this decision, at least in theory, because helping the needy is being done at their expense. In fact, this is exactly what conservatives hate about progressive taxation. 

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 12:14pm

"I wouldn’t trade persecution of one group for another because that trade is sideways."

I wouldn't do it because it's morally the wrong thing to do. 

That's the crux of my response to Amy.

The conflation of morality or principles and ideology and politics seems to me to be at the heart of the dissonance and disconnect here....

Lack of a clear bright line distinction between the two results in the acrimony and inharmonious exchanges...

The place where moral principles and ideological politics intersect may be broadly referred to as ethics....

Obama was constantly referring issues to the White House Office of Government Ethics. Trump left the position unfilled for months after the holdover director quit in disgust..

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on November 8, 2018 at 1:35pm

Ron, how can anyone who actually has them hold political ideologies that are not based upon moral principles?   I'm an atheist and I know that is impossible, FFS.

Populations selling out (which is "compromising" is) anybody/any group/any thing and then soft soaping it by sticking in "it's just a LITTLE sell out" and and placating their conscious by adding a "I did it on a case by case basis" is how every damn dictator in the world got got/gets away with atrocities.   What's right is right, dammit.   As soon as you "compromise" away your first moral principle the rest fall like dominoes. 

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 1:55pm

." can anyone who actually has them hold political ideologies that are not based upon moral principles?"

Political ideologies may be aligned with moral principles, however, political ideologies need not be predicated on moral principles. That is, unless of course, you are describing a theocracy of one kind or another...

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 2:11pm

What moral code is the basis for  Democracy?

What moral code is the predicate for Autocratic regimes?

What moral code supports any form of totalitarianism?

The notion of the "Divine Right of Kings" gives way to the "Rule of Law" within the context of what moral code?

One can argue that systems of governance through the history of human kind are manifestations of subjugation and control without the benefit of a set of moral principles that inform and guide rulers whose primary tool of governance was oppression of the population governed.

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 2:22pm

Political ethics

Political ethics (also known as political morality or public ethics) is the practice of making moral judgements about political action and political agents.[1] It covers two areas. The first is the ethics of process (or the ethics of office), which deals with public officials and the methods they use.[2] The second area, the ethics of policy (or ethicsand public policy) concerns judgments about policies and laws.[3]

Ethics of process

The Italian Niccolò Machiavelli is heralded as the founding father of the political ethics.[4]He believed that a political leader may be required to commit acts that would be wrong if done by private. In contemporary democracies, this idea has been reframed as the problem of dirty hands, described most influentially by Michael Walzer, who argues that the problem creates a paradox: the politician must sometimes do “wrong to do right”.[5] The politician uses violence to prevent greater violence, but his act is still wrong even if justified. Walzer’s view has been criticized.[6] Some critics object that either the politician is justified or not. If justified, there is nothing wrong, though he may feel guilty. Others say that some of the acts of violence that Walzer would allow are never justified, no matter what the ends. Dennis Thompson has argued that in a democracy citizens should hold the leader responsible, and therefore if the act is unjustified their hands are dirty too.[7]

In large organizations it is often not possible to tell who is actually responsible for the outcomes—a problem known as the problem of many hands.[8]

Political ethics not only permit leaders to do things that would be wrong in private life, but also requires them to meet higher standards than would be necessary in private life. They may, for example, have less of a right of privacy than do ordinary citizens, and no right to use their office for personal profit. The major issues here concern conflict of interest.[9]

Ethics of policy

In the other area of political ethics, the key issues are not the conflict between means and ends but the conflicts among the ends themselves. For example, in the question of global justice, the conflict is between the claims of the nation state and citizens on one side and the claims of all citizens of the world.[10] Traditionally, priority has been given to the claims of nations, but in recent years thinkers known as cosmopolitans have pressed the claims of all citizens of the world.

Political ethics deals not mainly with ideal justice, however, but with realizing moral values in democratic societies where citizens (and philosophers) disagree about what ideal justice is. In a pluralist society, how if at all can governments justify a policy of progressive taxation, affirmative action, the right to abortion, universal healthcare, and the like?[11] Political ethics is also concerned with moral problems raised by the need for political compromise, whistleblowing, civil disobedience, and criminal punishment.


Some critics (so called political realists) argue that ethics has no place in politics.[12] If politicians are to be effective in the real world, they cannot be bound by moral rules. They have to pursue the national interest. However, Walzer points out that if the realists are asked to justify their claims, they will almost always appeal to moral principles of their own (for example, to show that ethics is harmful or counterproductive).[13]

Another kind of criticism comes from those who argue that we should not pay so much attention to politicians and policies but should instead look more closely at the larger structures of society where the most serious ethical problems lie.[14] Advocates of political ethics respond that while structural injustice should not be ignored, too much emphasis on structures neglects the human agents who are responsible for changing them.[15]

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on November 8, 2018 at 2:25pm

That is, unless of course, you are describing a theocracy of one kind or another...

Ay, there's the rub!

I don't think moral principles have a thing to do with religion (in fact, I think it is the opposite).  For ME, moral principles have much more to do with what I NEED to actually live my life.   My and other people political ideologies affect how I CAN actually live my life.

Maybe some people can sacrifice their "NEEDS" (mostly they sacrifice someone else's) for their "CANS", but I can't because my "NEEDS" are not for sale.

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 2:46pm

Going as far back as Hammurabi's code, what seems apparent to me is not so much the desire to instill or inject notions of right and wrong etc but the articulation and manifestation of the desire for order and structure in governance...

Hammurabi wanted righteousness as the paradigm for judicial decision making, but it was righteousness as he saw and defined it to be...

There are 282 "laws" set down in Hammurabi's code, only one deals with regulation of the actions or behavior of a government official...

Comment by Ron Powell on November 8, 2018 at 3:10pm

The transposition of governing one's self to the governing of a population is fraught with the pitfalls of false equivalencies, erroneous assumptions, and fallacious reasoning....

Extrapolation of personal morality on to a body politic rarely, if ever, works to everyone's satisfaction unless you're talking about a very small and cloistered group like monks and nuns...

What may work and be appropriate for the one almost never works or is appropriate for the many....

Reconciliation of governance of one's self with the governance of an entire population is what we can broadly refer to as 'politics'...Where the first order of business is the removal of the 'self' from the paradigmatic equation or model...

Which,by the way, is something that Trump is absolutely incapable of doing...

Comment by Maui Surfer on November 8, 2018 at 7:41pm

Yawn, the Venn Diagram that completely intersects the Far Right and Far Left tells the whole story, they are all nuts, dreamers, not doers.


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