• Philosophim
    1.3k
    Corruption is a moral shift, as for which moral shifts go under "corruption", I guess that's semantics or subjective, not sure we need to agree on itJudaka

    Its essential to the prompt of the conversation. If we can't agree on what corruption is, we can't discuss it.

    My earlier statement was wrong actually, even if morality was objective, your logic would still be circular. You're defining moral people as people who act morally, and people who act morally as moral people.Judaka

    That's still not a definition of circular logic. Just point out the flaw without trying to use logical fallacies as this is twice you've misused the fallacy.

    People who are moral act morally. What would corruption then be? Despite the person previously knowing, agreeing, and following moral precepts, the person begins to purposefully not follow them.

    For example, a person knows that lying for personal gain is wrong. One day, they decide its not worth the headache anymore and start lying for personal gain. They know its wrong, but consistently do it anyway. A slip up here and there is a corrupt action, but a consistent and willingly violation of known morality would be considered the corruption of a moral person.

    I think everyone has their opinions, and their reasons for thinking they're correct.Judaka

    Which is fine. But just because someone has an opinion or thinks its correct, it does not make them correct. That's why we're discussing philosophy. Philosophy is never an opinion. Its a well thought out logical proposal of language and models that can be applied to reality with consistent results. So the words that we use matter very much. If we're not establishing solid definitions, then we're just emotional opinions swirling around each other in some mad dance of pointlessness.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    For example, a person knows that lying for personal gain is wrong. One day, they decide its not worth the headache anymore and start lying for personal gain. They know its wrong, but consistently do it anyway. A slip up here and there is a corrupt action, but a consistent and willingly violation of known morality would be considered the corruption of a moral person.Philosophim

    Just so! And a weak moral person is more easily corruptible than a strong one. It takes an exceptionally strong moral person to remain uncorrupted in an immoral environment, where immoral action is rewarded and moral action is penalized. Also, the whole point of the devil is to personify corrupting influence, and some people are very skilled at persuading moral people to commit immoral acts, into which the target is lured incrementally: "You're not hurting anybody," "Oh, just this once won't matter," "You owe yourself a little treat," "They'll never miss it" "Well, nobody's looking," "You've come this far, might as well go for the prize," "You're in too deep; there's no return."

    People born and bred as elite are raised with a different set of values from that of the middle class, which is different again from the moral climate in which the lowest tiers of society live. The specific principles vary from one society and era to the next, but the class distinction tends to be constant.
    And so, what kinds of inducement corrupts a weak moral person from one stratum will be different from the temptations of a weak moral person from another stratum. How strong one needs to be to resist corruption depends on the particular circumstances in which the temptation is offered.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    People who are moral act morally. What would corruption then be? Despite the person previously knowing, agreeing, and following moral precepts, the person begins to purposefully not follow them.

    For example, a person knows that lying for personal gain is wrong. One day, they decide its not worth the headache anymore and start lying for personal gain. They know its wrong, but consistently do it anyway. A slip up here and there is a corrupt action, but a consistent and willingly violation of known morality would be considered the corruption of a moral person.
    Philosophim

    I thought you were denying the possibility of someone being corrupted by power by saying that moral people always act morally, and you've defined moral people as people who act morally. Is that not the case?

    Its essential to the prompt of the conversation. If we can't agree on what corruption is, we can't discuss it.Philosophim

    Corruption could be the misuse of power, but in this OP I'd say we're talking about the "corruption" of character, to make it go from "good" to "bad", or "moral" to "immoral".

    Power influences the moral views of those who wield it, and when power is a bad influence, then they've been corrupted by power. A slip up is not a "corrupt action" Where is the corruption? What is doing the corrupting? If a person simply chooses to disregard what's right or wrong, because they felt like it, then I think as you said, they just never really cared to begin with.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    Corruption could be the misuse of power,Judaka

    Misuse of power is only one example of what may happen when the wielder of power is corrupt. Corruption means debasement, spoilage, loss of integrity, purity and wholesomeness; rot, ruin, decay. It can come about in many substances besides human character through many agencies and devices.

    but in this OP I'd say we're talking about the "corruption" of character, to make it go from "good" to "bad", or "moral" to "immoral".Judaka

    Obviously. That was the question.

    Power influences the moral views of those who wield it, and when power is a bad influence, then they've been corrupted by power.Judaka

    So - Power corrupts when those who wield it are corrupted by power?

    Some, including myself, think otherwise: that people of poor moral fiber are easily swayed to do wrong if they think they can get away with it, whether they have power or not, and those who are of strong moral character resist the temptation to do wrong, whether they wield power or not. Power is neither the cause nor the agent of corruption: character, temptation and opportunity are. All power does is provide more temptations and opportunities than the lack of power does.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    Some responses to this thread seem to have used corruption as the misuse of power in a governance sense. I agree with how you've outlined corruption when it comes to this thread.

    So - Power corrupts when those who wield it are corrupted by power?Vera Mont

    Well, yes, that's right. I don't disagree that power can liberate those to do what they always wished to, or those that only acted morally when it suited them, and power has changed what benefits them and so they no longer act morally. Power did not corrupt these individuals, though, it may appear that way outwardly and it's very difficult to say when there was or wasn't a degradation of character.

    I suppose I only feel I know it corrupts because my view is that what we think is moral is very flexible and generally self-serving. It seems obvious to me that with power, one would come to justify acts only while knowing they would perpetrate them, and had no risk of being the victim. Why justify theft if you know you won't steal and could only be a victim? But if you could steal from others at no cost to yourself, I imagine many people would think of a way. From what you've written, I guess you will stamp your foot and morally condemn such things, which is fine,

    I don't think power can corrupt everyone, and some will definitely act nobly despite having power. You say those with strong moral fibre will resist temptation, but what about corrupting someone who is weak? Is that not still corruption? Or someone from a little bit immoral to extremely evil, is that not corruption? Perhaps we could agree on the possibility of power being a corrupting influence in these cases.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    So - Power corrupts when those who wield it are corrupted by power? — Vera Mont
    Well, yes, that's right.
    Judaka

    But you don't see the parallel with:

    your logic would still be circular. You're defining moral people as people who act morally, and people who act morally as moral people.Judaka

    Corruption could be the misuse of power, but in this OP I'd say we're talking about the "corruption" of character, to make it go from "good" to "bad", or "moral" to "immoral".Judaka

    Same thing. If they remained good, they would use power well; once their character is corrupted and they've gone bad, they misuse power. Action is the result of decision, which is a product of character.

    But if you could steal from others at no cost to yourself, I imagine many people would think of a way.Judaka

    Yes, that is the very path to corruption and moral decay. It can happen in any station or walk of life, not only in positions of power. A morally compromised servant may steal, if his master is so inattentive that he does not get caught, and can justify it after the fact more easily than a judge who takes bribes.

    From what you've written, I guess you will stamp your foot and morally condemn such things, which is fine,Judaka

    Where have I written anything that suggests the stamping of feet? Describing human behaviors and motivations is not tantamount to condemnation. When I condemn something or someone, there is no room for ambiguity.

    but what about corrupting someone who is weak? Is that not still corruption?Judaka

    Of course it is. Nothing to do with power.

    Or someone from a little bit immoral to extremely evil,Judaka

    That, too.

    Perhaps we could agree on the possibility of power being a corrupting influence in these cases.Judaka

    It can be an influence, just as access to the source of temptation can be an influence, or the counsel of corrupt companions. I think I've said that being in a position of power provides opportunity (temptation + access) for more wrong-doing than lack of power does. If the same amount of opportunity is presented to an ordinary thief or embezzler, he, too, will escalate his criminal activities, just as an abusive spouse who starts out with verbal gibes, and is not curbed, ends up doing grievous or fatal bodily harm.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    But you don't see the parallel with...:Vera Mont

    I had interpreted the meaning in the context of the rebuttal being made that corruption isn't possible, because moral people act morally, if you don't act morally, you're not a moral person which means you weren't corrupted. The whole point of corruption is a change occurred. It's like saying people can't get sick because healthy people are healthy and people who are healthy are healthy people.

    If they remained good, they would use power well; once their character is corrupted and they've gone bad, they misuse power. Action is the result of decision, which is a product of character.Vera Mont

    I agree.

    Yes, that is the very path to corruption and moral decay. It can happen in any station or walk of life, not only in positions of power. A morally compromised servant may steal, if his master is so inattentive that he does not get caught, and can justify it after the fact more easily than a judge who takes bribes.Vera Mont

    I agree.

    It can be an influence, just as access to the source of temptation can be an influence, or the counsel of corrupt companions. I think I've said that being in a position of power provides opportunity (temptation + access) for more wrong-doing than lack of power does. If the same amount of opportunity is presented to an ordinary thief or embezzler, he, too, will escalate his criminal activities, just as an abusive spouse who starts out with verbal gibes, and is not curbed, ends up doing grievous or fatal bodily harm.Vera Mont

    I agree, power is not the most dangerous of corrupting influences, many others are much worse.

    I understand your objection and saying temptation and opportunity instead of power is more specific in a way that clarifies the actual cause. I'm not sure it's unfair to say power corrupts but I see your point and agree that it's better to say temptation and opportunity, and power as just one way of getting there. Power doesn't directly correspond with temptation and opportunity, as with proper oversight, both can be substantially reduced. Theoretically, with perfect oversight, and no opportunity for the misuse of power, then power should not corrupt, and so I concede that you're right.

    Where have I written anything that suggests the stamping of feet? Describing human behaviors and motivations is not tantamount to condemnation. When I condemn something or someone, there is no room for ambiguity.Vera Mont

    This talk of "strong moral fibre" is grating to me, because I take it as your way of asserting your moral principles to be true. Aren't atrocities like honour killings or murdering people for their sexual orientation called moral acts by some cultures? Could those who carry out such acts be said to have "strong moral fibre"? Or is strong moral fibre determined by how closely one aligns themselves with your preferences?
  • Vera Mont
    836
    The whole point of corruption is a change occurred.Judaka
    All Philosophim said was that power is not what causes the change.

    A moral stance shift alone does not demonstrate that power corrupts, only that moral situations change with more power.Philosophim

    This talk of "strong moral fibre" is grating to me, because I take it as your way of asserting your moral principles to be true.Judaka

    Sorry about the grating; it was unintentional. I was not referring to myself. At some point that I don't think is important enough to search for, I believe I mentioned the various circumstances that may contribute to a person having more or less resistance to temptation. That's all that the phrase 'moral fiber' stands for: the relative depth of conviction regarding right and wrong actions, and the relative amount of psychological fortitude to overcome a temptation to do what one considers wrong.

    Aren't atrocities like honour killings or murdering people for their sexual orientation called moral acts by some cultures?Judaka

    Sure, but now you're stamping foot and judging. What makes another culture's code of right and wrong atrocious in your eyes, if a not a sense of your own moral superiority? My application of of 'moral fiber' would be equally valid in such a culture: the man of weak moral fiber might be persuaded to spare his own daughter, even though he knew her to be guilty, while strong, hounourable man would not hesitate to kill her.

    Or is strong moral fibre determined by how closely one aligns themselves with your preferences?Judaka

    No. It is determined by many factors, but evidenced by the ease or difficulty with which they can be persuaded to breach their own moral code.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    All Philosophim said was that power is not what causes the change.Vera Mont

    That was afterwards, and I asked for clarification on whether I misinterpreted him, as that statement contradicts what I thought he was saying.

    That's all that the phrase 'moral fiber' stands for: the relative depth of conviction regarding right and wrong actions, and the relative amount of psychological fortitude to overcome a temptation to do what one considers wrong.Vera Mont

    I see... I misunderstood.

    Sure, but now you're stamping foot and judging. What makes another culture's code of right and wrong atrocious in your eyes, if a not a sense of your own moral superiority?Vera Mont

    Yes, I've got no qualms about asserting my moral beliefs, nor did I mean you couldn't do it. Through my misunderstanding of what you meant by moral fibre, I understood you to think that those with moral fibre would only act according to what was objectively morally correct. So, I suspected you react poorly to my suggestion that behaviour you disagreed with could be morally justified by someone in a way that was organic.

    I have a better understanding of you now, I'm not sure if Philosophim is saying what you are, but I agree with your take on this topic, including where you've challenged my claims.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    Through my misunderstanding of what you meant by moral fibre, I understood you to think that those with moral fibre would only act according to what was objectively morally correct.Judaka

    I don't believe anything is objectively moral. Morality is a human concepts and humans tend not to form a consensus on the particulars of even the most commonly shared concepts.

    So, I suspected you react poorly to my suggestion that behaviour you disagreed with could be morally justified by someone in a way that was organic.Judaka

    Hemlock is organic. Not palatable.
  • Philosophim
    1.3k
    I thought you were denying the possibility of someone being corrupted by power by saying that moral people always act morally, and you've defined moral people as people who act morally. Is that not the case?Judaka

    No, I'm stating that power reveals one's moral standing. To be a moral person, one must understand what is moral, and follow that despite temptations. A person who used to actually be moral, or make correct decisions despite temptation, who then later gives into temptation regularly while knowing they are wrong has become corrupt.

    Many people are not moral, they're just too weak to act upon their temptations. This should not be confused with being a good person. Power is simply the ability to exert your will upon the world with success. Mother Teresa could not have done what she did without power. Same with Ghandi. Charities must receive money to do what they do. America could not have won WWII without its power.

    Power can also make a person resistant to temptation in many ways. If someone offers you 1,000,000 dollars, to commit an evil act, but you're a billionaire, its not very tempting. While power often times allows us to get away with acts that we normally would not, it can also diminish the ability of the temptation of rewards. So it is not power that is at fault, it is about a person's capability to take the moral high ground despite temptations offered to an individual.

    A very simple interplay here is on the forums. Is it not tempting to insult others sometimes? To type with the mindset of winning a discussion without regards to the big picture truth? Is it power that tempts people to fall to this, or is it a lack of power? Often times insults and dismissive posts are the result of someone losing a point in a conversation, and it is the temptation to feel powerful despite our loss that causes us to behave arrogantly and insult others. Would a person who truly was the most intelligent and well versed person find any temptation in this?

    Perhaps what is truly tempting is that which we lack. If what we lack is power, then we can be tempted by it. If we lack success, we are tempted by the easy offer of it. What corrupts us is not what we have, but what we crave and do not own.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    I think Vera Mont is correct in that temptation and opportunity corrupt (or can), and thus, power by itself doesn't necessarily tell us to what extent a person has opportunities, the environment matters a lot too. So, as you say, there are situations where power may actually make certain opportunities less appealing than they'd otherwise be, and having power by itself doesn't necessarily grant opportunities and temptations more than being powerless, it depends on the context.

    Vera Mont's moral fibre I can understand, it's neutral and intuitively it exists and it's observable, are you defining a "moral person" in a similar way?

    Would a person who truly was the most intelligent and well versed person find any temptation in this?Philosophim

    Hmm, yes I think it's possible. Though, could you define someone as the most intelligent and well-versed person if they did find temptation in being an intellectually dishonest jerk? If you couldn't then I suppose you have your answer.

    I find for most widespread phenomenons, blaming individuals is the wrong answer. Poverty, obesity, addiction and so on, we try to put the blame on the people in these situations and focus on what they could do to get out of their situations. That the problem is widespread has already told us that human agency either isn't the cause or isn't the solution to the problem. What makes humans weak to opportunity and temptation that they're so often swayed? I don't know if there's a simple answer.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    That the problem is widespread has already told us that human agency either isn't the cause or isn't the solution to the problem.Judaka

    I should think it's both, as the very concept of moral corruption is exclusively human, as are the environments in which it occurs. Human nature both necessitates and opposes moral constraint. We make rules of behaviour to ensure the welfare of society, but those rules restrain individual freedom to act. But we want both safety and freedom, which causes a constant tension between upholding and breaking the rules; between controlling and challenging the rules.

    What makes humans weak to opportunity and temptation that they're so often swayed?Judaka

    I enumerated a few influences. Nature, nurture and environment. Physical health, innate aptitudes, temperament, early childhood instruction, role models and peers, Competition, disparity, the rewards and advantages for wrong action as compared to those for right action in the formative years. Of course, there is no way to control or predict the temperament and aptitudes of a newborn, it is possible to guide each child's development on the best possible course for that child in a given environment, but one would have to know a great deal about child psychology and have a great deal of time to devote to the customized education of each. And then, it takes so long to rear a human that the environment can change in unpredictable ways between its birth and its coming of age. In fact, every generation of parents prepares its young for the wrong world.
  • Hallucinogen
    148
    Power comes from valid cognition.
    Degrees of valid cognition correlate with nobility, not corruption.
    See: eugenics.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    I should think it's both, as the very concept of moral corruption is exclusively human, as are the environments in which it occurs.Vera Mont

    My point is that you could say the same about something like gambling addiction, it's exclusively human and occurs in our human environment. Yet someone can know their gambling addiction is harming their lives, want to quit and still continues to gamble. There's a risk of us exploring this topic with the view that humans are entirely able to control their behaviours, in a way that isn't the case. I'm not saying I have the answer on how much control we do have in this issue, but I am asserting that it's a factor.

    We make rules of behaviour to ensure the welfare of society, but those rules restrain individual freedom to act. But we want both safety and freedom, which causes a constant tension between upholding and breaking the rules; between controlling and challenging the rules.Vera Mont

    One thing which I think explains corruption is that we don't usually try to enforce rules that we don't want to follow. I condemn murder but I don't want to murder anyone, I condemn theft but I don't have any opportunity to steal, I condemn adultery but don't feel tempted to cheat. Temptation and opportunity are not present while establishing the rule, which could explain why their introduction would cause us to want to break the rule.

    For me, morality is pragmatic in many ways, and corruption could be a way of describing the reduction in how pragmatic a moral system was by changing the circumstances. At least in some cases.

    I enumerated a few influences. Nature, nurture and environment. Physical health, innate aptitudes, temperament, early childhood instruction, role models and peers, Competition, disparity, the rewards and advantages for wrong action as compared to those for right action in the formative years.Vera Mont

    Another way of looking at it is that we're not easily tempted, but easily restricted. Individuals with characteristics that help resist social pressures, lower risk aversion, heightened impulsivity and so on I'd argue are more susceptible to corruption.

    In fact, every generation of parents prepares its young for the wrong world.Vera Mont

    I think this is a modern problem, as the rate of change of the world wasn't always as fast as it is now, but it's true today.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    There's a risk of us exploring this topic with the view that humans are entirely able to control their behaviours, in a way that isn't the case.Judaka

    I didn't claim that. I merely reiterated that it is not power that does the corrupting. Nor is chance, or even games of chance, that cause gambling addiction.

    I'm not saying I have the answer on how much control we do have in this issue, but I am asserting that it's a factor.Judaka

    Yes. And the early childhood environment also has influence on how much self-control a person has. One they're grown, people can be influenced less and also able to change less about their own behaviour, though both continue to be factors.

    Individuals with characteristics that help resist social pressures, lower risk aversion, heightened impulsivity and so on I'd argue are more susceptible to corruption.Judaka
    A wise electorate would never allow an immature person with poor self-control anywhere near a position of power, because that is the type of personality on whom all corrupting influences will have the most effect. (But then, if that's that only personality type seeking the position, the electorate can only try to choose the lesser of evils. I suggest it's the one who throws least mud at his or her rivals. )

    Temptation and opportunity are not present while establishing the rule, which could explain why their introduction would cause us to want to break the rule.Judaka

    Nor is the risk of having the rule badly enforced. I mean, the legislators and jurists who make laws are usually not in the line of temptation to commit the crimes, but nor are they likely to suffer police brutality or wrongful conviction.
    However, legislators may well be swayed in their decision-making by vested interests that want a law to favour themselves to the detriment of others, so they contribute to the campaign funds of biddable candidates; jurists may be guided by ethical principles that are easy for them to uphold, but not for those who have lacked their advantages in life. The result would be bad laws and unfair enforcement, and in those cases, the law must be challenged in order to be corrected.
    This is a process of push and pull, negotiation, ups and down - it's never complete.

    I think this is a modern problem, as the rate of change of the world wasn't always as fast as it is now, but it's true today.Judaka

    Depends how far in the back-water you lived from conquests, wars of succession, revolutions, religious and ethnic persecutions, natural disasters that displace populations.... Shit can happen pretty fast, in even a slow world.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    I didn't claim that. I merely reiterated that it is not power that does the corrupting. Nor is chance, or even games of chance, that cause gambling addiction.Vera Mont

    I didn't mean what I said as a rebuttal, I was just clarifying my point, but I understand you.

    Yes. And the early childhood environment also has influence on how much self-control a person has. One they're grown, people can be influenced less and also able to change less about their own behaviour, though both continue to be factors.Vera Mont

    I agree.

    A wise electorate would never allow an immature person with poor self-control anywhere near a position of power, because that is the type of personality on whom all corrupting influences will have the most effect.Vera Mont

    Yeah, in the case of corruption, this is probably the most susceptible type of person.

    The result would be bad laws and unfair enforcement, and in those cases, the law must be challenged in order to be corrected.
    This is a process of push and pull, negotiation, ups and down - it's never complete.
    Vera Mont

    Agreed.

    For me, the foundation of morality is recognising that we need to do what's best for ourselves and others and that if everyone only did what's best for themselves, it'd be worse for everyone. The goal should be to organise rewards & punishments in a way that enforces good behaviour and punishes bad behaviour. I don't view morality as being an effective deterrent by itself, especially not in the case where it's relied on to be self-enforced.

    I'm sure I would be easily corruptible as I view morality pragmatically. Nonetheless, I think the majority of people share in my circumstances which led me to my moral views, and my circumstances are unlikely to change sufficiently anyway. I don't want to be allowed to murder if it means others could as then I'd be living in a hellish place where I had to live in paranoia. It's in my best interests to support a system that forbids and condemns murder. I don't expect those with the ability to harm me to not harm me out of moral principles, but I think all of those like me who are at risk of being harmed need to try to set up a system where we're protected.

    Perhaps I'm just a cynic, but I don't ever expect people with the ability to misuse their power to not misuse it. If they don't, great but that can never be our expectation. The focus should always be on enforcement, regulation and oversight. The question is how we create a system that rewards & punishes in a way to create the outcomes we desire. I think we evolved with morality to serve this purpose, we lived together better when some degree of cooperation was enforced socially.

    It's equally problematic when morality actually reduces our cooperativeness or promotes uncooperative behaviour. OP asks if the rich are just insecure, but capitalist society worships and rewards the ultra-rich, and people hold seminars on how to learn from them and be more like them. They're not corrupted at all, they're just doing what the system rewards and doing it very well, the whole premise of the OP is wrong.

    I entered this topic sort of just responding to what others were saying, but in terms of my own view, I think morality is just weak. There are social reasons why we need to present ourselves as being moral and upstanding and incorruptible, and because of that, morality is strongest in public discourse. Morality stirs emotions, creates the loudest voice, and shuts down opposition aggressively. But if you look at the world we've created, you can't even trust priests or imams to not abuse their power. If one only takes how things appear on the surface, their view of morality will be incredibly warped.

    Whatever "moral people" are, you can't actually spot them. Even someone as violent and warped as Ted Bundy was seen as a charming gentleman and people who are supposedly the best of us get revealed to be liars all the time. So many scams, with tens of thousands of people, completely oblivious even when it's obvious. MLM leaders are worshipped by those they're scamming, political leaders who are so corrupt, they still get support from millions, tens of millions of people.

    At the end of the day, we're forced to try to build systems that protect people, we should never rely on the self-enforcement of moral principles. BTW, not saying this as a rebuttal to you, I just went on a rant.
  • Vera Mont
    836
    I don't want to be allowed to murder if it means others couldJudaka

    There is one point of major corruption for people in power. They can, while others are prevented from doing likewise. Dictators seem to acquire a taste for it, like an addiction. Of course, they were probably inclined that way before they fought their way to the top.

    Perhaps I'm just a cynic, but I don't ever expect people with the ability to misuse their power to not misuse it. If they don't, great but that can never be our expectation.Judaka

    Perhaps the best solution is not to let any person have too much power in the first place. Or too much responsibility, which can cause a whole different set of problems. We need to spread governance among more people, who all have to co-ordionate their efforts in order to make government work; that way, each of their activities would be known to all the other members of the team: no secrets.
    Other safeguards could be put in place, if the people and their representatives really wanted it clean, efficient and accountable.

    Money permeating every aspect of every system has its share of damage. So have social media, and before that broadcasting and print media.

    Individually, most people are sensible, reasonably competent and decent - or at least harmless. In large numbers, we mess up everything and periodically go rabid en masse.
  • Judaka
    1.4k

    There is one point of major corruption for people in power. They can, while others are prevented from doing likewise. Dictators seem to acquire a taste for it, like an addiction. Of course, they were probably inclined that way before they fought their way to the top.Vera Mont

    True.

    The dark side of morality always finds a way to do harm without being a potential victim. Racism, classism, retribution or harm done in the name of some great cause. The morality of the weak and meek, those who can only be victims is the most gentle, and the morality of those who can harm yet also be harmed is harsh but measured, but the morality of those who can harm without fearing harm is monstrous.

    What's great about democracy comes not from voting, but how it establishes accountability, and how those in power at least have to pretend to care about what the masses want. The cycling of governments in particular is incredibly powerful because if a party is voted out of power, someone else comes into office and looks over everything the previous party has been doing. They'd love nothing more than to find a corruption scandal with which they can destroy their political opponents, and they've got no motivation to protect the previous officeholder.

    We've got laws and government bodies set up to prosecute on the basis of corruption, although they're not always as effective as they should be. As you say, transparency is crucial, sharing power and ensuring that no culture of backscratching is permitted. These are important practical considerations.

    Why some countries are more corrupt than others, is not a reflection of the personal characteristics of the people there. Do you agree? Or can we point to a country filled with crime and corruption and show how it's the fault of moral failing? If the people there were just better, kinder, and more rational. For the individual, how do we balance their personal failings against the impact of the system they're living under? Is corruption the fault of the corrupting influence or the one who was corrupted?
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