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Morality in Political Science
Political issues are complex, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make moral judgments on these issues.
I have been fortunate to have been on a campus that has not engaged in anti-semitic demonstrations or attacks regarding the events in Israel. I have been extremely fortunate to have had teachers who don’t engage in anti-semitic rhetoric and other disgusting remarks. But one of the things I’ve been disturbed by is the way teachers and students have gone about trying to avoid making moral judgments about either side of the conflict. Yes, teachers condemn Hamas and their attacks, but when it comes to saying which side is moral, they scatter.
As a political science student, I am fully aware that not everything is how it seems on the surface. Issues are complex and do not always derive themselves from one source. But being a political scientist doesn’t mean you can use it as a card to escape making moral claims. The quote, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist,” sums up an issue we seem to have in the political science field as well as society as a whole. “This issue is not black and white” is a phrase I hear quite often during this time. But just because an issue is complex does not mean we cannot make value judgments. To me, failure to make moral judgments on important issues seems a great injustice. To give up our ability to determine right from wrong, or good from evil, is wrong.
This issue has weighed heavily on my mind as I have been reading Bloom’s work…
“True openness is the accompaniment of the desire to know, hence of the awareness of ignorance. To deny the possibility of knowing good and bad is to suppress true openness.”
-Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
No one doubts that the Israeli government is not perfect. No one doubts that decent people are living in Gaza who want a normal life. But what many seem to doubt is that there is a clearly defined victim in this, who has been a victim of hate for centuries. There’s a right side.
I am not here to name and shame certain teachers I may have who do this, but simply to say that I believe what they are doing is wrong. I believe the loss of value judgments in our society has done far more good than harm. As political scientists, we, of course, should continue to look at issues with the idea that there could be more levels to issues than we think, but we should also never shy away from being able to determine what is good and what is evil.
Jake D. Kroesen is an undergraduate student at the University of Central Missouri, where he studies Political Science with an emphasis in Foreign Affairs. Jake has contributed writing to his school paper, the Muleskinner, as well as to Lone Conservative and National Review. He is currently a submissions editor at The Vital Center Magazine. @MuggedReality
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