Immanuel Kant and the Ethics of Leadership

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In chapter three of The Ethics of Leadership, Joanne B. Ciulla, introduces the moral philosophy of Prussian philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who developed a set of ethics to guide our decisions and help us judge whether certain actions are morally correct. Kant’s moral theory does not look at all into consequences and has a very strict view of morality which can sometimes conflict between duty and self-interest. Ciulla mentions the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible and asserts, “Leaders are often tempted to lie because they believe they either won’t get caught, or they can cover up their lies.” (Ciulla, 94) This assertion rings ever so true in light of the recent scandals involving the increase in U.S. politicians that have confessed to adultery. As marriage and family are often regarded as a basis of society, a story of adultery often shows the conflict between social pressure and individual struggle for happiness. Adultery is a very American topic. We have been redefining the parameters of its acceptability and taboo with each new generation since the Scarlet Letter. Why is American society becoming so obsessed with these types of scandals and what does it say about the morality of our society? Perhaps society is not solely obsessed with the adultery itself; maybe society is more obsessed with its leaders “fall from grace”.

Sexual affairs have been a part of U.S. politics since Thomas Jefferson. However, politicians' affairs were generally kept outside the purview of the public eye. Over the years we have began to see a change. Society is somehow fascinated with the whole idea of adultery and the entertainment industry celebrates it and portrays it mostly in a very romantic light. I am guilty of watching shows such as “The Good Wife”, a show about the wife and family of a politician involved in a sexual scandal or “Desperate Housewives” that romanticize and make adultery seem like the right thing to do if you need a little excitement in your life. Perhaps...
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