Amoral Politics

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It is easy to point at Lords, leaders and their judgments - especially in hindsight - and to call them immoral or bad and claim that they have misled or lied a group of peoples but it is in times like these that one must remember what politics truly is, and what it should be used for.

Politics is a tool for leaders to defend, enrich and allow their citizens to prosper. A good leader isn’t a Lord who is kind or good in a religious or moral sense; although these qualities may often be looked up to and help with popularity; it is someone who can fulfil the needs of their peoples - namely as mentioned before - to defend, enrich and bring honour to the state. As mentioned before, being nice may be a good virtue in general but what citizens most need from rulers is effectiveness, which may well call upon some darker arts.

Once we understand this basic requirement we stand to be less disappointed and clearer about what we want from our lords and politicians.

Leaders may find it difficult, in fact almost impossible, to be both a good politician and a good person but they should fear this not. For they must only remember one thing, that it is their duty to the state which they must place above the duty to themselves to be good. The overwhelming responsibility of a good Lord is to protect his state from external and internal threats to stable governance, this means he must know how to fight but more importantly he must know about reputation and the management of those around him. People should neither find he is soft or easy to disobey nor should they find him so cruel that he disgusts his society -  He should seem unapproachably strict, but reasonable in judgement.

In order to be strict, difficult decisions may have to be made and whilst it may be ideal to be both loved, *and* feared and obeyed - a Lord should always err on the side of inspiring terror. For this is ultimately what keeps people in check. Whilst contemporaries may suggest that Lords should be merciful, peaceful, generous and tolerant they must be reminded that being a good person is, in short, not the same as being a good leader. I ask you readers to dwell on the incompatibility between moral ethics and good governance. I would like you to attempt to think of one nation that is or was led by a truly good, moral, generous, merciful - some would say weak - Lord, and whether peace, stability and prosperousness lasted long if at all. What tends to happen to the moral, ‘good person’ leaders is that they are overthrown in the most gruesome of events and uproar and chaos ensues.  A Lord must put his state and its self-interest first and seek to increase its power, for even an effective Lord can be the subject to attempts at overthrowing the state and it’s leadership; they will just be more equipped to handle it.

Instead of following true but weak morals, leaders should follow a new Virtue, a political virtue. A leader would do well to make judicious use of my new Virtue. Namely of wisdom, strategy, strength, bravery and when necessary, ruthlessness. Some may call this a criminal virtue, in which case I would agree with them, but it is important to understand that it is a necessary ability of leaders to be cruel in the name of the state, and yet, still good as leaders. I would argue there are some criteria for what constitutes the right occasion for the use of this criminal virtue; Any violence must be strictly necessary for the security of the state, it must be done swiftly, often and night and it should not be repeated too often - lest the reputation for mindless brutality builds up. One should remember that the wellbeing of the state is important, and brutality is not in the benefit of a Leader or it’s Peoples. At intervals between these events is when one should look to welfare policies, cut taxes, provide cheap foods, build memorials and organise festivals to keep citizens from dwelling on unfortunate memories.

What I argue, in the end, is that one cannot be good at or for all things, not only because of our limited abilities and resources, but also because of conflicts within moral codes. Some of the fields we choose such as politics may require difficult decisions and ethical trade offs. We may have to sacrifice visions of kindness in order to gain practical effectiveness. This is the price of dealing with the world as it is, and not as we feel it should be - for there is no room for delusion or wishful thinking if you are to be successful. It is unfortunate that I have to focus your attention on the uncomfortable tension between the two things we love and always want to have together but perhaps can’t - effectiveness and kindness.

It is with this, that I advise leaders to take into consideration the principles laid out in this publication. Be effective, use political virtue when needed but remind the peoples of your good heart when said policies become too potent. Take them all into account and be flexible with your decisions. For the lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten wolves. One must adapt and be pragmatic.

~ Khestor Thidirlun