VOL. 2, NO. 6, PGS. 15–32


Ethics and Politics
Variations on a Discontinuous Relationship
Roberto Follari

Roberto Follari is a Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the National University of Cuyo. He is also the author of La alternativa neopopopulista: el reto latinoamericano al republicanismo liberal.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.

It is common for citizens to interpret the behaviour of political professionals —or of those who enter representative office— in terms of how they understand their own status as ethical subjects: adherence to, for example, honesty —telling the truth— humility —not seeking to excel in collective situations— and condescension —making room for others rather than putting one’s own will first— among other widely accepted canons of personal ethics. This does not mean that citizens, most of them, comply with what is prescribed by such canons, but rather that they imagine themselves as practical bearers of these values and standards of conduct.

As is well known in political theory and also in psychoanalysis, one’s own interests are often assumed to be sublime values. This explains why an important part of the population —made up, above all, of the middle and upper classes and the most enlightened and well-read sectors— assumes that it possesses precise and crystalline ethical values, which is why it complains about the lack of transparency on the part of those who are most active in political action. Certainly, when faced with conflictive situations in family or work relationships, these individuals resort to omitting information, partially or totally falsifying it, and putting pressure on those who have less power. But none of this prevents them from noticing that in politics the transgression of ethical principles usually taken for granted is often open and obvious.

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