I cam across this blog/opinion and felt that it hits at the heart of everything I am thinking about and writing about in this blog and within my PhD program!
Today, a friend of mine asked me for some help on a paper they are writing for a class and this got me thinking. Her topic had to do with the influence of certain community leaders on the community at large and how this can have negative consequences as far-reaching as constitutional rights.
So what does this have to do with morality, ethics, and war? EVERYTHING!!!
How often are our leaders trained in morality and ethics? Not everyone has to even take a basic philosophy class to earn a Batchelor’s Degree, so how and where are they getting the training to make decisions about war? Whether you are religious or not. there are rules of warfare: before, during, and after each have a set of rules to be followed
And that being said, only military officers receive ethics training and how it pertains to military conduct during a war or a conflict. It is then up to a few officers to impart their knowledge on those following their orders and then hope they are followed. The officer is then responsible for his or her soldier’s actions; the soldier could blame their commanding officer for their actions. Do you see the dilemma?
That being said, what about our politicians? Many of them haven’t been in combat, yet they pass laws that affect our servicemen and women every year. They also vote on wartime conduct and hold officers accountable through trials and such. And WE elect them!! Where do we get our information from? Hopefully, your answer is your own research and due diligence and NOT through the media! See my post about the media!!
What is my point, you ask? Be educated! Demand that those you place in power are educated as well – and I don’t just mean a fancy degree – actually having extensive knowledge of and time spent studying and discussing ethics and morality are important, though lacking in our government and military! How can we expect informed decisions to be made otherwise? There is so much out there to influence what we see and feel: media, church, school, government officials, work, etc. We can’t control it all, but we can at least control what we believe so that when it becomes our turn to influence other’s we know where our thoughts and actions have come from – we are not simply spouting out someone else’s thoughts and ideas.
Voting for Peace in MaliWhile many in the world do not see world peace as possible, maybe they should focus on one nation/state at a time. Maybe we look to largely at the big picture and lose site of the everyday people who still fight for peace and the democracy they long for. Who are you pessimists to say “no” to those dreams? Watch the video, at the link above, and see for youself. Be positive, think small sometimes, and eventually change will happen and peace can prosper!!
Today, I want to focus on the Media and their ethics. I am not going to cite a particular case or drag someone through the mud, but I do want to pose some questions/thoughts/concerns, and maybe just some general food for thought.
Do you believe everything you see on T.V or hear on the radio or read in the newspaper? I truly hope the answer is NO!!! For example, did you know that violence in our world is actually down? Now, I am referring to violence as a whole and I’m talking about the past two to three decades. For one example you can check out this May 2, 2013 story which highlights gun violence.
There are other stats out there from the FBI and various world organizations that show that violence as a whole has declined since the Cold War, but most people think it has increased. What has changed? Well, the quick answer is the internet, media, and increased technologies. We have tons of information at our fingertips and many do not bother to check what they read and hear. You don’t have to agree with me, but I encourage you take all you see and hear with a grain of salt. Remember the Wikipedia issue a few years ago? Anyone can post to those pages and not everything is verified – it’s why I do not allow my students to use it as a viable source in their research papers.
So, whose job is it to check the media? Unfortunately, with the first amendment comes the ability to say whatever one wants as long as it’s not an outright lie. Skirting the truth or only publishing half the information is not lying which means it’s okay, in the eyes of the media. I love the first amendment and all the other rights I have being an American, but this is where ethics and morality come into play and if the media will not use their individual morals and ethics when “sharing” the news, then it becomes up to the public to demand it or censor, on our own, what we choose to listen to, read, or watch on T.V.
Court trials are another area of concern. We’ve all seen the news lately – the media has made sure we all know everything there is to know about various trials and exactly what they think! When did it become the media’s job or responsibility to convict anyone?!? Doesn’t that belong to the lawyers, the jury, and the judge? Do we not all deserve a fair trial? Isn’t that part of our rights as citizens. There needs to be a serious look at what we take as fact versus a look for ratings – people’s lives can be ruined by the media’s lack of a moral code and ethical standards.
Again, this has far reaching consequences. Think of our world view of violence and recent trials. Now, think about our views on other cultures – where do your views come from? How do you feel about things different from you? People? Religion? Education? Opinions? Politics? The media offers you insight into all these things, but how much of it is really true? I am not saying that what you see is a complete lie only that they show the bits and pieces that will get people talking and improve ratings – it is up to us, the average American to then go out and find the rest of the information, digest it, talk about, and finally understand it or ask more questions. This may not be easy by any means, but it’s the only way to start making changes to our world -remember there are future generations and we are aiming to make the world better, not worse for them!
I tend to focus on the macabre and all the problems in our world today. Not the case today! Art has so much to teach us (and it can be carried over to war, war theory, and justice) about the soul and ethics and our morals. It causes controversy on my occasions, but it also brings people together by promoting dialogue and this is my reason for sharing this article. What is the soul? And how do we search for it? In doing so, we tend to think deeper about what things mean to us and how the morals and ethics of others affect us and how we affect others – these are important considerations and without them we cannot hope to resolve any issues that arise around the world today.
So, bring on the art! Enjoy it! Discuss it – whether you like or hate there is a reason for it and those reasons are great for discussions!! Just be respectful of others’ opinions – it may take them longer to reach their artistic soul than you!
While this articles deals with Immigration Reform and the bill which has recently passed in the Senate and will be debated in the House next, the resemblance to issues about everything else from war to interventions to foreign policy and taxes is startling and a little scary. What is a Democrat or Republican today? There are conservatives and liberals within both parties and varying degrees of each which means that no one agrees on anything. How can we, as a country, have faith in our political leaders to come together and work for the good of us, in any situation if they cannot even stop bickering amongst themselves?
Yes, these are unanswerable questions, but they still need to be asked from time to time in the hopes that things may change. This article speaks to the much deeper issues within American politics today, not just the immigration reform that so many are currently rallying about (or worrying about)
Just some food for thought!
Case of Just War Theory not being applied properly again! During the original attacks the UN should have intervened on behalf of those being slaughtered – genocide was happening and nothing was done about it. How can humanitarians, governments, and lay people yell “never again” when genocide has happened time and time again? I’d say we need clear cut criteria but we can’t even come to a consensus on prosecuting it so those who survived can attempt to find peace.