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A Case Study of Ethics in Government: BILL CLINTON

A Case Study of Ethics in Government: BILL CLINTON

  • Many allies of former President Bill Clinton did not consider Clinton ineffective in spite of his moral sexual failures while in the White House. However, ethicists can be cited who contend otherwise: “that there is a necessary linkage between private character and public performance. A leader’s personal integrity and promise keeping are especially important in the international arena.”
  • Private ethics with public influence and ethical leadership can also be linked: “Clinton’s deeds are clearly a public matter because they produce “disillusionment, further erosion of trust in officials, and dreadful distractions from pressing matters of public business.”      A Case Study of Ethics in Government: BILL CLINTON
  • However, not all ethicists or theologians share their view. As commented by one of the American theologian “The private lives of our public leaders are best left private or we will have none allowed to lead.”
  • Still another ethicist, adds what appears to be a middle ground, “If an employer is involved sexually with a private citizen outside the workplace, arguably that’s none of our business.” On the other hand, the same ethicist says, “sex with a subordinate that occurs at the office becomes a public matter.”
  • However, is this truly a middle ground or simply a compromise based on situational ethics? If that private citizen is not his or her spouse and this employer is a high profile public figure that is head of a university, charitable organization, or influential corporation, does that change the argument? On what basis does the matter become the business of public ethics? What is the line between a private issue and a scandal? When does this sexual involvement cross the ethical line?    A Case Study of Ethics in Government: BILL CLINTON
  • Any number of variables could be added to the situation concerning an employer and his or her sexual encounters. For example, is the employer married or single? However, without a moral base from which to distil an ethical judgment, morality becomes moot if approached from a situational stance.  A Case Study of Ethics in Government: BILL CLINTON




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