Is politics suffering from a death of character?

By 
  • November 28, 2013

Writing in The Death of Character, James Hunter argues that character is frequently associated with words like honour, reputation, integrity, manners, duty and even manhood. Character, he argues, is always associated with an explicitly moral standard of conduct oriented towards work, building, expanding, achieving and sacrifice on behalf of a larger good.

We may not all have the same faith orientation; we may not all subscribe to the same political ideology or ethical standpoint; we may not all agree with the general direction of society and how to construct a better future, but we all agree that character matters in public and private duties. We admire people who have character and integrity even when we disagree with their positions on key issues.

Our daily commitment to the common good or personal goals and ideals always reflects our character. This is particularly so with regard to public service. Today, many Canadians are asking: Can our politicians be trusted? What kind of values and virtues govern our municipal, provincial and national politics? How can we socialize our children and future generations into the kind of confused ethical climate coming from the Senate and some of our municipalities in Ontario and Quebec? Is there a death of character and honour in contemporary Canadian politics?

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