Once again, I can't speak for everyone (and I wish because of this that I could be directly addressed more often), but I can at least clarify my own position.2CentsWorth said:While I can see everyone's point, this is what I've ascertained so far:
Not at all. I'm not defending the specific actions of any specific person. I'm only making the argument for the case that I explicitly stated above:1) All politicians lie, therefore what's the big deal if Bush lies.
Imagine a situation in which taking action X results in consequence Y that is desirable for the greater good. However, the factual case for action X is not enough to compel those who would authorize that action. In that case, I believe that overstating the argument for action X is justified, even if doing so is a deceptive tactic.
I've never specified whether I believe Bush's or any other politician's specific lies to be such a case. If they are, however, then I feel they are justified.
This one is pretty faithful to my own position. I'll elaborate below.2) It's okay to lie if it's for a greater good.
I don't get the feeling that anyone has presented this position, not even SOS. It's okay for any leader to lie so long as it is in accordance with my generalized case from above. According to me, anyway. Take it for what you will. I have a good deal of experience with ethics but I'm no professional.3) It's not okay to lie when it's a leader you don't support, or visa versa.
But you do accept it, at least in limited cases. Everyone does. Who would honestly say that they would not lie to save their professor's life, given the example I gave earlier of the gunman looking for him? That is a greater good, no? It is my contention that everyone can agree that it is okay in limited cases such as these to lie for the greater good. The difficulty lies in determining what circumstances we will allow such lies to take place in and how we can adequately generalize to provide an abstract ethical rule. I will extend it as far as the bold outline above. I hope you don't feel this is completely arbitrary.The second conclusion is dependent on a person's definition of the "greater good" so I also cannot accept it.
Americans should expect from their leaders the same behavior that they themselves display. This alone does not make this behavior right or justified, but it shouldn't exactly come as a shock. Maybe that isn't what you mean by "expect," though. You seem to just mean that we should use complete honesty as an absolute ethical standard to which our leaders should be held. You should qualify this position because it is open to several very obvious attacks, even aside from the abstractions I have presented.Americans should expect an honest government and honest leaders no matter what party, etc.