Morality and Politics: An Oxymoron or a Myth?

It is generally believed in a “Free and Democratic Society” Moral Values are foundational to our political culture.  Yet we have a decaying democracy, a rise of totalitarianism and a growing acceptance that corruption is normal in governance.

Political ethics, according to Wikipedia, is “the practice of making moral judgments about political action and political agents.  It covers two areas.  The first is the ethics of process…which deals with the public officials and the methods they use.  The second area, the ethics of policy…concerns judgments about policy and law.”

The Angus Read Institute has just released a study on “Modern Morality” amongst Canadians.  It notes “Religion, culture, and convenience often play a role in deciding what is right or just, and what is unacceptable or implorable.”

Only 16% of Canadians believe there are “moral absolutes” but yet we have elected a faith-based socially conservative majority government in Alberta.   What doe this say about the level of awareness, engagement or the politically informed level of the progressive, moderate pluralist secular citizen-voter in Alberta?  That is the largest population segment but also the more indifferent to civic participation.

Were we ignorant or naive in our assessment of the existence and consequences of that enormous influence inside the  UCP Base?  Or were we looking for a strong “Father Figure” in April 2019 to take over and use a strict command and control governance model to fix the economic recession?  Did we vote this way knowing that any real recession solution is beyond provincial government control and capacity to resolve?

Or was it more complex in that we were still in a state of political flux and the search for certainty is far from over?  Realize that we just elected our sixth Premier in just over a decade.

Morality in politics is foundational and fluid as the Angus Reid study shows.  We are far from finding the path forward or even defining the preferred destination for the next Alberta.  In the meantime Trust in government and politics continues to decline dramatically.

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