Ethics Quote of the Week

“In today’s world of suicide bombers and a ravaged economy, it seems not merely frivolous, but ludicrous.”

——— New York Times Assistant Editor Richard Berke, referring to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in his review of the new book, The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr, by Ken Gormley, in the New York Times Book Review.

Berke’s view is popular, common, and ethically indefensible. A President of the United States of America lied under oath in a formal court proceeding, an act that would disqualify him for the practice of law in every state in the nation. He orchestrated a cover-up withing his administration to avoid the consequences of that lie, and lied again in a statement before the American people, not in the interests of national security, but to hide his own misconduct.

Demanding integrity, respect for the law, and conduct in keeping with the importance, dignity and significance of the high office of the President of the United States of America is not, and must never be regarded as, either frivolous or ludicrous. I can only hope that eventually, over time, after the distortions and biases of political passions fade into historical and ethical perspective, sentiments like Berke’s will be both rare and derided for misguided priorities they champion.

5 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week

  1. A common defense of Clinton is that Starr went overboard on his investigation. Clinton made a small mistake, but the true villain was Starr.

    So I learn that two wrongs make a right, and if someone does something wrong find someone else that has done something else wrong, and proclaim that to be worse. Make your side look good by the relative innocence of their crime.

    So based on the above “logic”, can we proclaim Nixon innocent as well? Or is he still guilty because he was not as smooth a talker?

    Thanks for the website, I think I may slowly be learning.

  2. I am astonished by Berke’s comment. Because today we are fighting terrorists, a ravaged economy, the highest jobless rate since the Great Depression, suddenly HISTORY does not matter?

    Why then during other times of distress did we seem to care so much about the personal life of Thomas Jefferson, one of our most important founders, presidents, and whose memorial stands in grandeur in Washington? Reason: We have come to learn that we cannot always separate the public from the private man. And that the public and private man are inextricably related. (This does not just relate to politicians, e.g., Tiger Woods, Frank Sinatra, Roger Clemens and on and on and on.)

    Clinton was a lawyer, committed perjury, committed sexual harassment by virture of the bill he himself signed into law, and quit the bar before he could be embarrassed by being disbarred by his legal peers.

    Don’t tell me that current events overshadow what a sitting president did to cover his own actions, and used his own administration to help him do it, when he committed crimes. That is simple nonsense and everyone knows it. The Clinton defenders need to wake up. History will not treat him well, and he will deserve every bit of the negative treatment he receives.

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