Great post on law, morality, ethics and the quest for ultimate meaning!
Originally posted on Everyday Thomist:
Today, however, we are going to look at a well-known story, popularized by the musical, of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I watched and discussed the Dreamcast version of the musical last night with my church small group. We aren’t going to rehash the whole story here. If you don’t know it, go out and get the DVD immediately, and then be sure to read the book as soon as you can. In this post, we are going to look at the various ethical theories which different characters represent, and what the story overall can tell us about ethics.
One of the ethical theories the movie portrays is what is called a deontological, or rule-based theory, most clearly represented by the police inspector Javert. Deontological ethical theories say that the moral thing to do in any given situation is to follow the rules, to obey the law, to do your duty. Deontological theories tend to downplay the relevance of consequences. This means that if there is a rule not to lie, it is immoral to lie, even if lying will help a lot of people.
A famous hypothetical scenario to illustrate what deontological theories look like if taken to an extreme is the “Nazi at the door” scenario. It goes as follows: say you are hiding Jews in your basement to protect them from being sent to a concentration camp. A Nazi comes to the door and asks if you have any Jews in your house. You know that lying is wrong, but you also know that if you do you obey your duty to tell the truth, the Jews in your basement will probably die. A deontological theorist would say that even in this scenario, lying is immoral.
Originally posted on Favour B. Afolabi [FBA]:
I have taken the time to review the budgets of the 36 states for 2014 to see how each of them as led by either the PDP, APC, LP, APGA fare on this subject of “infrastructural development versus emoluments” – this I have done in an attempt to situate what can even remotely be described as the spending patterns of these political parties.
As you would see from the prepared table, the APC-led states actually have the pattern of spending more on Recurrent expenditure than the PDP, APGA, LP as much as those differences are not very sharp – this would suggest that this issue of possibly over-bloated recurrent expenditure is a general problem facing the polity rather than one created by a particular political part.
Then again, have we taken into consideration the effect of increasing the minimum wage from N8,500 to an average of N18,000 being an extra 53% on what each state is expected to pay in the new year?
Originally posted on The Failed Rift:
President Goodluck Jonathan recently gave his assent to the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013 [SSMPA] – which had been passed by the legislature as far back as November 2011. The bill has been met with either overwhelming praise or disappointment depending on where you stand. Nonetheless, as both sides have been advancing apologies to protect their stand, I have observed a number fallacies that I wish to refute here.
Going by the conversations, comments, blog posts and editorials in the past week, since the law was passed, I noticed that the critiques of the SSMPA hinge their opposition to this law on certain fundamental assumptions. In many cases, their defence was presented with a “take it or leave it” attitude. This unfortunately, portrays anyone with a contrary view as a hypocrite, bigot, illiterate or lunatic. On the side of the divide, some supporters of the SSMPA hinge their praise on a poor foundation. Some simply regurgitate religious precepts that are neither properly explained nor understood. Others make an appeal to culture and customs or simply that we are just not ready for such a seismic shift as accepting homosexuality.
Consequently, this piece aims at tackling the assumptions made by the pro-gay rights advocates and in the process base the argument against on the firmer grounds on which religious precepts and most customs are knowingly or unknowingly based.
Tags: banking reform, challenge, change, corruption, kleptomania, leadership, vested interest, Youth
Noel A. Ihebuzor
SLS’ TEDx youth platform lecture which he gave in August 2013 showed up on Twitter last week and was roundly shared. The timing of the appearance might not be accidental. SLS’s sympathizers may have deliberately chosen to put it up to present their principal as a good outspoken technocrat who could be trusted to convey hard and inconvenient truths as a counter to the view of him as someone who could leak an official letter which was gaining ground. The technocrat who speaks hard truth view is positive. The government official who leaks a letter view is negative and damning.
I listened to the man. He is a good communicator, he spoke well and clear. His NVC was perfect. He got and retained the attention of his audience. The use of stories with his children showed him as a man who tries to connect with his children and young people but he goofed in not knowing the precise age of one of his children
He found a connection to his audience and maintained it – coming back to the gap between actual and potential, between aspiration to greatness and refusal to do things that lead to greatness was a good one. He told the youths what they wanted to hear. He then challenged them. But he also blew his own trumpet – how under him, the CBN took on and brought defaulting bankers to book. He stressed what they did in the area of asset recovery.
Was he marketing himself as a good presidential candidate in this lecture? Was this speech brought up at this strategic point in time so that the APC would notice and approach him as a possible presidential candidate now that Tambuwal has almost blown his chances by his “body language” talk and reports of his displaying fawning obsequiousness immediately to the president? I am sure that the APC is also “clueful” enough to know that El-Rufai is a “no-touch/ba takpa” on this one. Sule Lamido wavers in his defection aspirations. The former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, is poorly perceived since he is seen as having virtually sold himself down the river when he succumbed and fraternized with a GEJ led administration! Aliyu Babaginda has so far acted as a man who is unsure on which side his bread is best buttered. The hunt for a northern presidential candidate for the APC is still on. And this is a season defections! Is the airing of this TEDx then a well timed publicity piece for someone seen as a good candidate? Or were SLS and his handlers/sympathizers using the speech to try to redeem his image after the gaffe of his politically motivated but poorly packaged missing funds accusation where he had played to a certain political gallery and to the tune of its vested interests? Recall that after the confutation by the NNPC, SLS had come across as a loose cannon who could speak at times without either bothering to consult or verifying his facts? Was the timing of the replay of this TEDx part of efforts then at damage control and image redemption? I am still struggling to unravel this one.
Now back to the TEDx lecture and its content. SLS was spot on in lambasting us for our grab-grab mentality and the immorality of our leadership class, be they in the private, public or political sectors. Kleptomania “rules OK” and we are proof that the law of diminishing returns does not apply to the hunger and consumption of the proceeds of graft and corruption. He blasted our rentier state mind set and showed that it applied even in the private sector. Here again, he was spot on.
He was also subtly critical of GEJ’s approach to corruption – but in pointing out his (SLS’s) successes against corrupt bankers, he was indirectly agreeing that GEJ’s administration was also acting against corruption. The success of the CBN boss is the success of his boss!
I had hoped he would say something on cronyism and nepotism and the extent to which he had worked and succeeded to bring these two manifestations of corruption under control during his headship of the CBN – but he did not! People are usually taciturn when it comes to talking on areas where they have not succeeded! Did his listeners fail to pick up this gap in his speech?
He also indirectly criticized previous CBN governors for failures in regulatory and oversight functions and for being slack. He made reference to 2009 as the watershed year – year when he came to power and began to change things. I expect a reply from his predecessors in office to show that they too were not sleeping on duty.
He scored major points on the fuel subsidy saga and sham. He was scathing in his comments on oil theft and bunkering, placing the blame squarely on the Navy and agencies charged to protect our pipelines. But he was silent on the correctness of the decision to remove the subsidy, the non-removal which fuels and sustains much of the corruption in the oil industry. The technocrat stepped down here and the political animal knew that it is politically incorrect to be seen as recognizing/admitting the merits in oil subsidy removal in public. His silence on this touchy issue was “politically correct speek” taken to perfection.
He challenged the youth to come out and challenge “vested interest”, this very elusive beast which always acts with “circumstances beyond our control” and the devil to frustrate all our best plans and intentions in this country. Clearly, he must believe very strongly in the young generation to ask them to take on such a formidable foe. He must have a lot of confidence in them.
Have they lived up to this confidence? Have they shown that they are different from their fathers and mothers? The fuel subsidy protests presented this young generation with an opportunity and a structure upon which they could truly organize and become a credible political platform and vanguard for real change. But did they pick up this opportunity? I am not sure that they did. Rather than build/consolidate this platform, rather than form a viable and third political force in politics in Nigeria, rather than seek to reach out and extend beyond Lagos, their leaders chose self aggrandizement on social media and to align themselves with differently garbed members of the same political class whose excesses have kept this country on her knees and made her unable to rise to claim her destiny and a place in the sun. I am not sure that these leaders got more than measly bowls of porridge for this unfortunate affiliation. I hope they decode SLS’s message, return the bowls and redeem themselves. They were severe, and correctly too, in their judgment of the failures of their parents. History will judge them even more harshly for betrayed hopes unless they act now to redeem themselves.
By the way, is this TEDx speaker not the same controversial SLS who, gossip has it, promoted a lady ahead of her time to protect a personal and vested interest? After listening to him, I concluded that all those tongues that tried to rise in judgment against this fine son of Nigeria for promoting a lady at his own will, whim and speed, were doing so out of envy and “pepper eye”. A good man like SLS has a right to certain interesting vested interests which he can then divest or unvest at his want and will. Anyway, having being held spell bound in his lecture by the fire in his voice and the flawlessness in his English, I now believe that those accusations were baseless envy-driven gossip.
Oh, I forget – I liked his dressing and his build – I wish I was that well dressed and good looking. Nature can be unfair!
Strongly Recommended Read
Originally posted on FEATHERS PROJECT:
By Nwachukwu Egbunike
The internet is a neutral tool but the users are not: they might be fair and balanced or obnoxiously biased. And the Nigerian blogosphere is no exception to this rule. Consequently, it is given that there exists – in some cases – a Janus-like existence between online and offline media.
It takes neither rocket science nor a diviner’s globe to state that the netizen is first and foremost human. As such the identity, bias or both that a netizen expresses on issues in the blogosphere was formed apriori offline. This does not mean that new habits cannot be acquired online, nonetheless, the greater part of our digital footprints are forged not online but entrenched in reality.