Political Action The Problem Of Dirty Hands By Michael Walzer

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A leader’s job is to lead his or her people towards the brightest future in the way that they see most fit. Occasionally, a leader meets a fork in the road where he must make a crucial decision that requires them to choose, make a poor decision in pursuit of good means or make the morally correct decision even if the outcome might not be as good. Although leaders are trusted to make the right choices to better their society, should a leader make a bad choice in order for a good outcome, he must be judged and held accountable for his actions under the law. In society, a good leader should be trusted to do the proper things for the betterment of his constituents within the confines of the law. It is not the leaders job to break the law for the…show more content…
However, if a leader decides to break the law, he must be willing to pay the price. In Michael Walzer’s writing Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands, Walzer points out the idea when talking about Albert Camus’ The Just Assassins. In the play, assassins kill people in nineteenth century Russia. By doing so, “having killed, they are prepared to die-and will die” (Walzer 178). Walzer goes on to analogize this idea of act and punishment with civil disobedience saying; “In both men violate a set of rules, go beyond a moral or legal limit, in order to do what they believe they should do. At the same time, they acknowledge their responsibility for the violation by accepting punishment or doing penance” (Walzer 178). Like Walzer says, prolific leaders must accept the consequences of their actions. A key example would be Nelson Mandela. After trying to lead a rebellion to overthrow the South African government, Mandela was forced to pay the price for his crimes, over 26 years in jail. While the sentence handed down by his adversaries might have been extreme, Nelson Mandela accepted it because he knew that he had broken the law to try and get the government to stop oppressing the black population in South Africa and therefore must pay the price of his actions, even though they were in the pursuit of good ends. After his imprisonment, Mandela went on to get rid of apartheid in South Africa and is widely regarded as the greatest president South Africa has ever had. If a leader sees a way that breaking the law will end in good means and goes on to break the law, he must accept that he will be held responsible for his actions instead of wielding his power to keep himself above the

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