The dichotomy arising out to the conferment of ranks and titles in the administration endangers human values and ethics, which depend on the consistency of character and aptitude.
By Shahid Majeed Mir
Contemporary societies have evolved certain distinguished attributes since times immemorial. These attributes shape and reshape the makeup of society and reorient social attitudes, preferences and beliefs. Our society rests on secular and democratic credentials where equality and liberty are inalienable to human life. Our century rests on the belief of humanism which accords a central place to an individual in society.
In this respect, Montesquieu’s separation of power plays a prominent role. It lays down the conditions for the smooth working of different branches of government without undue internal interferences. From the executive dimension in modern orientation, this mechanism has grown in size as well as volume. The meritocracy of the selection process ensures transparent selection on well-defined parameters. Usually, the selection is made through a rigorous exam that follows a prescribed syllabus.
However, the inability to determine moral character through these exams is emerging as the main crisis and perverts the civilization-administration dichotomy further. Without ethical considerations, the executive violates the civilizational essence.
Man is social, if not political, by nature. Rawls correctly accords the role of shaping the intellect of a man to society. This social nature bestows certain privileges and seeks specific jobs and duties from its members. All those participants who share power are guided by uniform and impersonal rules. The executive branch of any modern government holds immense power in daily affairs to implement policies, programs and laws framed by the legislative organ.
Man is social, if not political, by nature. Rawls correctly accords the role of shaping the intellect of a man to society
The essence of this function lies in the moral code of conduct. Usually, the rules mandate checks and balances, but, as put by Robert Merton: “Administrative personal are also human beings who are fallible”. Either they mistakenly fail to implement the laws while discharging official duties or their moral character impacts their performance.
Since there’s complete segregation between personal and official, yet the manner in which the administrative officers carry out day-to-day activities impacts their moral ethics and social attitude. A person holding a position in the state possesses numerous limitations from a moral perspective.
Nowadays, this moral ethic is lacking in our society. An officer of the highest rank seems to inherit properties while discharging their official duties, not to talk of personal life. What lies at the core of the discussion is the prevailing hype of 21st century and developed civilization. Isn’t there a dichotomy between the two? Are human beings in contradiction with ethics or civilizational attributes?
Civilization survives on recognized social claims which have become part of its essence. These social claims are passed in society through dialectical style for common satisfaction. In this way, every civilization possesses certain principles on whose sustenance its structure sustains. Contemporary civilization is touted as rational and individualistic, guided by reason. As Plato maintains, reason ought to be supreme. This narrative was reoriented to a slightly modified pattern by Locke, who said that “If a man’s reason teaches him to attract respect from others, he ought to respect rights of others on a similar narrative”.
However, this psychology is facing a crisis, as illustrated by the lifestyle of the rank and file in our backyard. Complete contradiction exists between the East and the West. The western public dignitaries think of it as an essence of their duties to serve people. They usually maintain the modest lifestyle of commoners in thoughts as well as deeds. The video clips of President Barrack Obama shaking hands and seeking cover from rain with commoners and that too of the opposite gender is to cite just one of many examples. On the same pattern, Angela Merkel seeking cover from the rain using an umbrella herself shows the grandeur of personality. They aren’t leaving their ethics at the mercy of position held in public life.
On the other hand, public personalities in our backyard promote themselves as distinguished human beings in public life itself. This moral crisis speaks volumes about civilizational ethics, reminding of the dichotomy: “A person isn’t known by the work he performs but what he becomes after the performance of work”. Unfortunately, much of the East deems public office as their sole property and shelves humanism for absurd reasons.
The inclusion of ethics in the civil service augurs well for contemporary civilization, but the perception of Mahatma Gandhi seems illusory. He believed that the “soul is active and initiative. The education isn’t gained from books as such but book of life”.
Although training shapes a person’s intellect to a great extent, to believe it as some panacea is not less than foolishness. The base of human values and ethics depends on man’s character and aptitude, which only a storm can modify. The great sayings and teachings remain limited to influence the character of a man. Our society is passing through a moral crisis. The dichotomy due to rank and title in administration is endangering. The officers are vested with powers of trustees, apart from the essence of humanistic values. Human history teaches us that simple living and high thinking defines great civilizations. All the great men of character like our prophets, sages and saints in spiritualism and science have lived a life of simplicity. Our top brass officials must wake up from this slumber to save the essence of spiritual and humanistic cues from the crisis. There are examples where personalities added grace to the positions through their approach to social issues and a simple lifestyle. Gandhi turned the wind in his favour not because of his intellect but because of his perpetual belief in bread, labour and trusteeship. One can only hope that the sense of ethics prevails in the days ahead.
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