Study: Morals often sacrificed for country

November 18, 2005

A Virginia Tech study suggests statesmen often abandon their principles for the good of their country.

A researcher at the school's Institute for Public Administration and Policy, Stephanie Newbold, looked at such moral dilemmas and explains elected officials often enter public office with an ideology or perspective for how the government should be managed and what it is and is not responsible for.

She said governing a nation is quite different from the way individuals govern themselves or what they believe the government should be. For example, Newbold notes that with the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson turned on his own values, but made the best decision for the economic, political, and national security interests of the American people.

"His choice was the wrong decision for his peace of mind, his moral consistency, and the principle of strict construction, but it was the right decision for the nation," Newbold writes.

Her study is detailed in the November issue of Public Administration Review.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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