Imam Khomeini stressed alliance between politics and ethics

Imam Khomeini stressed alliance between politics and ethics

Imam Khomeini, the late founder of Islamic Republic stressed through his works that ethics and politics are closely associated with each other.

According to Imam Khomeini, ethics manifests itself when man is free of the shackles of his personal interests and considerations and moves beyond himself. 

The question which was raised by experts in recent decades has been whether the politics and ethics are separated form eachoterh or closely interwoven?

In the words of Imam Khomeini, the matter of separation between politics and ethics went to such an extent that most of the scholars and holy men had accepted the notion that “religion has its own boundary and so with politics” and even if they wanted to backbite somebody, they would dub him as ‘political or politicized’.

He himself narrates that Pakravan, the then chief of the State Organization for Security and Information (SAVAK) approached him and said, “Sir, politics consists of telling lies, cheating, trickery, jugglery and, in short, chicanery of the highest order ; leave all this to us.

Since the occasion was not appropriate, I decided not to argue with him and said, “From the very beginning we have not been engaged in the kind of politics that you mention.”

In reality, this tenet has two premises. One is that ethics and politics belong to two distinct realms while the other is that political values are different from those of ethics.

Proponents of this view propound that the realm of ethics is that of individual realm and his private affairs, while the realm of politics concerns the assurance of wholesome social life and regulation of social relations of individuals with one another, as well as with the government.

In addition, moral value is a function of truth, whereas in politics the criterion of value judgment is interests and benefits.

A certain political act is good provided that it is beneficial and brings about a positive outcome, this not being so with ethics. Basically, ethics manifests itself when man is free of the shackles of his personal interests and considerations and moves beyond himself.

This point indicates that the precept of separation of ethics from politics does not necessarily mean conflict between them. That is to say, it is not that political acts and movements of politicians are unquestionably repulsive to moral values.

Thus, this tenet is sometimes called the tenet of ‘amorality of politics’. It means that in politics we are up against different kinds of values and standards of measurement, and that politics should not be assessed on the basis of moral values or be judged within the framework of ethics.

So, politics in this sense is neutral; it is not against ethics. However, since in practice, this tenet is not bent on either ensuring or negating ethics, and is only in pursuit of obtaining benefits; it does not refrain from trampling on all the principles and rules of ethics whenever necessary. Hence, this theory throughout history has been tantamount to the negation of ethics and etiquettes.



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