The Problem of Democratic Dirty Hands: Citizen Complicity, Responsibility, and Guilt

The Monist 101 (2):129-149 (2018)

Authors
Stephen De Wijze
University of Manchester
Abstract
This paper outlines and explores the problem of democratic dirty hands, the sui generis moral situation where democratic politicians justifiably violate both a cherished moral principle and the fundamental processes of democratic governance. Some recent contributions to the dirty-hands debate have argued that the principles of democratic governance render DDH impossible. The paper rejects this view as based on a misunderstanding of the minimal and necessary conditions for both DH and democratic overnance. However, DDH does raise interesting issues concerning the complicity of citizens with their politicians’ DH. Citizens are accessories to such acts and have a duty to contribute to the reparations for the victims of DDH. Furthermore, as citizens bear some responsibility for the moral violations that were done in their name, they properly ought to feel some of the moral pollution that these actions generated.
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DOI 10.1093/monist/onx039
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References found in this work BETA

The Fragility of Goodness.Martha Nussbaum - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):376-383.
Plural and Conflicting Values.Michael Stocker - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
On Benefiting From Injustice.Daniel Butt - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):129-152.

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