on June 8, 2000
When one hears the phrase "political morality", one is inclined to throw it off as an oxymoron. This set of case studies, compiled and commented on by Professors Amy Gutmann (of the esteemed Princeton University) and Dennis Thompson (of a small liberal arts college in Boston), shows us that the term is incredibly relevant to us today, not just as possible politicians (most of us aren't), but as informed citizens in a democratic society. This collection is separated into two parts: one which deals with the difficult decisions made in times of crisis, and the second with the hard choices inherent in public policy. The first part outlines case studies on issues such as dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and lying in office. The studies and commentaries force us to consider if and when it is right to ignore conventional morality for a possibly greater end. The second deals with currently-raging controversies such as abortion and the death penalty. This part encourages us to consider cases in which two competing ends are at stake. Overall, this collection is an engaging and thorough investigation into a large number of past and current controversies that encourages us to consider the issues from all sides.