Political Realism

The value is governmental legitimacy. Political Realist Bernard Williams explains

“It is a necessary condition of legitimacy (LEG) that the state solve the first [political] question.”

He furthers,

“I identify the “first” political question in Hobbesian terms as the securing of order, protection, safety, trust, and the conditions of cooperation. It is “first” because solving it is the condition of solving, indeed posing, any others.”

Therefore, a legitimate government is one who ensures the safety of its citizens and protects their interests. The value criterion is consistency with political realism. Political realism is the idea that governments should not be dictated by morality, but rather what influences real politics. According to Rossi and Sleat PHD 2014

“The Hobbesian thought is that if ethics could effectively regulate behavior in political communities as it does amongst friends and acquaintances, we would not require politics. We need politics because of the ubiquity of moral disagreements about what we collectively should do, the ends to which political power should be put, politics cannot be a domain that is straightforwardly regulated by morality”

Realism allows for political behavior to conform to sensitive conditions that governments must act under. Governments are forced to make decisions where there is no clear moral answer, thus they ought to default to the action that best protects the safety and interests of their own citizens. This means that states cannot have moral obligations to other states or the citizens of other states.  

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