Breach of Trust
Truth, morality and politics
In Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics, Raimond Gaita confronts essential questions about politics as it is practised today. What do politicians mean when they talk about "trust"? Why is truthfulness important? Are we as politically and morally divided as the Americans? Does the war on terror authorise leaders to do things that once were considered beyond the pale?
Gaita argues for a conception of politics in which morality is not an optional extra. He discusses why successful politicians must at times be economical with the truth, but shows a way beyond cynicism on the one hand and moralising on the other. Politics, he says, is conceivably a noble vocation, as well as potentially a tragic one. He looks closely at patriotism and its distortions, and the temptation to betray our deepest values in the act of protecting ourselves. Combining gentle evocation with gloves-off argument, Breach of Trust is a clarion call from one of Australia's leading thinkers.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 16, Breach of Trust:
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I felt heartened and enormously stimulated by Raymond Gaita's words, as much by the extraordinary eloquence and clarity of the argument ... as I was by the revolutionary nature of what I took to be the main point: namely, that we are, as a culture and therefore as individuals, being asked for the first time whether we are willing to consent to the use of torture, and therefore to become complicit in the practice of evil on our behalf.
Breach of Trust is a discussion a genuine democracy with accountable government needs to have.
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