In this month’s Prospect podcast (downloadable, and available to the right of this page), our resident philosopher Nigel Warburton considers the merits of shame as a motivating force in politics.
When politicians are found to have done wrong, should we expect more from them than public apologies and a display of contrition? Is it worse that Anthony Steen MP apparently misused public money, or that he initially refused to apologise for doing so?
As Warburton argues, the expenses scandal has shown that our political culture may be overly dependent on public shame as a mechanism for keeping greed in check. A more reliable technique might be to develop a greater sense of private guilt.
As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.