When Conscience Calls…

When Conscience Calls

Calvin Mulligan October 20, 2023 (c) All rights reserved

Within the dank confines of modern management theory and practice, matters of conscience are given remarkably little consideration. And HR departments, pre-occupied with dutifully box-checking delivery of the latest ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives, seem detached from the ethical struggles and stresses of employees. Perhaps its considered a non-issue, now that moral rectitude has been outsourced to the enlightened ones at the WEF and the UN. (It’s a matter for another day, but their attempts at erasing morality or its globalization could be ranked among the latest crimes against humanity.)

Back to organizational life. One the one hand, I’m sure it’s pretty clear to most employees that their individual virtue points score mattes. So they better keep up appearances at those indoctrination…excuse me, I mean cultural marxist-flavoured training sessions. But when do moral convictions and personal ethics matter? And how does a conscientious employee manage the tensions between personal values (often informed by experience) and the values underlying corporate policy and decision-making? Let’s see. After forty years in organizational life, how many forums on personal ethics and corporate values was I invited to attend? As best I can recall it was “zero”.

The influence of personal convictions and conscience haven’t been entirely extinguished however. This week I read that a gentleman named Josh Paul, former Director of Congressional and Public Affairs at the US State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, resigned on LinkedIn. The resignation was an expression of dissent concerning the Biden Administration’s plan to seek Congressional approval for an unprecedented military aid package for Israel. After 11 years with the State Department, Paul called the decision “an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias” and “intellectual bankruptcy” and said he couldn’t work in support of a “shortsighted, destructive, unjust” policy.

Paul stated: “I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued — indeed, expanded and expedited — provision of lethal arms to Israel — I have reached the end of that bargain,

The letter Paul posted to LinkedIn explaining his resignation appears here: via DocumentCloud:

Paul knew his job entailed “moral complexities” when he signed up. And knowing that, he did something going in that I suspect many civil servants fail to do; he drew his moral-ethical line in the sand. In effect, he made himself a promise or entered a contract with himself. In a sense, his resignation was the fulfillment of that contract.

“I knew it was not without its moral complexity and moral compromises, and I made myself a promise that I would stay for as long as I felt I the harm I might do could be outweighed by the good I could do. In my 11 years I have made more moral compromises than I can recall, each heavily, but each with my promise to myself in mind, and intact. I am leaving today because I believe that in our current course with regards to the continued – indeed, expanded and expedited – provision of lethal arms to Israel – I have reached the end of that bargain.”

Whether you have as sensitive a job as Josh Paul or not, there’s an abundance of wisdom in clearly demarcating your ethical line in the sand. Better yet, articulate it on paper ( perhaps in even more specific terms) where you can reference it periodically. Until it’s clearly articulated, there’s strong likelihood that in the heat of battle, the line will blur or be forgotten. Or, under coercive pressures from management and colleagues, you’ll be tempted to move the line. There are of course the complaint and insecure “yes, boss” civil servants who are prepared to completely erase it. Just keep in mind that, neither “just doing my job” or “my boss told me to” constitutes viable defence when ethical failures become known. Nor will “the end justifies the means” be considered an acceptable explanation or rationale.

While we witness fresh examples of moral cowardice and compromise daily, this, more than ever before, is a time for courage, integrity and bold truth-telling as it is all the more rare. Twenty five years ago, I exhorted my colleagues working under work pressures to recognize that sometimes they would need to act as if their mortgage was paid (whether it was or not.) What price do you put on the sweet serenity of living with a clear conscience or the inner peace that comes from knowing you fulfilled your first contract with yourself or with God? Without explicitly telling us, Josh Paul has told the world that he answers to something or someone higher than his (misguided, in my view) bosses at the State Department.

I encourage you to read the text of his letter in full as it may provide some fresh oxygen for suffocating consciences. And too many have been suppressed for the last three years. Organizations do a lot public posturing and pontificating concerning their commitments to core values, but when the heat’s on and their overseers bluster and thunder, it can be another story. Then their magicians go to work and shizzam, a convenient, unwritten “notwithstanding” escape clause is discovered.

At this point, the pearl-clutching ESG virtue point grifters are no doubt assuring themselves that they or their organization would never stoop to that. Really? Suffice to say, the trampling on employees’ human rights, and the callous disregard for bodily sovereignty and religious freedoms during the Scamdemic was beyond Guinness World Record Book level. The fate of the corporate commitments to uphold much-vaunted core values and guiding principles remains a mystery. (And to my knowledge only one provincial premier has issued a public apology for the abuses heaped on non-believers.)

The Great Awakening heralded among the growing world wide “freedom” world community has no doubt taken on varied meanings. To many it is a rebellion against the soul-killing rule of the transhumanists, a vision of life- affirming alternative to the globalist Great Reset. Proportionately, it’s also a spiritual awakening — a reviving of individual and collective souls. The Josh Paul resignation is a declaration as much as anything — testimony to the fact that a spark of human conscience still burned within the US State Department — at least until October 18, 2023.

End notes:

Top State Department official resigns in protest of Biden’s “blind support” of Israel,

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