To what extent must and may ethics take a back seat in politics?

2021-11-04 On Friday, 12 November 2021, at 12 noon a panel discussion with David McAllister and Björn Thümler on the topic "To what extent must and may ethics take a back seat in politics?" will be held in the foyer of the Central Building. We cordially welcome all who are interested.

Climate protection, social justice, and the protection of human rights are examples of primarily ethical demands, which politicians are expected to act upon. On special occasions, such as the current UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, such ethical demands are expressed with particular force. Politics, however, is primarily about what is feasible, and democracies are concerned with what can be approved by the majority. How do the two fit together?

In the sense of acting individuals, politicians wholeheartedly share certain ethical values and stand up for them. The ethical ought, however, is uncompromising due to its normativity and can thus become a burden for the political process of negotiation (cue Adorno: "There is no right in the wrong.").

How can this challenge be handled responsibly and with foresight by political leaders, given that majority solutions and thus also compromises are indispensable for political stability and political action? David McAllister and Björn Thümler, two long-term top politicians, reflect on this question based on their profound experience, especially with regard to Europe, and to Lower Saxony as a science and technology location. Michael Koß will be moderating the discussion.

Further information

  • David McAllister is former Minister President of the State of Lower Saxony, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the EPP and the International Democratic Union.
  • Dr. hc. Björn Thümler is the current Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Koß is Professor for the Political System of the Federal Republic of Germany and the EU at Leuphana University Lüneburg.