Faculty in the News In the News

February 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Bernstein Pens Column on Trump’s impeachment, Constitution, and Lawyers’ Ethics

Dr. Alyssa Bernstein, portrait

Dr. Alyssa Bernstein

Dr. Alyssa R. Bernstein authored a column in the Athens News headlined “Trump’s impeachment, our Constitution, and lawyers’ ethics.”

Bernstein is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University.

There is a bright side to the impeachment of President Trump: It makes it easy for me, as a professor teaching moral and political philosophy, to convince my students of the value of studying the history of Western political philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) favored absolute monarchy – a form of government headed by a dictator who was supreme in the sense that there was no legal limit to his ruling powers. Such a dictator could do whatever he wanted, including randomly executing innocent people with impunity. Why did Hobbes think that such a dictator could be a legitimate ruler? He thought might makes right. Hobbes argued that any ruler who has enough physical and psychological power to rule the population through force and threat of force is legitimate.

John Locke (1632-1704), whose thoughts inspired and guided America’s Founding Fathers, rejected absolute monarchy and argued in favor of republican (small “R”) government and the rule of law (as contrasted with the “rule of men,” meaning, the arbitrary wills of particular rulers)….

Read her entire column in the Athens News.

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