Philosophical and Religious Habituation of Corruption (1)

 Philosophical and Religious Habituation of Corruption (1)

The nature of corruption is a system of Philosophical Thought. Or experience derived from Society and Institutions. Any acts of dishonesty and lack of merits or transparency are forms of corruption. Some philosophical conditioning of corruption includes wickedness in high places, greed, covetousness, dishonesty, and many more vices. In Africa, engineers and architects build substandard roads, schools, hospitals, and houses to profit at the expense of lives. Worldwide, People take bribes and offer bribes. So everything from the structure of democratic governments to due process of the law, from a physician’s Hippocratic oath to societal behaviors have their roots in philosophical and religious habituation of corruption.

Countries, where corruption is endemic and losing the war against it have legally established anti-corruption institutions that lack the Integrity to sustain their positions. These oversight bodies vested with investigative powers are deficient in early warning indicators, professional reporting mechanisms, and the ability to conduct integrity tests. This article highlights the collective responsibility of individuals in combating corruption. It discusses the nature and implications of corruption and proffers novel ways for an anti-corruption crusade. Corruption has corrupted the excellent composition of society and affected the people in their philosophical thoughts.

In contemplating chastisement for acts of corruption, the best approach is on the philosophical theory of Consequentialism, which allows only consideration of the imports of corrupt acts. This theory is in consideration of an ideal rational society. This article delves more into two critical philosophical theories applicable to the study of corruption: Utilitarianism (a variant of Consequentialism) and Deontology. Corruption is evil, and this must be confronted courageously by the power of Change.

 In a broad sense, the philosophical habituation of corruption leads to the truths about corrupt societies: the fouled environment in which the people live and interact. Anti-Corruption has become a wish and a quest rather than a solution. 

 Karl Marx’s analysis led him to conclude that religion was an essential agent of the social regulator. He believed that the locus of ruling leaders stemmed from and was preserved by religious beliefs. Emile Durkheim took a functionalist line to religion and concluded that it was an all-important influence in creating and weathering a harmonious society. Durkheim saw religion as the adhesive that bound society together. Through shared beliefs and practices, religion should create a sense of social identity and reinforce the society’s moral values, which causes conflicts and disunity in some countries. This blog scrutinizes the consequences of philosophical thoughts and religious prose on corruption and anti-corruption. It has become a pervasive phenomenon deepened by global trade development and the presence of global crime syndicates. Also involved are the expansion of international aid to underdeveloped countries, the Internet, and the opportunity for money laundering. In essence, corruption has eroded society’s excellent composition and affected the people in their philosophical thoughts and experiences.

 Philosophical Habituation of Corruption and Anti-Corruption:

The World Bank[1] states, “corruption is the abuse of public power for private (or profit).” Miller and Blacker[2] conclude that in the light of failures of analytical definitions to describe corruption adequately, it is tempting to sidestep the problem of providing a theoretical account of the concept of corruption by just identifying with specific legal and/or moral offenses.

Philosophy is an activity of thought. Philosophy is a particularly unique type of thought or style of thinking. As complex as the modern world has become, it seems unlikely that most of what surrounds us results from the ancient practice of philosophy. Corruption thrives because of the people’s slavery and greedy mentality toward their political and religious leaders. Modern philosophy contains six main branches of thought, each with a unique focus: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Logic, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. All these branches are embraced in Philosophical habituation and have been subjected to corruption and anti-corruption. Corruption is most evident in public life.

The public is derived from the Latin word poplicus, meaning “pertaining to the people,” but it is also related to the Latin word pubes, meaning “adult.” Public life was initially understood as an arena for people who had moved beyond childhood into adulthood and were ready to take care of themselves and help take care of others. Public office-holders are elected or appointed to public office, nationally or locally. Also, all people appointed to work in the Civil Service, Local, State, and Federal Governments, the Police, the Courts and Probation Services, Non-Departmental Public Bodies, and Health, Education, Social, and Care Services are public office holders. The seven principles of public life are:[3] 

  • Selflessness, 
  • Integrity, 
  • Objectivity, 
  • Accountability, 
  • Openness, 
  • Honesty, and 
  • Leadership. 

 The specifics of these seven principles are:

Selflessness: Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest

Integrity: Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organizations that might try to influence them in their work. They should not act or make decisions to gain financial or material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

Objectivity: Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, somewhat, and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

Openness: Public office Holders should act and take decisions openly and transparently. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons.

Honesty: Holders of public office should be truthful.

Leadership: Public office Holders should exhibit these principles in their behavior. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behavior wherever it occurs.

 Lord Nolan first set out these principles in 1995. Andvig and Fjeldstad[4] typify the different forms of corruption as particular state-society relationships, distinguishable in political and bureaucratic corruption. There are various taxonomies of corruption in works of literature, especially in the works of Van der Walt[5] and Spence, Miller, and Roberts. [6]  They make two further distinctions, namely individual-collective corruption and ‘upward extraction/downward redistribution.’ The development of technology also adds new forms of corruption almost daily. Superimposed on the elusive concept of corruption is frequently ‘softened’ by certain local socio-cultural customs. Andvig and Fjeldstad[7] cite the practice of guanxi (gift giving) in China and blat (the use of personal networks and informal contacts to obtain goods and services in short supply and to find a way around formal procedures) in Russia. In Africa, ethnocentrism, nepotism, and/or political affiliations are frequently the driving forces behind acts of corruption. [8] 

 However, different forms of favoritism are found all over the world. Maestripieri[9] describes a particular form of nepotism that is rife in academic circles in Italy. Influential academics (Baroni) regulate admission to graduate programs and academic posts to ensure that family members and children of friends or politicians are awarded places, frequently to the detriment of more suitably qualified candidates. Maestripieri views nepotism from an evolutionistic worldview and declares that it has natural origins and aims to maintain its D.N.A. Nepotism is a classic example of collective self-interest. [11]. All these corruption variants are inclusive and have their roots in philosophical habituation.

 Religious Habituation of Corruption and Anti-Corruption:

Based on the definition of Public life, the incursion of religion into public life, especially in politics, has changed the religious paradigm. This evolving paradigm of religion as a social dynamic shaping the nation’s development has become a significant concern. The overlay of politics on religion has caused major contradictions in geopolitical and legal systems. Religious paradoxes provoke corruption and ethical errors that have impacted negatively on the nation. The culture of the people is intertwined with their religious beliefs. 

 There are pieces of evidence of religious propaganda and counter-religious propaganda fueled by corrupt politicians. The consequences of religion in public life include a culture of mediocrity, coarse cultural traits, religious bigotry, lopsided power sharing, ravages of terrorists, and financial crimes. 

Most of the outward contradictions from allegations of endemic and audacious corruption include domination, exploitation, oppression, discrimination, marginalization, bigotry, and nepotism. Some of these religious leaders cause dysfunction in the political, social, and economy of their nations that cause religious habituation of corruption. 

 There are negative interactions among the various religious groups in the quest for dominance, triggering various types of injustice. Crimes are the attestation of the end products such as armed conflict, armed robbery, pen-robbery, kidnapping, human rituals, and suicide bombing, among several types. The Church must not join in measuring success with material wealth, not minding how it was obtained. The fear of life and possession must not deter the Church from condemning evil; this is the only way to stop religious corruption and embrace religious habituation of anti-corruption.


Consequences of the Philosophical Thoughts and Religious Prose on Corruption and Anti-Corruption:

Capitalistic tendencies have replaced spiritual growth and moral sanctity in society. Through corrupt practices, society has transformed from hard-working individuals to the get-rich-quick type of people. Unemployed youths are not serious about looking for small-income jobs. Still, they prefer to perpetrate fraud, armed robbery, kidnapping for money, and money rituals to use luxurious cars and live in mansions. Some employed youths look out for ways to enrich themselves, especially those in public offices. Greed, Self-indulgence, and Selfishness drive the philosophical thoughts of the people and their religious prose, which promote corruption.

The zeal to gain wealth, by all means, harms the nation. That is the reason crimes are on the increase. That is why there is endemic poverty in the land. A study of corruption requires an examination of the deontological aspects of corrupt actions. Miller and Blacker[12] point out that, to avoid subsuming corruption under the general notion of immoral actions, one has to stress that it is a causal phenomenon. I explain this as philosophical habituation.

 The consequences stretch further than the corrupt act per se, given its involvement of other people or/and institutions. In the philosophical habituation of corruption, collusion is evident between those that are corrupt and those who corrupt them. In this case, the parties each fulfill the role of corruptor and corrupted. The shady character of the corruptor is revealed when he offers a bribe, even if it is subsequently rejected by the would-be corrupted. When the national, a corporation, or an institution is involved in acts of corruption, sincere employees are often drawn into a bond of corrupt practices but do not feel personally responsible. An essential characteristic of corruption is the inclination to engender the type of ‘mesosphere’ in which it can prosper. It counts as one of its most disturbing traits. [13] The corruptor, in logic, seizes control of the morality of the corrupted, separating him from ethically and morally acceptable obligations by coercing him to abandon those obligations from which he is isolated. The corruptor uses the corrupted as a means to an end. 

The corrupted must embrace deontology based on suspicion, dishonesty, trepidation, avarice, and detestation. The corrupted relinquishes deontology based on love, admiration, dependability, uprightness, and decency. Secrecy is such an essential aspect of corruption that many governments, in true conniving style, pass legislation to ensure that corrupt actions are kept under wraps.  

 Newfangled Opinion on Corruption and Anti-Corruption:

The newfangled anti-corruption suggestions proposed in this blog are based on the template of the two significant philosophical theories applicable to the study of corruption already discussed. The Utilitarianism and Deontology Approaches. The emphasis on deeds of corruption is placed ‘before the act’ by deontologists and ‘after the act’ by utilitarians. 

Newfangled Anti-Corruption is based on the judiciary and anti-corruption agencies embracing Change towards eradicating corruption with the use of the Rule of Law. 

Utilitarians uphold that people must act morally in ways that will produce the best consequences. Deontologists rely on the observance of specific rules to militate against acts of corruption. Deontology expounds on the moral dimension of humankind’s activities, especially those concerning obligations and responsibilities. Deontologists see punishment for criminal deeds as a means of dissuasion. Or pre-emption, while utilitarianism views punishment from the punitive angle. 

***continuation & conclusion tomorrow, Thursday, August 11, 2022


  •   [1] World Bank, ‘Helping Countries Combat Corruption – The role of the World Bank,’ 1997, 8 from accessed March 1, 2017
  • [2] S. Miller, & J. Blacker, Ethical issues in policing, Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, 2005. 112
  • [3] accessed on March 1, 2017
  • [4] J. C. Andvig, & O. H. Fjeldstad, ‘Corruption – A review of contemporary research, Chr. Michelsen Institute for Development Studies and Human Rights Report, 2001, 5
  • accessed on March 1, 2017
  • [5] B. J. Van der Walt, Understanding and rebuilding Africa, Institute for Contemporary Christianity in Africa, Potchefstroom, 2003, 401
  • [6] E. H. Spence, S. Miller & P. Roberts, Corruption and anti-corruption: A philosophical approach, Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2005, 2
  • [7] J. C. Andvig, & O. H. Fjeldstad, 54
  • [8] Van der Walt, 406
  • [9] D. Maestripieri, Games primates play: An undercover investigation of the evolution and economics of human relationships, Basic Books, New York, 2012, from Abstract
  • [10] accessed on March 4, 2017
  • [11] E. H. Spence, S. Miller & P. Roberts, 74
  • [12] S. Miller, & J. Blacker, 115-116
  • [13] J. M. Vorster, ‘Managing corruption in South Africa: The ethical responsibility of churches,’ Scriptura 109, 2012, 133−147.

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