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What is the relation between power and virtue? This is both an ancient and a very modern question. Political philosopher from Plato onwards have debated the issue. In his essay, "Moral Judgment and Political Action", Peter L. Berger, one of America's most important sociologists, exhorts politicians to operate with "the ethic of responsibility" (borrowing a phrase from Max Weber) and consider the moral consequences of their1 actions. He argues that social scientists, trained in the discipline of detached analysis, can help us see these ethical choices more clearly. Sociologists, he says, are skilled in the "art of mistrust", "looking beneath and behind the facades of social life".
(Adapted from Dialogue, 2/1989)

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