Posted: August 1st, 2022

Should members of bureaucracies should resist unethical orders?

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Should members of bureaucracies should resist unethical orders given from their superiors, or are they obligated to follow those orders to retain their legitimacy vis a vis the public?
For example: let’s imagine a police officer who was overseeing a peaceful, legal protest was given orders by their sergeant to use force to disperse that protest. Should that office resist or disobey this unethical order (the right to peacefully protest is given in the First Amendment)? Or are you nervous about police officers disobeying orders?
Another example: the NYPD used to engage in a tactic called ‘Stop and Frisk’ in which members of the public where stopped absent reasonable suspicion, and partially on the basis of race. Should members of the NYPD have refused to engage in this tactic, even before a court ordered it ended?

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