What’s wrong with bribery?


Let us throw down the gauntlet:

What is wrong with bribery?

Okay, let us back up a minute before we receive a great howl of moral indignation.
We take as our ethical guidance Kant’s ‘categorical imperative’, which states, roughly translated, that for an act to be (morally) acceptable, it must be acceptable to all, at all times, and without conditions – act only according to the maxim, whereby you can, at the same time, will that this act could become universal law.
Well, we bribe and we are perfectly okay with the fact that everyone can bribe at all times without conditions – We find nothing wrong with it.
Only the very young or very naïve believe, for example, that in front of the law we are all equal. People who can resort to highly paid lawyers due to the depth of their pockets have never ever, to my knowledge, been accused of an immoral act. And everybody with the same depth of pockets can have access to the same highly paid lawyers and everybody who hasn’t cannot, therewith often faces a very much less favorable outcome.
No full weight of the US Government machinery is thrown against people/organizations who exercise that right. But bribe someone and you find yourself at the receiving end of a lot of moral indignation and legal action.

And the law or rather access to a potentially favorable outcome in its application is only one of a great many examples in the same direction which violate our sense of fairness, equality etc. which are not at the same receiving end of fines, outrage and imprisonment.

Certainly, bribery addresses integrity, character, fairness and equality on social and economic fronts, and this is not a simple matter that applies only to those viewing it as an ethical matter.
But before anything can be resolved, we have to answer the question and agree on how to interpret it; which is,

What is wrong with bribery?

(To re-assure people, especially people who know us, but in general,we do not
bribe, we do not find it okay, we assume the position and debate as devil’s
advocate.)

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