Unethical or Irrational Decision-Making

Every decision we make has an impact

Every decision we make has an impact on the people around us in some manner. Decisions that are irrational or unethical have a detrimental influence on both others and ourselves. Furthermore, the values we choose should improve and contribute to our well-being. Yet, any activity that jeopardizes the well-being of others is deemed unethical or unreasonable (Paul & Elder, 2013). Irrational decision-making takes four forms. The first is decided when we decide to act in a way that jeopardizes our well-being. The second is when we opt not to participate in activities that are likely to add to the longevity of our well-being. The third type of irrational decision-making leads to us acting in a manner that undermines the welfare of another person. And, finally, we can decide to associate with people who encourage us to act against our welfare as well as the welfare of other people (Paul & Elder, 2013).

President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon was the 33rd president of the United States and is considered to have made a number of irrational decisions. Those who analyze the president's character say that he had a dual personality. There were instances when the president acted like a bold statesman and made sound policies, but there were also times when seemed frightened, insecure, resentful of the elite, and devastated because he felt that some people looked down upon him. He had an unstable mental health and this condition was aggravated by his drinking problem (Chafe, 2003). When he was drunk, President Nixon would rant and rave against his domestic and foreign enemies. He demonstrated some lapses in his judgment in moments of crisis, for example, during the Cambodian invasion, when he seemed incoherent to some of the official in Pentagon. Such lapses made Melvin Laird who was the Secretary of Defense defy the president's order to strike a PLO base in Jordan (Chafe, 2003).

During his time in the White House

During his time in the White House, there were a number of instances when President Nixon acted irrationally and even brought the country to a verge of a disaster. His complicity in sabotage and spying as well as his reckless contempt of the constitutional safeguards were actions of irrationality. Besides, President Nixon was very close to the succeeding in his subversion of the democratic process. The persistence of some reports as well as the political wisdom of the Democrats and Republicans who were in Congress lead to unearthing the pervasiveness of the sickness that was threatening the political institutions in the country (Chafe, 2003). However, President Nixon had succeeded in mobilizing the conservative majority and isolating those who opposed him as well as demolishing possible protest. The Watergate tragedy had worked to the disadvantage of those who had a different vision for America, since it diverted attention from issues of race, class, and inequality and made people pay attention to a constitutional issue of a president who was abusing power.

President Nixon was the mastermind behind the famous Watergate scandal

President Nixon was the mastermind behind the famous Watergate scandal in which burglars were arrested in the offices of the Democratic National Committee that was located in the Watergate building (Chafe, 2003). The robbers intended to steal some important documents and wiretap phones which were essential for the re-election of the president. Although it has never been established whether the president was aware of the robbery before it occurred, the fact that he tried to cover up the offense makes him an accomplice to the crime (Chafe, 2003). It was obviously unethical for a president to hinder justice. He attempted to stop the FBI from investigating the crime, offered a large sum of money to the robbers, fired members of the staff who refused to corporate with him, and destroyed some pieces of evidence. When the scandal was brought to light, the president had no option but to be the first American president to resign. His successor Gerald Ford pardoned him for all the crimes that he had committed while in office.


Conclusion From the above analysis, it is evident that President Nixon acted irrationally on many occasions. Deciding to become drunk while in the White House was an obvious case of irrational and unethical decision-making, as this was undermining his well-being as well as the welfare of others. It was selfish and suspicious of him to cover up a crime that was intended to benefit him and, at that point, he did not put into account the welfare of the American people who believed in democracy (Chafe, 2003). Besides, his actions diverted attention from the efforts of the government who sought to address societal issues such as race, class, and inequality. Instead, they had to spent their time and resources on dealing with a president who was not following the constitution. Destroying the evidence and interfering with the investigation undermined the well-being of the employees and other Americans who had a right to know what had happened with the Watergate scandal. Conclusively, this example proves that Richard Nixon made irrational or unethical decisions while he was the President of the United States of America.


Chafe, W. H. (2003). The unfinished journey: America since World War II. Oxford University Press, USA.

Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2013). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your professional and personal life. Pearson Education.

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