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Ethics can be defined as moral principles that guide an individual’s behavior.

I feel that

ethics is like integrity; ethics is doing what is right when nobody is looking, it is doing the right

thing even when it is not the easy thing to do. O'Leary summarizes her work in writing that

"taken as a whole, the stories of guerrilla government profiled in this book illustrate several

common themes concerning the power of career public servants that cross policy and temporal

lines" (O'Leary, 107).

When career public servants are confronted with ethical problems, they can refer to

guidelines provided in O'Leary's book, these are guidelines for guerrillas from fellow guerrillas.

The first guideline listed states, "Confront the issue directly with the person involved" (O'Leary,

108). Guidelines two and three I think are just as important: "Talk to your supervisor. Go over

your supervisor's head - talk to your supervisor's supervisor" (O'Leary, 108). Private Manning

failed to follow these guidelines. He took the information he found straight to an outside source.

It did not state anywhere in the chapter that Private Manning discussed his concerns with what he

found in the government databases to anyone over him (O'Leary, 92-106). Private Manning was

not an ethical crusader. Many lives were lost and many more were put at risk due to Manning's

actions(O'Leary, 92-106). Private Manning did not follow these guidelines for guerrillas.

Claude Ferguson with the U.S. Forest Service did follow several guidelines for guerrillas.

The fifth and seventh guidelines are to leak information and to file a lawsuit (O'Leary, 108).

Ferguson did both of these (O'Leary, 68-86). Ferguson also followed guidelines ten and fourteen:

"forging links with outside groups. . . lobby for your cause" (O'Leary, 108). Ferguson teamed up

with environmental lobbyists in his pursuit to protect the national forest (O'Leary, 68-86).

Ferguson was an ethical crusader; he knew what was right regarding the national forest roads and

he worked to ensure the protection of the land.


Overall the Nevada Four were ethical crusaders. The Nevada Four did a lot of fundraising

on their own to save the Nevada wetlands (O'Leary, 27-40). The twenty-sixth guideline for

guerrillas is: "Raise your own funds for your cause" (O'Leary, 109). The twenty-fourth guideline

states, "hold clandestine meetings to plot a unified staff strategy" (O'Leary, 109). The Seattle

EPA office followed this guideline. The deputy director working under Russell was left out of

important meetings; the deputy director then began holding his own clandestine meetings with

staff (O'Leary, 47-61). The staff in the Seattle EPA office were also ethical crusaders. They were

led at times by two unethical directors, but they did what they felt was right (O'Leary, 47-61).

O'Leary writes that guerrilla government happens all the time, even in the mundane

world of bureaucracy (O'Leary, 3). Everyone will have to choose for themselves of what to do

when faced with an ethical dilemma. It is important to define ethics. I like that the book says

ethics is acting with integrity. It states that "integrity means having the genuine, wholehearted

disposition to do the right and just thing in all circumstances, and to shape one's actions

accordingly" (O'Leary, 112). O'Leary also includes questions we can ask ourselves if we are

thinking about guerrilla government actions. She says we need to ask ourselves if we are correct.

There are other important questions such as: Have all reasonable avenues been pursued? Am I

adhering to the rule of law? Is there a legitimate conflict of laws? Would it be more ethical to

promote transparency than work clandestinely? (O'Leary, 114).

I hope I remember these questions and the guidelines listed earlier if I face an ethical

dilemma. This text has given me a lot to think about regarding working in the public sector. This

text has also helped me further realize that most things in life are not a black and white issue.

There is often grey areas. One thing that will help me navigate any uncertainty is to stick to what

I know is right, to fight for and pursue what I know is right.