Research a newsworthy incident from contemporary life, involving a person who displays hubris, specifically a story reported in the news within the past six months. Discuss how the key person/persons in the incident displays hubris, and show how freewill and decision making contributed to the episode?
In answering this question, we must first note that it is very hard for us to accurately identify hubris in our own world. Hubris can be defined as an excess of ambition or confidence which results in the downfall of the person who demonstrates it. In order to know when a person is exhibiting hubris, it is important to know their thought process. In situations like plays and fiction, we typically have access to the thoughts of the person who is demonstrating hubris. In the real world, we have no such access. For this reason, we can have trouble identifying hubris in the real world. Let us look at a possible example of hubris to see why this is so.
A possible example of hubris in the contemporary world is President Obama’s push for health care reform and his signature “Obamacare” program. It is certainly possible to say that Obamacare led to Obama’s downfall. Of course, he has not been totally destroyed as a president. He did win reelection and is still in office. However, his popularity as president has fallen. So has his ability to persuade people in Congress (Republicans in particular) to take his side on issues of policy. This has brought about a situation in which it has been very hard for Obama to get any aspects of his platform passed in the last few years. These things happened largely after Obama and his allies pushed Obamacare through Congress and after the disastrous rollout of the program’s website. In that sense, we can say that Obama has experienced a downfall and that Obamacare was the cause.
This brings us to the issue of hubris. Did excessive ambition or pride cause this fall? It is hard to know. On the one hand, we can argue that Obama did not exhibit excessive pride or ambition. We can say that he was simply trying to do what was best for the American people. In this view, Obamacare would be a miscalculation, not an example of overweening pride and ambition. On the other hand, you can argue that Obama pushed the program through out of a desire to be a historically significant president. In this view, he wanted the program in place so that he could go down in history as a very important president. We could also say that he failed to get Republicans on board because he was too proud and arrogant to compromise with them. If we look at things in this way, President Obama could be guilty of hubris.
Thus, we can say that President Obama used his free will and made choices that were driven by excessive pride and ambition. However, this is a judgment and not something that we can know as a matter of fact.