17. Without Fear or Favour (Part 1)


From journalists to judges, the phrase ‘without fear or favour’ encourages those with power and/or influence to behave with fairness as their top priority.

But we are all tempted to act in favour of ourselves, or those who are our friends or family members, and to avoid getting into trouble with those that we fear. Another word for this, particularly in political circles, is corruption. Unfortunately, examples of political corruption and selfishness features all too often in the news.


Ask the students to watch this clip from the film, Courageous: where a Police Officer is found to be taking a cut of confiscated drugs for himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mIBHNysDIo from 1:37:00 to 1:40:00. The subtitles are not very accurate but the clip is illustrative.

After the clip, encourage students to discuss such questions as:

  • Why do you think the police officer (Shane) was pocketing the confiscated drugs?
  • How did he try to get out of being turned in?
  • What do you think being ‘doubly accountable’ means in this clip?
  • Would you have turned your colleague in, in that situation? Why / Why not?

Explain to the students that one example of corruption is where people deliberately give their friends and relations an unfair advantage in gaining job opportunities or promotions. This is known as nepotism (from the word for ‘nephew’).

Show students the nepotism graph found on the next page and explain that the y axis shows the incidence of sons working for the same employer as their father, and the x axis shows the father’s earnings percentile in the national economy, e.g. those at the 99th percentile are in the top 1% of earners, i.e. the further to the right of the graph, the wealthier the father. Explain that in 2012-13 in the UK, people earning more than £156,000 before tax could count themselves in the top 1% of earners (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_in_the_United_Kingdom). 

Ask students to study the graph and to work out:

  • what they think it shows,
  • possible reasons for the big jump for the very rich, and
  • how they feel about it.


Get some feedback on their ideas. Where would they draw the line in helping a friend or relative? Ask them to reflect on whether their ideas are consistent with the encouragement to act ‘without fear or favour’.


1.  Happiness Part 1: status anxiety
2.  Happiness Part 2: religion and happiness
3.  Happiness Part 3: what is happiness?
4.  Morality Part 1: what is morality?
5.  Morality Part 2: should we live by ‘moral laws’?
6.  Morality Part 3: where does our sense of morality come from?
7.  Are You Religious?
8.  What Is a Religion and what is a Cult?
9.  What does it Mean to be Religious Today?
10. Religion in Numbers Part 1: how many people on Earth?
11. Religion in Numbers Part 2: how many people are ‘religious’?
12. Religion in Numbers Part 3: how did believers got to where they are?
13. Are All Religions Equal?
14. Transactional Analysis: learning how to feel equal
15. Bloom’s Taxonomy
16. Harry Potter and God
17. Without Fear or Favour Part 1
18. Without Fear or Favour Part 2
19. It’s Not Fair
20. Mind, Memory and Justice
21. Karma, Memory, Freedom and Justice
22. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 1: Religion Without God
23. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 2: God and Morality
24. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 3: Is Life Beautiful?
25. Can Atheists learn anything from Religion?
26. What do Buddhists Believe about God?
27. Is Seeing Believing?
28. Are We Being Hypnotised?
29. Sex and Relationships
30. Truth, Proof and Evidence
31. How should we deal with the range of different opinions in today’s world?
32. Is Religion a Force for Evil or Good?
33. Do Religious Experiences Prove God?
34. What Is Evil?
35. God and Evil
36. Can we verify Religious Experiences?
37. How Spiritual are You?
38. What is Philosphy?
39. The Power of Words
40. Art and Beauty

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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