Ethical Guidebook

A discussion of the difference between our personal values and our public ethics, how mature citizens can support both, and why our love for public ethics must trump our love for personal and group values when they conflict in the public space. Ethics offers a guidebook for evaluating public issues and finding multilateral solutions to endless cycles of values centric conflicts and unilateral violence.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fundamentalism (religious, cultural, national) is the distinguishing limitation on values compatible with ethics. Ethical solutions based on fair play and upholding the rights of minorities can coexist without conflict with a wide range of values, as long as those value holders are willing to acknowledge and accomodate differences. The hallmark of a fundamentalist approach to issues is unwillingness to accomodate differences. This is fundamentally (pun intended) different than simply having different people hold different values. Fundamentalists insist that their values cannot coexist with others, and the only solution is to infringe on the rights of others or change their values. A democracy is strengthened by a variety of values contributing to a fair and just society in general, but cannot be strong if it is limited to fundamentalist values that are by definition inherently opposed to the equal rights of all people.


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