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, September 22, 2006

The philosopher Voltaire is often quoted for his seemingly contradictory statement, "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.". This is not a contradiction, it is a statement that values - what each wrote - is different than ethics - how each accomodates the fact that their values are different. Voltair strongly believed in his own values, AND he believed equally strongly in the importance of ethical principles that enable coexistence of different values. Many will lay down their life for inward-facing values like home and family, and - if they think about it at all - many will also lay down their life for outward-facing ethics like upholding liberty for people who have different values as well as their own values, as Voltaire so eloquently stated.


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