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.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Rush to Demagogery

Never underestimate a demagog or bully, and Rush qualifies as both. His ‘values’ based arguments speak to those who would define a ‘good’ solution to any problem entirely in their own terms and to their own benefit.

What Rush's arguments lack is ‘ethics’, the civil maturity to recognize we cannot always have 'our' way in public matters, and the patriotism to actively support imperfect public institutions for fair arbitration of differences in values, in other words, good government.

So the answer to Rush is to appeal to mature people’s deep love of ethics - essentially loving the sport as much as the home team. The ’sport’ of government is necessary to help provide a level playing field, fair rules of the game, equal opportunities for the underdog, and third party arbitration of conflicts.

It’s not enough just to be a cheerleader for a ‘home team’ to run a government, a country, and a sustainable economy and environment. Love of ‘Values’ alone is not enough, and quite predictably declaring the primacy of ‘my’ values leads to bullying at the least and demagogs at worst, and endless cycles of values based conflicts and unilaterally justified violence. Adding Ethics does not mean people cannot strongly love their personal values and born or chosen home teams, it just means they cannot redefine the rules of the game based on whatever lets their team win. A high score does not mean a fair game, as the economic collapse has demonstrated.


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