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.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ethics and Passion

Watching the HBO John Adams special, his arguments in favor of justice for British soldiers who fired on a mob hinged on eloquent appeals to ethical principles of fairness over passion. An ethical analysis would suggest that his advocacy carried the day even had there been no passion, because the issue was ethical principles of fairness over values-based self-justified violence. Had there been no mob, but rather a restrained group that took the law into their own hands, even with due deliberation and dispassionate implementation, the injustice would have been the same. Passion is not the opposite of ethics, it is simply one expression of values based definition of rules and unilateral enforcement. Public ethics, law, facts, and multilateral arbitration and enforcement frameworks must trump all expressions of values based unilateral definition of rules and self-justified escalation of enforcement, to achieve and sustain civil democracies. Adams arguments carried the day, and created a solid foundation of the principles of civil democracy born out in subsequent independence, because he so eloquently spoke to our love of fairness and our support for public ethics, with or without passion in the equasion.