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.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Notre Dharma

President Obama's appeal to civility to moderate values based vehemence is a step forward - and back - to the Ethics of the Enlightenment. In a multi-national, multi-religion, multi-cultural world, our common love of Ethics and fairness must trump our love of Values of our born and chosen groups, if we are to create, support and sustain civil societies capable of arbitrating multilateral solutions - with or without force - to endless cycles of values based violence.

My first post to this Ethical Guidebook quoted Mr. Obama at an earlier time making a similar appeal. While couching his language in familiar religious terms, his appeal to universal rather than parochial arguments - repeated at Notre Dame - clearly makes a break from values based to ethics based approaches when facing difficult problems. The proverbial 'moral dillema' is not a dilemma if we simply recognize that as humans we inherently love ethics and fairness as much if not more than values and self-interest, and the fact that they conflict is not a dilemma at all, but rather an indication and measure of our capacity for civil maturity.


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