Aug 25, 2005

Ethics and Values

Last night I started the class that I have been dreading my entire college career, Ethics and Values. It’s not that I don’t believe in ethics or values… my main problem with the class (or I should say, the thought of the class) is that I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to respectfully respond to anyone challenging my idea of ethics and values.

Last night my view of the class changed. Not too surprisingly, the instructor seems reasonable and impartial. We also receive our first assignment, which I will be including as part of this post.

We watched a 30-minute interview with Bill Moyer and Michael Josephson that discussed ethics in America. Michael Josephson was a successful lawyer who gave up his practice and started his own institute that teaches ethics to businesses and anyone else that wants to learn. I was frankly delighted by the interview. Here are some of the main points that were discussed:

• Ethics is “Right” and “Wrong”
• Civilizations and History teach us that ethics build enlightened and prosperous civilizations
• Civilizations may not agree on what is “right” or “wrong”, but they do agree that it is important to know the difference
• We are too concerned, in America, with competing or winning
• “Shades of Gray” ethical decisions are based on our values and must be looked at by the situation
• Ethical behavior pays off in the long run although it may require immediate sacrifice
• Sub-cultures, such as gangs, find some success based on their own set of values temporarily. But the success is temporary and will give out to tried and true values in the long run
• It’s our responsibility to fix unethical conditions & circumstances
• We must reward the role-models that we believe in
• We need to have more role models that we can be proud of for standing up for what is right
• Constituents need to hold elected officials to high ethical standards
• Money drives politics in our day – we need to change this by electing individuals that are driven by ethics
• An ethical person should do more than is demanded and less than he is allowed
• Be proud of the people we are and the contribution that we’ve made to others
• Lying takes away another persons possibilities for input
• Self righteousness, a desire to make the world run how you think it should be run without regard for others, leads to unethical behavior

Michael Josephson makes some very good arguments as to why we should be less competitive and more ethical. I personally feel that seeking to do what is right, rather than convenient, offers more rewards than those that try to cheat or take advantage of others or their circumstances.


Anonymous said...

Are you using word to create this? MS Word changes quotes and other characters into unreadable gibberish unless you're using word.. spig

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it's Blogger that's doing that. Wordpress does the same thing. If I want, say, an apostrophe in a Wordpress blog that works correctly in Konqueror, I have to specify it explicitly as '.