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Reinventing Ethics -

Stashed in: Awesome, Ethics, America!, Morals

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The problem with a belief in the immutability of morality is the same as the problem with a belief that the American Constitution contains the answers to all legal disputes.  Like the Ten Commandments (or the code of Hammurabi or the Analects of Confucius), the Constitution is a remarkable document for its time. But it’s absurd to believe that the text magically contains the answers to complex modern issues:  the definition of what it means to be alive, or how the commerce clause or the right to bear arms amendment should be interpreted; or whether a corporation is a person. By the same token, while we can draw inspiration from the classical texts and teachings of neighborly morality, we cannot expect that dilemmas of professional life will be settled by recourse to these sources.  But we need not tackle these alone.  If we can draw on wise people across the age spectrum, and enable virtual as well as face-to-face discussion,  we are most likely to arrive at an ethical landscape adequate for our time.

The challenge with ethics in America is that different people truly have different beliefs about what is ethical.

A libertarian believes it is unethical to take money from some people for services that benefit society.

A progressive believes it is unethical to do the opposite.

How can those very different beliefs be reconciled?

They can't--there has to be some acceptance of diversity of philosophy. I am more apt to vote for a politician who has somewhat different views than I do if he/she is ethical and working for the good of society.

I'm intrigued by the notion of the "trustee." In many fields there seems to be a few too many "trustees" (policymakers, etc...) and not enough trusted...

The real question is how to get a common definition of what is ethical.

And yes, there are too many trustees and not enough trusted.

Sanity is not statistical, and moral ethics meant to serve as a guide to be a fair and just citizen have evolved into modern day personal intentions, beliefs and agendas. If the nation as a whole could recapture some of the pliancy for fundamental differences that our founding fathers were able to succeed in, a properly updated Constitution would be possible. Finding that pliancy and agreement among the Nations leaders, as well as Citizens, a challenging scenario...

Challenging to say the least. It seems near impossible.

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