osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Real Life Ethics Problems

Both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden present us with a real life ethics question. At what point does the oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and our general duty to speak out against the abuse of power trump our other duties and loyalties? This is not a question easily answered.

Nor, even when answered, does it resolve the question of whether their conduct should be punished.  We may well decide that they acted morally, but that the need to maintain discipline within these organizations requires that these infractions be severely punished.

If you marvel at the injustice of this, consider: the world is more complicated than a simple set of absolute principles. If this makes you uncomfortable -- good. Philosophy and ethics should not be the quest for good feeling, or for a 'safe harbor' that will somehow leave us blameless. In my opinion, one of the unfortunate errors to which society is heir is the belief that our religion or our ethics is about how to feel 'good' or 'fulfilled.' 

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