I am backed up on Comments of the Day again, especially embarrassing after I announced that I would be posting one a day if possible. Getting one of the comments in the queue last night required trying to use my netbook while watching the Westminster Dog Show with my old Jack Russell feeling insecure and cuddling in my lap. The Update will be late today.
The post about the Oregon hospital being bullied by the local ACLU into placing an illegal immigrant on its transplant list simultaneously raised medical ethics issues and illegal immigration ethics issues, so I am grateful that Zoltar Speaks! resuscitates the topic with his comment. I am particularly greateful for his raising the question, “Is the perception of an action what makes the action ethical, or is it the motives behind the action that makes the action ethical, or does it take both?”
My answer, which I think I have made clear over 80,000 posts, is that it is what an action does or can reasonably be expected to do, within the intention and goal of the actor, that makes conduct ethical or not. Unanticipated and unanticipatable results don’t count, and neither does pollution by non-ethical and unethical motives mixed in with the ethical motives, unless they warp the conduct and the decision to engage in it.
There are exceptions, of course.
Here is Zoltar Speaks’ Comment of the Day on the post, Proposition: An Illegal Immigrant Is Entitled To Receive A Life-Saving Organ Transplant That Otherwise Would Go To A U.S. Citizen In Similar Need:
On one hand there is the Hippocratic Oath that directly implies that medical need trumps things like legal status, so in that regard the policy change is a direct reflection of the core of the Hippocratic Oath and it can be said that they changed their policy to reflect the ethical core of the Hippocratic Oath and present that argument to the public and their actions on the surface can be regarded as ethical. (Yes it’s a run-on sentence)
On the other hand there is the fact that illegal immigrants are literally taking advantage of a near “border-less” country and existing systems in place across the United States that ignore their legal status will allow them to do whatever they want regardless of the fact that they are in the United States illegally and some existing systems in place that actually help them do anything they want because they’re illegal immigrants. The United States has been, and still is, enabling illegal immigrants and this policy change is another system changed that enables illegal immigration.
This leads me directly to a topic that we’ve talked about on Ethics Alarms in the past: is the perception of an action what makes the action ethical, or is it the motives behind the action that makes the action ethical, or does it take both? If I remember correctly, I think the general consensus was that it’s the perception of the action that makes it ethical.
The perception of this action is two fold; first ethically complying with the intent of the Hippocratic Oath and second it’s another policy change enabling illegal immigration.
Using the Hippocratic Oath argument to change a policy is a very strong argument under certain circumstances, however this change was not done in a “vacuum”. If this policy change had been done in what I called a “vacuum”, meaning a full review of policies was done without outside influence and the policy was changed solely to better conform to the Hippocratic Oath, no one would have bated an eye at the change and it’s not likely that we’d be discussing it at all. In the vacuum both the motives of the action and the action itself could easily be considered ethical; this is not what happened.
This policy change was not in a vacuum, this policy change was done due to social justice warriors “attacking” the institution to publicly shame the the institution into changing their policy to advance one particular group of people beyond the reasonable expectations that were in put in place with the previous policy. I can easily look at this policy change and say that the motives behind the action far outweigh any perceived ethical value of the action. In this case, kowtowing to the outside pressure of illogical social justice warriors enable both social justice warriors and illegal immigration, the Hippocratic Oath argument in this particular case is nothing but a rationalization.
For what it’s worth; I am really angry that the United States federal government has turned a blind eye to illegal immigration for many years through many administrations and allowed this problem to get worse. Sure administrations and campaigns have mouth the words for years that something needs to be done about the illegal immigration but they’ve done nothing to actually solve the problem and the result is that the problem persists and has gotten worse over the years. Now we are in a hyper politically charged political environment inflamed by ignorant social justice warriors (SJW) that are completely blind to any logic outside their emotionally charged arguments and it doesn’t matter one bit what anyone does to fix the illegal immigration problem, the solution will be smeared by illogical SJW’s. This is the direct result of the deliberate dumbing down of America
EC wrote above, “I’d expect that even if doctors don’t care about legal residence, wouldn’t an illegal immigrant simply be deported once they were identified? Would that not remove them from the recipient list anyway?”
Therein lies just one of the real problems in the United States, this is not being done. If this were to be an active policy then illegal immigrants would catch wind that they will be deported when they’re identified and that will slow illegal immigration to a crawl and as illegals are deported it will start reversing the negative effects on our society due to illegal immigration.
If you are a reader who is an illegal immigrant, I have absolutely no sympathy for you, so stop your whining. You are the problem not the law(s) that you refuse to comply with. Take the legal steps to become a United States citizen or voluntarily get out of our country or be deported when you’re identified as being illegally here. The choices are yours not ours, comply with the law or suffer the consequences.