The Third Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The BEST of Ethics 2011

Why is the The Best in Ethics 2011 only about 33% the size of the “Worst”?

This troubles me. My objective is not to be negative. The problem, I think, is that ethical conduct is still much more common than unethical conduct, and it is usually less controversial to identify: most of the time, good ethics is self-explanatory. All of us learn more from mistakes and misdeeds, our own and those of others, than we do from meeting societal standards. Most of what Ethics Alarms does is to try to identify unethical conduct, what was wrong with it, why it happened, and how we can discourage it.

Which is all well and good, but I still would like to make 2012’s Ethics Alarms  more positive year than this one, if possible. Help me, will you, find more topics involving good ethics, so next year’s Best list can hold its own with the Worst.

Here are the 2011 Ethics Alarms Awards for the Best in Ethics:

Most Important Ethical Act of the Year: Acquitting Casey Anthony. The Florida jury charged with deciding if Casey Anthony murdered her daughter faced the ire of a lynch mob-minded public that wanted the unsympathetic Anthony convicted, based on suspicious conduct and a dubious explanation,  but the evidence just wasn’t there. Thus the courageous twelve upheld the American values of fairness, objectivity, and justice under the law. It is interesting that the most ethical act of the year also sparked some of the most unethical arguments of the year, by too many citizens who benefit from our nation’s ideals without comprehending them. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Ameneh Bahrami

Ameneh Bahrami, now, and then

Ameneh Bahrami, the Iranian woman whom a spurned suitor blinded and hideously disfigured with acid,  had her long-awaited opportunity for both revenge and culturally-sanctioned justice today.  She watched a doctor prepare to put several drops of acid in one of Majid Movahedi’s eyes as his court-ordered punishment for maiming her. Then, at the last moment, she waived her right to have him blinded, as Movahedi, who had repeatedly asked her to marry him before responding to her rejections by throwing acid the young woman’s face, wept in gratitude.

The story of Banrani’s insistence on the full retribution available to her under Islamic law had spurred human rights protests around the globe. In the end, with all of Iran watching on live television, she decided on mercy instead of revenge. Continue reading