Texaggo4’s Comment of the Day enriched the surprisingly lively discussion about the ethical conundrum of how many single-item purchasers a CVS customer in line should let go before him to checkout if he had, as I did last week, a full cart.
His discussion of applying The Golden Rule to the situation took off from my comment referring to his earlier assertion that it wasn’t strictly a question settled by Reciprocity. The numbered statements on Tex’s post are from me. Here is Tex’s COTD on the post, “CVS Line Ethics”—I added another brief comment he offered in the same thread at the end, as it is germane:
1.“I don’t recall Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha and the rest ever noting the CVS exception.”
I don’t recall ever noting an exception either…since this isn’t necessarily Golden Rule territory. In this scenario, application of the Golden Rule would arise as the exception.
“2. The GR has nothing to do with an obligation. It is never an obligation. It is based on altruism.”
It is very much about obligation– and obligation isn’t a dirty word. The real question here is where do you draw the line on whose needs outweigh the others, and if they really do or not. Golden Rule would compel you to allow someone to cut if their cutting *actually* decreases *actual* harm. The Golden Rule doesn’t compel you to allow someone to cut *just because* it increases an already-present level of contentment in their lives. It may strongly suggest such conduct in so much as it doesn’t needlessly impose on you, but it no means compels it, hence this isn’t necessarily a Golden Rule scenario.
You see, “so whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” is a painfully open ended, and as such-much criticized maxim, when taken out of context. So, the Golden Rule IS the Law. Looking at the phrase elsewhere one would glean that ALL the Law, and therefore the Golden Rule, depends on two basic commands:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
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Nothing is simple for an ethicist…
Today, I was sent to the local CVS with an unusually long list. The store was almost empty, and only one clerk was checking out purchases. I had a full cart: paper goods, drinks, over the counter drugs, items on sale, all sorts of stuff.
One shopper was ahead of me in line, and just as she had paid, I noticed an older man standing nearby holding a single tube of ointment. “Go ahead, “I said. “Thanks,” he replied. For some reason the man’s transaction took an absurdly long time: he was chatting with the clerk, and wanted cash back, and he had some coupons. Just as he was done, an elderly woman holding two small cans of cat food walked up and raised her eyebrows at me.
“Sure, be my guest,” I said, smiling, but not really feeling the smile. I had run out with dinner waiting, and I wasn’t planning on my mission taking this long. Just as I motioned her ahead, another woman, younger than the cat lady, stepped up to me holding a bag of cough drops and a box of Nyquil. “Could I possibly go ahead too? My husband is so miserable!”
“Sure, no problem,” I said, not smiling this time. Continue reading →
A post yesterday described the outrageous conduct of the management at the Six Flags Over Texas theme park, which declared a local man named Jerry Henderson person non grata and kicked him out of the park because he “looked too much like Santa Claus” (they want him to shave his white beard to resume his park privileges). He also gave candy canes to children after their mom asked him to pose with her kids for a photo.
A regular Ethics Alarms commenter related this 180 degree variation on the story:
My kids take swimming classes at our local park authority pool, and last week, while we were signing in, one of the managers came out of the back office dressed as Santa. However, he was doing it as a gag for the other employees, not for the kids. (About 80%+ of the people there were children.) My kids went running up to him shouting, “Santa, Santa!” He did not acknowledge them or the other kids, didn’t even say hi, and just walked into one of the workout rooms.
I thought my kids were going to cry. I had to tell them that Santa was busy right now, but not to worry, we would go see him tomorrow when he had time to talk to them.
Your “Bad Santa”-themed Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
If you look like Santa Claus, are you ethically obligated to act like Santa Claus?
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Hey! Here’s an idea! BITE HER!
I promised myself I would write this the next time I saw a young woman in my neighborhood, fit, with earbuds, jogging along briskly as her dog desperately tried to keep up while eying enviously my dog, who is allowed to sniff the plants, mark his territory (aka “the world”), enjoy life, and be a dog instead of a pull-toy.
The freedom to do this is why dogs get excited about walks.They also like the companionship of their masters, at least when said master is paying some attention to them. They like being talked to, and looked at. I know this will come as a shock to my neighbor, but they do not like being dragged on a leash and forced to trot unstopping, while their self-absorbed owner listens to Adele.
I know dogs aren’t the most edifying conversationalists, but really, if you can’t spare them your full attention for a few short walks a day, don’t get a dog. What my neighbor does is animal cruelty disguised as a fitness regimen that benefits dog and master.
The look in her dog’s eyes as it passed, panting, collar tugging, broke my heart. The pained expression communicated to my dog, “I’ll love to stay a minute and say hello, but GHHHAHHHG…” and off he went. No pausing, peeing, or playing for him. His owner can’t spare the time.
She’s an asshole.
Next time, I’m going to block her way, make her take out her buds, and tell her off.
This is a really, really hard one.
Over the weekend, as reported here, Yankee superstar/pariah/cheating jerk for the ages Alex Rodriguez announced that he would “retire” after next Friday night’s game. He’s not really retiring, of course. Like almost everything involving A-Rod, lies and cover-ups reign. Since the Yankees were going to have to pay the rest of his contract to the tune of 27 million bucks either way, they told Alex that they could release him, thus ending his career on a sour note, or allow him to pretend to make the decision to leave the game himself, which would be better PR for all concerned.
However, the announcement presents a problem for the Boston Red Sox. A-Rod’s next-to-last game is Thursday night in Fenway Park, and a player with Rodriguez’s astounding career on-field achievements would typically warrant an on-field salute, like the Sox gave Yankee icon Derek Jeter when he retired. The problem is that Red Sox fans don’t like or respect A-Rod, and they shouldn’t. No baseball fan should. He disgraced the game with his drug use and lies; was an unsportsmanlike presence for most of his career, and will not reach the Hall of Fame despite one of the best careers ever unless the Hall junks all of its character requirements.
Yet reciprocity raises its ethical head. David Ortiz, the beloved Red Sox slugger, is also retiring after this season, and the Yankees have planned to give him a big send-off when Big Papi plays his last game in Yankee stadium. How can the Red Sox snub A-Rod, and expect the Yankees to honor their hero? If the Red Sox do hold a ceremony for Rodriquez, will Sox fans use it as an opportunity to heap well-deserved abuse on Alex one last time? If Sox fans fill Fenway with boos, will Yankee fans reciprocate by ruining Ortiz’s moment in New York? (I would give my guess on this, but it might expose a long-held bias against Yankee fans.)
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:
What is the most ethical way to handle this awful situation?
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My initial impression was that this trend is another canary dying in the mine (yes, I know THAT isn’t a canary!), as being and acting stupid and unethical becomes increasingly culturally acceptable. My theory holds that the public sees so many rich, powerful, successful public figures exhibiting these traits, and yearns to adopt their habits and values
The most recent example is the episode represented by the photo above. Well-meaning but ignorant tourists in Yellowstone National Park, where no human is supposed to get within 25 yards of the wildlife, decided to “rescue” a bison calf they found away from its herd, so they stuffed the animal into their car. They drove it to a ranger station, where they were cited for violation of park rules.
In effect, they had killed the calf. When the young bison was returned to the herd, the mother rejected it, and the beast began approaching humans, seeking food and company.
The park had to euthanize it.
Said the park officials in a statement,
“In recent weeks, visitors in the park have been engaging in inappropriate, dangerous and illegal behavior with wildlife. These actions endanger people and have now resulted in the death of a newborn bison calf.”
Morons. The Park Service should release their names, or give some Yellowstone wolves their scent. This is not a new taboo; there is no excuse for any visitor to a National Park to think this is responsible conduct.
Not fatal but equally infuriating is the tale behind this photo: Continue reading →
Thanks to the internet, every day conflicts between ordinary citizens become opportunities for society-wide ethical evaluation . This can be extremely beneficial, helping to reveal disagreements regarding ethical conduct in common situations, and establishing social norms with efficiency that once would have been impossible. Of course, that requires that society reaches a reasonable consensus.
Last week a controversy emanating from a Portland, Maine diner called Marcy’s had blogs bloviating, pundits punditting and social media boiling over. Vacationing parents took their toddler to a crowded diner for breakfast, waited 30 minutes for a table and another 40 minutes for their food. The hungry child went on a crying jag that went on too long for the owner, who suggested that the couple to leave in a less than polite manner, and finally shouted at the little girl to “shut the hell up!” The couple left the diner.
The mother, Tara Carson, couldn’t resist registering her indignation on the Marcy’s Facebook page, the owner responded with even more colorful language than she did in the original confrontation, and social media appeared to divide into the “it takes a village so be sympathetic to parents of young kids and give them a break” camp and the “serves these entitled and incompetent parents right for being so inconsiderate and not controlling their child” camp, with the latter considerably smaller than the former. Then, not content to let the matter blow over, Carson got the Washington Post to publish her op-ed about the episode, which concluded, Continue reading →
Like all dogs, Poh has several amusement parks on his bucket list…
I don’t know about you, but this story ticks me off.
Thomas Neil Rodriguez’s got a terminal diagnosis of his 15-year-old dog Poh when he had his pet examined by the vet.. His response was to embark with Poh on a 12,000 mile automobile odyssey to 35 cities, taking seven weeks, which he described to ABC News as fulfilling “their” bucket list. “It was a great trip,” Rodriguez told ABC. “I got to spend seven weeks with Poh. At first, I did not think he’d make it two weeks, but he did.”
Dogs don’t have bucket lists. They are always happy to be with their loved ones, but traveling is stressful, and what an old dog, a dying dog, or any dog wants most is rest, love, familiar routines and surroundings. If Rodriguez had no choice but to travel, taking poor Poh along was arguably kinder than leaving him in a kennel or with a stranger (or putting him down), but to proudly proclaim that this journey was in any way for the dog’s pleasure is outrageous. Rodriguez is irresponsible, and celebrating it. Po was made to suffer for his master’s enjoyment and convenience, and the rest is nothing but spin, or perhaps a guilty fantasy.
( Best comment on Althouse’s blog: “Same reason a man would buy his wife a power tool set for her birthday. He wants it.” Right. Except that buying her the power tools isn’t as likely to kill her.)
Spark and Pointer: Ann Althouse
They mean what they say!
In Midland, Michigan, a Planet Fitness gym revoked a woman’s membership because she complained that a man—actually a man who identifies as a woman— was in the woman’s locker room.
Company officials explained that she violated its “no judgment zone” policy. Planet Fitness policy also states members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their self-reported gender identity.
It’s their business, and they can make whatever silly and irresponsible rules they want. If they want to make members dress like chickens, wear noodles on their heads and speak only pig latin, that’s their choice. The establishments Planet Fitness wants to run, apparently, are ones where a woman can go into the ladies locker room and run into some hairy, naked guy with his dong hanging out, and she gets dinged because she objects, not knowing that he is really all girl at his creamy nougat center.
Okaaaaay…. Eventually Planet Fitness will have a membership that is all trans, all blind, or all pathologically politically correct, or perhaps have no establishments at all. When the company says “no judgment,” it really means it, because this shows a ludicrous lack of judgment. But ethical! The policies were all communicated to all members, so the woman violated the “don’t react negatively to the showboating trans individual in the ladies locker room who shows no respect or consideration for others who might not be quite ready for a full frontal” policy, and has no defense, except offensive normalcy.
Clearly “Men” and “Ladies” labels on locker rooms and bathrooms are no longer unambiguous or effective.
What do you think about “Penis” and “No Penis” signs? I think that solves the problem, especially in places where there’s no judgment.
There’s no boor like a celebrity boor.
Especially a strong celebrity boor.
The Washington Post reported yesterday that the ex-trainer for TV’s unethical reality show “The Biggest Loser” visited the Northern Virginia locale of The Palm, an up-scale “go to be seen” D.C. steakhouse over the weekend.
She reportedly arrived at the restaurant around 8:30 p.m. and joined a couple in a booth. Witnesses told the Post that Michaels soon began speaking loudly and obscenely, using the vulgarities fuck and cunt repeatedly, as well as multiple variations. “She used the word ‘f—er’ in just about every variation — noun, verb, adjectives,”diner told the Post. When another patron finally went over to the table to complain, noting that she was glad she didn’t have her kids with her, Michaels ridiculed the complaint, saying, “It’s fucking ten o’clock!” Michaels said, according to the witnesses. Then one of her companions told the diner, also using vulgarities, to go listen to someone else’s conversation.
I am glad I wasn’t there. There would have been trouble. Continue reading →