I know this is a long essay.
Yes, it involves baseball.
Bear with me. I think it is worth your time.
Last night, in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, embarrassingly kicked away by the St. Louis Cardinals and won handily by some team called the Boston Red Sox, an intricate ethics drama appeared, allowing us to see the painful process whereby a culture’s ethical standards evolve and change in response to accumulated wisdom, altered attitudes and changing conditions. An obviously mistaken umpire’s call was reversed by the other umpires on the field as the Cardinals manager argued not that the original call had been correct, but that reversing it was a violation of tradition, established practice and precedent….in other words, doing so was wrong, unfair, unethical because “We’ve never done it this way,” a variation of the Golden Rationalization, “Everybody does it.” You should not have to appreciate baseball (but if you don’t, what’s the matter with you?) to find the process illuminating and thought-provoking. Continue reading