Ethics Alarms reader Lianne Best weighs in on the Tide (with Acti-lift!) ads, with a valuable observation with far broader ethics significance. She aptly describes exactly how norms of appropriate conduct become corrupted and coarsened (or sometimes enlightened and improved!) over time:
“I hope I’m not too late to the Tide with Acti-Lift! party, but for those who say these ads are “just marketing” and don’t have any real impact … the first time I saw each of these ads, I was horrified. With each subsequent viewing I was less and less offended, until they became normal. Participating in unethical behavior starts with it becoming normal, so these seemingly innocuous commercials are actually pushing the snowball down the slippery slope. Those with influence, whoever they may be, must be cautious with its use.”
It is unusual to see a woman defending non-payment of child support, but that is just what blogger Elaine Doxie does in a recent post. She argues that enforcing child support may be unethical when the non-paying parent has legitimate reasons for non-payment. Her arguments that child support enforcement can be unethical show a serious misunderstanding of what an obligation is.
Speaking of “deadbeat dads”, Doxie writes, “They may be unemployed, hospitalized, in jail or even a prisoner of war, and are all treated as if they got into the situation they are in just to get out of paying child support.” The logic behind child support is that a parent’s obligations do not change just because he or she is not living with the child. An unemployed father in a family still has to feed and clothe and otherwise care for the needs of his children; he can’t just take care of himself and argue, “Hey, times are tough!” Continue reading →