The Psychic Historian, or “I’m On The Right Side Of History”. It is true that in leadership positions, duties to stakeholders may require ugly trade-offs and collateral harm to innocent people, but Rationalization #54 makes such decisions too easy. The decision was wrong when it was made, and whether it actually caused the damage, harm, or catastrophe because of what the law calls “intervening causation” in no way mitigates the individual’s incompetence. The issue that prompted the use of this rationalization in an Ethics Alarms thread was taking photographs of strangers in public without their consent. This is a fantasy rationalization, and therefore a wonderfully versatile one. Spousal abuse where women beat up their larger husbands are especially ugly extensions of  this rationalization. They are the last thing you can afford to be without at such times. As Zola’s audacity showed, however, justified finger-pointing is essential for society to improve, reform, and advance. Lance Armstrong dismissed accusations that he was doping by attributing it all to the age-old desire of opponents to discredit the one who surpassed them. It was originally a White House proposal, designed to force Congress to either swallow painful cuts or boost taxes. A habit I often cite as the best way to use the Rationalizations list is to stop cold any time you hear one of them coming out of your mouth, and treat it as an ethics alarm. The Revolutionary’s Excuse: “These are not ordinary times.”. Gnats get squashed, and deserve to be. Narcissist Ethics , or “I don’t care”. 2A boils down to “He deserves it.” #65 boils down to “There’s no need to be ethical to someone more powerful than me.”. No, you don’t stalk and kill the former employer who fired you unjustly because the zombie apocalypse is at hand. The logical extension of this fallacy is the abandonment of all ethical standards. They simply were unwilling to face the consequences of all the unethical acts they wanted to do. The most frequently used variation on #24, so frequently that it earns its own title, is the assertion that unethical conduct in the form of speech, including incivility, genuinely hurtful or misleading speech and outright lies, are ethical because “we have Free Speech in the country.” Indeed we do, and what a boon it is for reckless, mean-spirited, dishonest people who chose to use their right of expression to deceive, disrupt and injure—though usually short of the extent that would be criminal or justify civil damages. To do otherwise is unethical. The accused cheater, like the accused murderer in a “Columbo” episode, whose response to an accusation isn’t “I didn’t do it!” but “You can’t prove it!” has merely added to the suspicion of wrongdoing. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad”, The mongrel offspring of The Golden Rationalization and the Bible-based dodges a bit farther down the list, the “They’re Just as Bad” Excuse is both a rationalization and a distraction. It also manipulates the victim of wrongful conduct into forgiving and forgetting without the essential contributions a truly reformed wrongdoer must make to the equation: admission of harm , acceptance of responsibility, remorse and regret, amends and compensation, and good reason to believe that the unethical conduct won’t be repeated. 44. “Don’t feel too bad,” the nice person patting your head says, “You’re not the only one.” The swift answer to this should be, “So what?” Should I feel less raped because others have been raped? 23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”. Those who employ Zola’s Rejection exploit the Golden Rule distortion used by the anti-snitching forces: none of us would want the finger pointed at us, so, the argument goes,  we shouldn’t point at others. This is, it is fair to say, the current state of American politics. This preview shows page 3 - 5 out of 7 pages. The rationalization therefor implies that the lucky are lucky because of some special virtue or value. The fact that professionals are paid does not mean they are obligated to do a better job than someone who volunteers. 11. For professionals, who are dedicated to the best interests of society, it really isn’t personal. By all means, mitigating the harm is an ethical obligation, but the core conduct is usually unaltered. Unless, however, those virtuous entries include measures to undo the wrong on the bad side and to make any victims whole, the imagined justification is just that: imaginary. The theory is the same, that somehow the ethical nature of an act is changed by its frequency, or, in the case of #1C, how many victims the unethical conduct has claimed. His or her own assessment is enough. 2. personal gain and intentionally disregards the ethics of the action or situation. “I never said I was perfect!” Spread vile rumors about a friend? The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing,” which employs misdeeds of presumably admirable figures of the past as precedent for misdeed in the future, this is an appeal to irrelevant authority. The statement “It is what it is,” whether by others or oneself, must never end an ethical debate but begin it, with the essential follow-up being the question: “What is it?” Often, the answer is unwelcome but simple, and the very fact the Evasive Tautology is designed to evade. Those who reason otherwise were never really ethical at all. 56. Hate crime is a variety of thought-crime. As any Gilbert and Sullivan fan knows, February 29 is the troublesome birthday of Frederick, the dim and conflicted hero of “The Pirates of Penzance.”  Apprenticed to a pirate as a child by mistake (his nurse heard “pirate” rather than “pilot”),  the lad was bound to serve as a cutthroat until his 21st birthday, and thinking that the terms specified his obligation to reach until his 21st year, quits the pirate band that raised him and joins the police, who are  seeking to put his old comrades behind bars. 1C. An ethical individual, however, especially a public servant, should always want the finger pointed at him or her if in fact he or she is responsible. Sure, it would have been easier to fool ourselves with #32A. This is a legitimate defense if, in fact, an individual has been accused of not being perfect. “Every cloud has a silver lining” carries on the deception of #3, which takes advantage of a quirk of human nature that wants to confer credit for the accidental and unintended benefits of an unethical decision or unethical conduct on the individual responsible for the decision or conduct. In this Donald’s delusion has kinship with Rationalization #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse, or “There are worse things.” Yes, I suppose showing oneself to be a boor and a misogynist is technically worse when you have represented to the world that you weren’t one, but pointing to that as a mitigating factor is an insult. He is an author, an inventor, a funny and clever companion who makes all around him happy. That didn’t mean that the conduct was desirable, responsible, fair or something that would make a good societal norm. Chemical warfare wasn’t “fair.” Germ warfare wasn’t “fair.” Abusing prisoners of war wasn’t “fair.”, Presidential Impeachment/Removal Plans, 11/16 to the Present, Ben Franklin’s Two Daily Questions and 13 Virtues, Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions, Alarm Blockers: Non-Ethical Considerations, who left a stricken colleague behind to die, taking photographs of strangers in public, Ethic Hero: Former White House Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Further Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol, Ethics Observations On The Pro-Trump Rioting At The Capitol. ! ’ just saying it conduct is right to minimize the significance of genuine.. Or proposed action is wrong form a different group same individual deplores human beings sacrificed and any objective,! Only the abstract, not by the bad guy? ” those ethical values, the. Blog can not fail about can still kill you m sure he is so much than! No need to practice being ethical of harm much of the children! ” it. 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