Who’s to say what’s right?
Now more than ever I feel like anything can be justified to some extent, whether in the court room or the classroom, there seems to be an excuse for everything. I can’t complain because I have made excuses before too, everyone has…see there’s justification right there. It’s in most of us to naturally defend ourselves, sometimes when were not even being accused of anything. Where did this come from?
In Chapter three of ‘Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics,’ it’s a chapter about ‘Ethics and Professionalism,’ has three orientations that have to do with ethics.
A persons belief system can also determine how that person acts in a specific situation. Philosophers say that there are three basic value orientations. (Below)
- Absolute. The absolutist believes that every decision is either “right” or “wrong,” regardless of the consequences. It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant that the end cannot justify the means.
- Existential. The Existentialist, whose choices are not made in a prescribed value system, decides on the basis of immediate practical choice. This approach is somewhat grounded in Aristotle’s idea that individuals should seek a balance, or midpoint, between two extremes. In other words, Aristotle would disagree with Kant by saying “never say never.”
- Situational. The “Situational” believes that each decision is based on what would cause the least harm or the most good.
So, where do we draw the line as far as ethical matters go? In business, in school work, in every day life we are faced with situations where we have to make decisions that will challenge our standard of ethics. There will always be situations where we can justify, and have a great sense of justification in a situation where we can defend our family even if they did wrong. We will be faced with decisions where our best friend wants us to “have their back,” and we are going to have to decided if we are really looking out for them if we let things slide. Many people ask, “well, how do I know what the right thing to do is?” I felt like Andy Stanley said it best in his sermon series/Podcast titled ‘The Best Question Ever.”
He asked in this serious that we should consider asking ourselves “What’s the wisest thing to do?”
Boom! That’s it, many of us may say, that’s what I need to ask myself next time I’m in a sticky situation. I will encourage you to not stop there, but to continue seeking within, to find where your morals come from, and what you base your morals on.