wrong or right ethical question

Ethical Tattle Telling

The decision to inform on a wrongdoer is often a wrenching dilemma. Fear of alienation from a group and knowingly evading responsibility tear at the conscience. Acting responsibly on society’s behalf may seem the most ethical thing to do.

Jewish tradition offers additional ethical dimensions to consider. Informing on others is condemned by Judaism and is viewed as a serious transgression. The Torah’s account of the consequences of Joseph’s telling his father about the brothers misconduct is cited as an example.

Honest reports open avenues of malicious slander. Inadvertent misconduct or seriously regretted actions are reasons to be reluctant about reporting a wrongdoing. Averting danger by alerting authorities is sometimes necessary. This
asks for other possibilities to be considered first. Also read about reporting theft suspicion.

Ethical Sportsmanship

The object of sports is artificial. Sinking a ball into a basket or covering a course as fast as possible would be better achieved with a ladder or motorcycle. Games and sports establish an artificial and conventional task aimed at providing an outlet for competitive desires, improving teamwork, sharpening skills, and physical well-being. How does stealing bases in baseball fit into this? Read this post for some insight into the practice.

Good sportsmanship ensures competitive goals of winning are achieved by a particular standard. When winning is more important than competing fairly, the team or individual is unsportsmanlike. A bad call from a referee is good luck for one team and bad luck for the other. It may seem fair for the favored team to blow a point to even the score.

Luck is a part of life that cannot be avoided. Purposely manipulating the score, even for what appears to be a fair response, damages the real goal of doing one’s best. This example may seem trivial, but a parallel in economics can be derived.

Competing for money is a fake objective. Organizing society’s productive resources for the benefit of everyone is the real objective. Development should not be swallowed up by the artificial goal of money making. Read more on this topic here.


Is It Wrong to Play Hooky?

Playing hooky, occasionally, is not as unethical as the variety of ethical problems involved. The temptation to misbehave is powerful when a teenager is already feeling a bit naughty. Lying, if caught, is another temptation. Copying homework or cheating on exams may be temptations caused by missing class time.

Skipping class reflects badly on parents or other family members who feel good attendance is important. It also is disrespectful to the school and teacher. Playing hooky can incite others to follow the example.

As maturing teenagers begin taking on adult responsibility, they can start to establish priorities. Those priorities may not be what others expect them to be. Still, a student who takes account of the importance of education and responsibility to make a positive contribution to the school will likely conclude skipping class is rarely a good idea. This information was taken from a link on playing hooky.


Giving Preferential Treatment to Advertisers

The article about School Sell-Out addresses an ethical hurdle when certain business conduct makes one feel uncomfortable. Some cause discomfort because it requires a degree of moral courage. Another is subtly unethical and triggers suspicion.

Taking money from an advertiser with the promise to exclude the competition may feel unfair because equal exposure is prevented. Thinking in that way is not a precise approach. Until an agreement is made, there is no obligation to any advertiser. Some use this point to rationalize secret deals as ethical. Assumptions will be made regardless of the decision to accept an exclusive deal with an advertiser or allow competition.

Allowing all interested competitors to advertise may lead to the assumption all advertisers are on an equitable basis. Allowing only one advertiser leads to the assumption that precedence was given to an advertiser as a recommendation. See this link for a solution that is ethical.

Reaction to Correspondence not Intended for the Reader

If someone’s private correspondence is read by an unintended viewer and reveals the engagement in potentially dangerous or immoral activity, what is the ethical thing to do? The Torah implicitly prohibits gossip. Generally, it is forbidden to read the private mail of someone without his or her permission.

Private information disclosure may be used if it is the sole means of achieving an important benefit. There are stringent conditions that allow this kind of private information disclosure. When a youngster’s moral education is at stake, revealing information to a teacher or parent is permissible.

While acting on the basis of a student’s note is permissible, the wisdom of such a revelation should be considered carefully. Read Snooping on Students for a more in-depth argument of the pros and cons.

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Anonymous Giving

Anonymously giving must be put in perspective. There is much misunderstanding on this issue. Many people feel acknowledging a donor is disgraceful or disrespectful.

Reasons for anonymity need to be analyzed. There are levels of giving. Anonymous donations rank high in position. The recipient being unknown and not knowing the donor ranks higher. That kind of giving is topped, only, when the donor helps with a partnership or loan that does not make the recipient feel subordinate.

Avoiding shame to the recipient is as important as the modesty of the donor. Giving charity to obtain honor is wrong. The motivation for giving is discussed in more detail in this link.

Other Charitable Donation Issues

The Donor Trouble article suggests how to handle recognition for a donor that is controversial, but passes a careful background check. Giving credit to recognize and honor people who perform good deeds is looked upon favorably in Judaism. A commentary about publicizing the good deeds of modest people is found on this link. Extending charity to the formerly wealthy is addressed in Riches to Rags. A wise solution to the dilemma of accepting gifts of gratitude from impoverished clients is presented in the article about Pauper Presents.