It has been said that Socrates was so consumed by ethical theory that he chose to die rather than violate his principles. Ethics can be viewed as a subjective philosophy dealing with right and wrong or good and evil. Ethical implications of any activity are that the result be viewed with those ethical considerations in mind. But one must consider whether ethical considerations, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.
Ethical Implications of Leadership
One example of ethical leadership implications is the President of the United States, who is expected to act in a way that will benefit the entire nation. On the state level, the governor is expected to act in a manner that benefits the state and so on down the lines of lesser leadership roles. The implication is that leaders are chosen because they are ethical people and are expected to act ethically in both their leadership and personal roles. So when it is discovered that a leader has acted for personal enrichment at the expense of the state or is discovered having a sordid extramarital affair, the result is opposite the expectations of ethical leadership. The implication of this lack of ethics is that the leader will not retain his position.
Ethical Implications of Law
The concept of ethics implies that all individuals are equal in the eyes of the law. Ethical law enforcement authorities are expected to ignore personal bias in their job performance. Citizen jury members are also expected to ethically perform their obligation. Confusion develops when an ethical decision is inconsistent with the law. For instance, if someone resorts to violence to stop a burglary or assault, he is violating the law. The ethical decision to stop the lawbreaker with violence makes it illegal. Although law enforcement officials and jury members may want to commend the individual for potentially stopping a crime, the ethical implications of the law demand he be convicted and punished for his violent action.
Ethical Implications of Goodness
An ethical implication is that good people will do good deeds. A Boy Scout will help an elderly lady cross the street even if he had no intention of crossing. The result may not be entirely satisfactory if the lady does not want to cross the street, but the intention is good and ethical. Good people give up their seats on the bus or subway, shovel snow from their neighbor’s driveway, hold doors open and help those in need. The ethical implication of goodness is that you will encounter that rare good person who acts, as you do, in the interest of others.
Ethical Implications of Honesty
If truthfulness is ethical and good whereas deception is unethical and bad, the ethical implication is that a good person is always honest. However, honesty is not always such a clear-cut value. There are many situations when honesty may hurt another individual. Truthfulness requires a person with knowledge of a husband’s infidelity to tell his wife. Although that knowledge may result in the couple working out differences and becoming closer, it may also result in the dissolution of the marriage and hardship for family members. The same ethical implication of honesty that assumes an honest person will turn in a found quarter as quickly as a found wallet requires the honest person to be truthful, regardless of the consequences.
During the final 20 years of the last century and the first few of this one, Joel Colby wrote and edited articles for technical publications. Since then he has written non-technical articles for Weeder’s Digest, Horseman Magazine, Socyberty, eHow and other websites. Colby holds a B.S. degree from Purdue University.