Monday, 25 February 2013

Double standards

Yes, there are many ethical double standards that operate in our world today.

Most of us expect higher ethical standards from people in professions with a tradition of community service than we do from people in occupations governed mainly by the profit motive.

Most of us expect higher standards of human rights from democracies than we do from nations that make no pretence at democracy.

Most of us judge ethical lapses by politicians and media figures to the left of centre with far greater severity than we do those by politicians and media figures to the right of centre.

Most of us expect a higher commitment to accurate and fair news reporting from "newspapers-of-record" than we do from the tabloids; and a higher commitment to accuracy and fairness from the news services of public broadcasters than we do from those of commercial broadcasters.  We're generally far more disappointed by errors in the "quality" end of the media than we are by errors in the "popular" end of the media. 

Most of us expect that all religious organisations – and the individuals, lay and ordained, within them – will at least try to live by the ethical standards of their faith.  Most of us will judge the ethical failings of the particularly pious with particular harshness. 

Among "religious" people, we have higher ethical expectations of members of the religious mainstream than we have of those on the fundamentalist fringe of any faith. 

As a community we have higher expectations from:
  • some professions,
  • some nations,
  • some politicians,
  • some news outlets,
  • some philosophies of life
than we do from others.   

Yes, these are double standards, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. 

Without such double standards, we may find ourselves becoming a community with no ethical standards at all. 

1 comment:

  1. In the light of the recent (March 2018) scandal about ball-tampering in Australian cricket, I suppose I need to add one more situation in which ethical standards will exist:

    There will be greater public outrage over cheating or other forms of unsportsmanlike behaviour when it occurs in bat-and-ball sports (such as cricket, baseball...) or racquet sports (such as tennis...) than when it occurs in any code of football.


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