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Mike Waiksnis

One I would add to the list--

Parents want their children to be safe but often are upset if you speak to their child while investigating an incident where they may have been the one who did something wrong.

patti digh

I have just stumbled onto this blog and was intrigued to read this post.

Rushworth Kidder at the Institute for Global Ethics writes eloquently about ethical dilemmas not being dilemmas of right vs wrong (after all, where's the dilemma in that?), but between right vs right. It occurs to me that some of the polarities you've mentioned are just such right vs right equations.

Examples of what I mean:
• It is right to protect the endangered spotted owl in the old-growth forests of the American Northwest--and right to provide jobs for loggers.
• It is right to honor a woman's right to make decisions affecting her body--and right to protect the lives of the unborn.
• It is right to provide our children with the finest public schools available--and right to prevent the constant upward ratcheting of state and local taxes.
• It is right to extend equal social services to everyone regardless of race or ethnic origin--and right to pay special attention to those whose cultural backgrounds may have deprived them of past opportunities.
• It is right to refrain from meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations--and right to help protect the undefended in regions where they are subject to slaughter.
• It is right to resist the importation of products made in developing nations to the detriment of the environment--and right to provide jobs, even at low wages, for citizens of those nations.
• It is right to support the principle of creative freedom for the curator of an exhibition at a local museum--and right to uphold the community's desire to avoid displaying pornographic or racially offensive works.
• It is right to "throw the book" at good employees who make dumb decisions that endanger the firm--and right to have enough compassion to mitigate the punishment and give them another chance.

Those are just a few examples - I'm sure you have many more from education alone. Right-versus-wrong choices are very different from right-versus-right ones. The first is a moral temptation; the latter reach inward to our most profound and central values, setting one against the other in ways that will never be resolved simply by pretending that one is "wrong." I fear that sometimes we opt for the latter, simply pretending that the other is wrong.

Thanks for the food for thought...and sorry for the long comment!

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