Thursday, April 2, 2009

Values, morals and ethics

Values are the emotional rules by which we evaluate things - right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse.
Ethics is about how these values are used in life.
Morals are how the value system is appreciated.

My personal ethics are about how I live my life according to my own, personal ethics. My morals are about how correct my personal values are appreciated. I - of course - think I have high morals, because I consider my values to be sound and good, but some people think I'm immoral or I have bad morals, because I don't see homosexuality nor witchcraft as something bad.

My professional ethics are decided by how well I follow the general values, the values of the society I am working in. In this society euthanasia is "wrong", so I am not showing good professional ethical judgement if I choose to help someone die. I would be showing good personal ethical judgement, if I helped someone die, because according to my values, the quality of life is more important than the quantity of life, and I appreciate personal freedom, freedom of choice and personal right to decide over one's own life very highly.

Let's take the example of abortion:

My personal values concerning this issue are:
- life is special, important, valuable, precious, sacred
- there are no accidents - the pregnancy is supposed to happen. Probably the child is supposed to be born too, and should be born, unless God decides to abort the pregnancy and the woman miscarriages.
- everyone has the right to choose, and decide over her own life. No-one else but the pregnant woman may decide whether she carries the child 9 months or not.
- as long as men cannot bear children, the father of the child should have a say, if he didn't impregnate the woman against her will. (Accidents don't count as "against her will". If she agreed to have sex with him and got pregnant, he has to have a say on whether he wants the baby even if she doesn't.)
- one life is not more important than another. If the woman's life is in danger due to the pregnancy, the pregnancy should be aborted. If a child is pregnant, the pregnancy should be aborted. If the pregnancy or having a child harms anyone's life, the pregnancy should be aborted.

If I got pregnant, I would be acting unethically, if I aborted the pregnancy.
If someone else got pregnant and aborted the pregnancy, I can't say whether it's unethical or not, nor whether it is immoral or not. I don't know her values nor her situation.
If the woman uses abortion as "day after pill", then there is most likely something seriously wrong with her values, and that makes it immoral. It is not the abortion per se that is immoral, but the fact that she is having sex without protecting herself, carelessly, thoughtlessly, egotistically.
If a woman will not abort the pregnancy even when it was caused by her deceiving the father to impregnate her, and it would harm the father's economical and social situation, there is most likely something wrong with that woman's values, and that makes anything but abortion immoral, unless the father wants the child in spite of the wrongful conception and harm to his life. He has to have a choice too, and this must be respected.
As you see, I judge the morality of the abortion according to MY ethical values and standards... According to my values it would be wrong to deceive the father to get pregnant and then demand the father pays the child support, so *I* deem the deed immoral.

I don't know if I have made any sense with this, but please ask, if you think I have been muddled somewhere :-)