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About Ethics

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

The subject of right and wrong, like many other subjects in public relations has many faces. There is no universal “right” nor “wrong,” and one cannot find a value that is agreed upon as being right or wrong across all cultures, times, and religions. Moreover, the distinction between right and wrong statements depends on the situation: the law that applies, the local social rules, the ideologies of the parties involved, and their culture. 

What might be considered wrong in normal situations could be understandable in emergency times. For example, eating human flesh or taking a human life is agreed to be wrong; however, at times of war soldiers get awards for killing the enemy, and a starving group of people will be forgiven for eating human flesh to survive. These types of behaviors are under the moral value of consequential reasoning, emphasizing the result of the action; however, can consequential make these behaviors forgivable? What is the situation makes the difference? 

Many people decide between right and wrong by merely adhering to the societal norms they are being taught by their parents, peers, and educational systems. Besides, the community and culture in which the person was raised is also profoundly impacting one’s values. Growing up in Israel, the only Jewish country in the world, I was educated to respect Jewish history, not take my independence for granted, serve in the military and instill the Jewish heritage as a part of who I am. Jewish history has many Anti-Semitic events, the Holocaust being the major one, that developed Jews to be strong, caring, helpful to each other, and most importantly united. My parents inherited strength as a part of my character, and I was raised to believe I can achieve anything I want with hard work. Being involved in a high-level sport also taught me to value self-discipline and responsibility. I feel very loyal to my identity an Israeli Jew, and my family.     

When facing an ethical dilemma, there are universal guidelines that help people in their decision-making process. A person needs to ask himself three questions when facing a moral issue: first, is it legal? Second, is it balanced? Third, how does that make me feel? People with high ethical values will often find themselves debating whether or not they should act in a certain way, what is right and where is the limit of wrong? On the contrary, people with low values of ethics will be simply satisfied with knowing the action is legal. However, in many cases, people do not question societal norms and do not ask themselves why something is right or wrong. It is wrong to talk with your mouth full, it is right for a person to go to college, it is wrong for boys to wear a dress, it is right for guys to pay on the first date and it is wrong for a girl to have muscles. It seemed like a person is being brought into a world where all these social rules have already been written, and the individual has no reason to doubt it because no one does. It seems that those types of norms that people values are a part of care ethics that include everything that maintains our world in a way that we can live in it as well as possible.  Some social rules are being written by law, and their purpose is to keep each individual safe; it is wrong to cross the street when there is a red light, it is wrong to steal, and it is right to pay your bills. Despite that, people are never 100% safe, is it because the law is not accurate and not keeping the social function it should? Or is it because the rules of “wrong” are being broken – what if that person who violates the laws in a specific place is not doing so according to his personal beliefs and culture? And what happens when culture gaps meet? How can a Jewish person who was brought to the view that is it a sin to eat pig, can live in a place where people around him fry bacon? What about people who decided that eating animals is considered to be murder? Is it right to eat animals but not all of them? If different religious guides the lifestyle of many people, when God isn't exciting, everything is permitted. Another matter that changes the value of right and wrong is time. To demonstrate this point, we need to look back – not necessarily into ancient history, but merely 50 years ago, it was considered okay for a teacher or a parent to spank a student who misbehaved, but today both the teacher and the parent would find themselves behind bars. What has changed? What has changed our sense of what was right and what was wrong so dramatically?  I believe that my ethical values are high, I tend to worry for people around me and often put myself in the other person's shoes when conducting a moral dilemma. Although judgments are very personal, they may be false, so whenever our decisions have consequences, we should doubt them, avoid an instant decision, think again, discuss things with others, and consider a different perspective.


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