July 24, 2012

"As an authority figure, you have to impose the rule of law..."

"... but don’t ignore the possibility that the rule you’re imposing is flawed."

ADDED: From the comments at the link (which goes to a NYT "ethicist" column):
Why are people are so moved by a man weeping, and assume that, because a guy is crying, he must be truly remorseful? Or even that he’s being deliberately manipulative? He's most likely weeping out of fear for his job.
By the way, the second letter over there is also interesting. What if your dear friend — who suffered so over the breakup of her own marriage — is expressing her delight about how she's about to break up some other lady's marriage? The answer given is:
Tell A. that you disagree with what she’s doing and that her behavior will alter the way you view her character.... But don’t blow up your friendship because someone pursued a romance you find abhorrent.
Seems like the ethicist is fond of calling these perplexing case right down the middle.

26 comments:

Oso Negro said...

College professor sleeps with students. Readers shocked.

Leland said...

College professor also lies about sleeping with student. Readers apoplectic.

Leland said...

On the other hand: an university official unsure if they should come forward about sexual misconduct by staff, and advised to consider the flaws of such a reveal.

This sounds oddly familiar to me.

LarsPorsena said...

".....Today, he confessed to me that he lied — the relationship did start before she graduated, but he said it did not influence her grades. He was in tears while telling me this..."

He was crying about this?

Question: What do you get when you cross a donkey with and onion?
Answer: Usually, nothing. But, every so often you get a piece of ass that just makes you wan to cry.

Pogo said...
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Pogo said...

@Leland

Exactly. A form of this thinking is what led Penn State awry. The Catholic church made similar mistakes.

Each case must be decided on its merits, but doing nothing seems to be a step down the road to further and more serious errors.

traditionalguy said...

but where will we get new men and women to stone to death for our entertainment?

That flexable judging principle is a traditional part of the Justice system. There are sentence options for the Judges to apply according to their consciences

That need was the origin of Equity. In today's complex world of laws against nearly everything, it is more needed than ever.

Mandatory sentences are what are doing more harm today than a few lenient sentences. I blame the MADD Mothers.

The reason Felony was distinguished in law from Misdemeanor was to allow more of such Judge discretion. Hanging pick pockets was getting old. Hanging blasphemers was getting old. Muslims still shoot teenage daughters for any sexual freedom hints, but we are beyond that in our Christian based civilization. Why would any sane person want it back?



Today all manner of sex is considered a human right anywhere and with anyone over 18. This man needs forgiveness, not execution...let's hope he is a Christian so he can find that forgiveness.

edutcher said...

Typical Lefty response, "Rules are made to be broken - unless they're rules we made".

Q said...

Today all manner of sex is considered a human right anywhere and with anyone over 18.


Based on this, and all the other comments you make, I'm just curious why you refer to yourself as "traditionalguy".

Matthew Sablan said...

"As an authority figure, you have to impose the rule of law, but don’t ignore the possibility that the rule you’re imposing is flawed."

-- In this case though, the rule's perfectly fine.

Fen said...

Tell A. that you disagree with what she’s doing and that her behavior will alter the way you view her character.... But don’t blow up your friendship because someone pursued a romance you find abhorrent

Uh. NO. Tell A. that she shouldn't be so casual about other people's lives. Yes, his bad for cheating on his wife, but if you ruin his life over it, expect him to ruin yours too.

Hell hath no fury than an ex-lover with nothing to live for.

wyo sis said...

Ethicist. This word has a meaning, right?

penelope said...

The shame of it is that The Ethicist in the Times’ Sunday Magazine used to be a very serious and thought-provoking feature every week. Then for whatever reason the times canned Randy Cohen. Ever since the letters/situations have been banal, and the answers vapid. I stopped reading it long ago. I see I haven’t missed anything.

traditionalguy said...

Q...I am also RealisticGuy and I comment on what is really happening.

I could point out that in Acts 15 God made a compromise decision for the gentile believers to be free of the Law of Moses, except the Church was kept under the sexual morality rules in Moses' Torah as not eliminated by the grace contained in the New Covenant made in the blood of His Son Jesus. I recall that another inflexible part was not eating rare meat. How is that one working out?

But if I did say that, nobody would listen to me.

Or I could point out that in Revelation God said to let the wicked become more wicked in the Last days. I suppose that helps create a clear contrast for final judgement on the Non-Christians.

But I am primarily called to observe Jesus' new commandment which is to love my neighbor, to do good to my enemies, to show mercy and to let God do the judging when he gets ready. Since Humans don't live much past age 100, God's judgement day comes soon enough.

That's my tradition.

Paddy O said...

"Ethicist. This word has a meaning, right?"

Sure! It's an art form to be able to rationalize any behavior while at the same time making everyone feel both vaguely guilty and morally superior.

Carnifex said...

I am of the opinion that anyone who had to write to a newspaper ethicist isn't seeking an ethical answer, but a confirmation of what they have already decided. There are acts everyone "knows" to be un-ethical, but many will look the other way if it doesn't conform to their present political bent. ie) any teacher, sleeping with any student, is un-ethical, but many will claim "but it's between 2 adults so it's none of my business" While it may not be any of your business, it is still un-ethical, and it should be called that. If the teacher and the student really do care for one another then keep it in the pants untill the student isn't a student anymore. But that goes against our entire "I want, and I want it now" society.

I remember as a younger guy I would read about these women teachers sleeping with their male students and thinking, "Damn, that guy is lucky". As I've gotten older I have come to realize that these women are harming these boys just as much as a male teacher who molests his female students. These are children, and even if they do have the capacity to have sex doesn't mean they are able to handle it emotionally, or mentally. The teachers who do indulge in student sex are emotional wrecks that can't have a relationship with someone equal to them. I wouldn't want someone that unstable teaching any child, let alone mine.

Q said...

I am primarily called to observe Jesus' new commandment which is to love my neighbor, to do good to my enemies, to show mercy and to let God do the judging when he gets ready.


That's all well and good. But "traditionally" Christians did not think as you do. Nor did much of anyone else. I'm not interested in getting into a discussion with you about the true and correct nature of Christian belief. I'm just pointing out that traditionally Christianity has never been big on the notion of "everyone do your own thing and God will sort us out when we die".

Bryan C said...

"I'm just pointing out that traditionally Christianity has never been big on the notion of "everyone do your own thing and God will sort us out when we die".

We all fall short of the glory, Q. That doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to do better.

And, FWIW, it's entirely possible to allow people to do their own thing, while also noting that what they're doing isn't the correct thing to do. Acceptance isn't the same thing as approval.

Q said...

We all fall short of the glory, Q. That doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to do better.


You are making the assumption that the "everyone do your own thing and God will sort us out when we die" school is "better" than the traditional one.


Acceptance isn't the same thing as approval.

It actually is the same thing.


it's entirely possible to allow people to do their own thing

There is an awful lot of wriggle room in the word "allow".

Crunchy Frog said...

I'm just pointing out that traditionally Christianity has never been big on the notion of "everyone do your own thing and God will sort us out when we die".

Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV)

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Q said...

I'm familiar with the Bible, thank you.

I'm also familiar with normal Christian practice between AD 33 and AD 1970. And it was not a shrug of the shoulders and a "Who am I to judge others? when Christian doctrine was violated.

Traditionally (key word there) Christians did not think like "traditionalguy". That's just an objective fact. If you think that they should have thought like trad-guy, that's a whole different discussion.

David said...

The answer is pretty simple.

The Dean should recuse him/herself and tell the "friend" to report the incident to whoever is next in line. And tell the "friend" that if he does not report the incident, you will.

This person is dean of (something?) at a college and can't figure this out.

Of course neither can the "ethicist."

The rule in these matters used to be "don't ask, don't tell." Not any more. Colleges have made sex a legal disciplinary minefield. Let the faculty and administrators deal with the consequences of their own authoritarian tendencies.

traditionalguy said...

Q...Paul was always in trouble with the legalists. So he wrote Galatians to explain his approach in his struggles with the legalists of his day.

The gist of Paul's approach was that there is no good news in the condemning sinners using the Mosaic Law of Sin and Death.

That was where Paul's good news of a new Kingdom differed sharply with Caesars Imperium.

But down to today's comments, the smart money seems to be on Caesar and enforcing the Laws of social order and morality so loved by the Roman Emperors in public, if not in private.

Peter and Paul got themselves executed by Caesar for suspcion of interference with Rome's social order and public morality.

So you have a good point. Are you Italian?

Bender said...
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Bender said...

Traditionally (key word there) Christians did not think like "traditionalguy".

It is a key word.

Traditionally, from the Latin "traditio," meaning "handed down," what has been taught and handed down from generation to generation is to love God and one another, to do good and avoid evil, etc.

That people may or may not have acted in a manner consistent with such tradition (key word there) is entirely beside the point as to what those teachings and moral beliefs are and have been for 2000 years.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

"Acceptance isn't the same thing as approval.

It actually is the same thing."

Uh ... no. I accept that many people enjoy gangsta rap. I'm not going to go out and force them to stop. But I certainly don't approve of it.

I accept that many people enjoy eating tofu. I'm not going to force them to stop. But again, I certainly don't approve of it. The stuff is horrible.

I mean, seriously, I could go on forever.