What is Good? LO13138

Thomas Benjamin (BENJAMIN@fac.irm.ernet.in)
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 15:32:20 +0500 EST

Replying to LO13133, LO13129, and LO13132

Clyde Howell said,"The concept of what is good and what is not is so very
subjective and subject to situational factors" which Rol Fessedon in
Lo13133 agreed to. Rol also asked for thoughts on Morally legitimate
leader. To a large extent, the dialogue on learning and trust started by
At in LO13114 is related to what is being said here, IMO.

Later, Clyde also goes on explain "yet there are those who oppose the free
distribution of condoms or even the discussion of even the basics of
sexual information such as birth control"

IMO, the words goodness, morality and ethics are related in a sequential
manner. Goodness is an expected standard, which as Clyde suggests is
situational, I may add, is unique to the system the individual operates
in(an individual may operate in more than one system in todays world).
Morality is the ability to discern the difference between good and bad,
right and wrong and ethics is a science of morals.

Taking Clydes example, human sexuality and birth control operate at the
three levels. An individuals concept of goodness with respect to human
sexuality will depend on whether the person is a christian or not, a
catholic christian or not, the definition of sexual goodness the person
subscribes to. The next stage is the extent to which the person is able
to apply this to the persons day to day life in situations where personal
decisions about human sexuality and birth control are needed. In todays
world, we find conflicting standards at tandem. So far so good. One may
learn to coexist. The problem arisess when these conflicting moral
standards have to translated to ethical practices accepted by all.

In our country birth control and abortion is legal. Yet the church does
influence devout catholics. For instance Mother Theresa does not agree
with the national policy. She probably knows more about poverty and
problems of population than any politician in this country. Yet I think,
she has a right to her view. She offers a home to any child who is not
wanted or deserted and wants shelter in her homes. The state has no means
to do that, or anything for that matter. Legalising birth control and
abortion has done very little to bring down population. On the other hand
I understand China's birth control policy worked because their communes
had a responsibility to children born while they penalised those who did
not limit family size. Here we have three examples of moral standards on
birth control. The problem begins when one of the moral standards is
imposed inapproriately on those who do not subscribe to the moral code.

I think the US has a similar problem. Several mental models coexisting.
The question is how do we get them together to dialogue and come up with
acceptable practices.

My opinion to Rols question is, A morally legitimate leader is one who can
help forge an ethical practice that is acceptable to diverse moral
standards without copromising on legitimate issues of each standard.

With warm regards

Thomas P Benjamin
Anand 388 001 India
Email: benjamin@fac.irm.ernet.in


"Thomas Benjamin" <BENJAMIN@fac.irm.ernet.in>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>