“But nothing I did was illegal.” I have heard or read that statement more than a few times. Recently ProPublica’s exposé on the machinations employed by the very wealthy to avoid paying federal income tax brought to my mind the question: “But is it ethical?” A reply to that might be, “Ah, but we were merely following tax law.” That I concede, but I would point out that conscious choices were made to take unintended advantage of tax law.
I struggle to get into the head of someone that would make such choices. Political speech provides more examples of the ethical/legal disconnect with innuendo, baseless assertions and twisted meanings — legal, but ethical? I would provide examples but many are easily found; I recommend, however, that one look across the whole political spectrum and not merely feed one’s confirmation bias.
Doing and saying that which is ethical and honorable most often comes at some cost. In the past several months we have had politicians that have knowingly made unpopular, but in their mind, ethical choices and suffered consequences. I question the ethics of their critics.