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Way Out Of Line Online Ethics
February 18, 2003 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Ethics, Shmethics! You Stole Someone's Umbrella, You Pompously Rationalizing Fink! Has anyone else taken Randy Cohen's ethics quiz and violently disagreed with his sneaky, say-nothing, keep-quiet approach? Silence (and therefore lying by omission) is a touchy subject, rabinically debated since records began... but still! [So I flunked 5... But they were all ethically unimpeachable, unimpeachable, you hear?! But, yeah, for now I'll sneakily keep quiet and say nothing about those I took exception to, the better to gauge anyone else's outrages...]
posted by MiguelCardoso (71 comments total)

 
Some of us find the term "Fink" uncool :-p.

Denial is an increasingly prevalent form of response.
posted by rudyfink at 4:47 PM on February 18, 2003


The answer he gives to the grading question may be the "best" answer from an idealistic perspective, but the only thing it does is guarantee only one honest kid per year will do the right thing. Once everyone else figures out that the good deel will not go unpunished, they'll keep quiet.

This is the same impulse that leads some parents to punish kids who freely confess to the crime (whatever it may have been), thus ensuring that the kid gets the message that honesty never pays.
posted by Irontom at 4:54 PM on February 18, 2003


If these are modern-day New York ethics, I'll keep to my own, thanks very much.

(nb. I got 2 answers "wrong" according to the umbrella thief*)

*The umbrella question wasn't one of them - I'm just as guilty.
posted by cbrody at 4:57 PM on February 18, 2003


A name brand umbrella? Seriously?
posted by Samsonov14 at 4:58 PM on February 18, 2003


I didn't match him on the umbrella question (I've never owned one and am thus unfamiliar with the subtle nuances of bumbershoot-equipped life), or the movie theater question.

I really don't have anything else to add.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:58 PM on February 18, 2003


Sorry! 7 of your answers were incorrect.

That man needs to be punched in the cock.
posted by Stan Chin at 5:01 PM on February 18, 2003 [2 favorites]


I got three out of ten wrong - before I worked that out, I was feeling quite smug.

But..."it is more likely that your umbrella was not stolen, but was exchanged inadvertently, and so your taking an equivalent one provides a kind of rough justice" --- that's ethics? Sounds too much like 2 wrongs = 1 right. It's my brolly tht's missing, and in the absence of a culprit, it's me that needs to bear the consequences, sadly.

Uncertainty about the facts regarding the loss of the item will always lead to exploitation by some. Hmm.

Fun to do tho. Thanks, Miguel.

on preview: That man needs to be punched in the cock- quote of the week!!
posted by dash_slot- at 5:02 PM on February 18, 2003


I got eight wrong, but the naked man question was one of the ones I got right, and the movie question was t'other.

Good to know I'm on firm ground when it comes to amazing naked men and telling the MPAA to fuck off.

I also disagree with the first question's rationalization. Not everyone is from New York.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:03 PM on February 18, 2003


Cohen got five answers wrong.
posted by jfuller at 5:07 PM on February 18, 2003


When he comes to visit us, let us count our spoons.
posted by jfuller at 5:09 PM on February 18, 2003


A name brand umbrella? Seriously?

Samsonov 14: There are umbrellas and then there are umbrellas... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:10 PM on February 18, 2003


I missed three:

Q: My fiance and I waited in line for four hours to buy tickets to a show. There were a limited number, so each person was allowed only two. We were approached by a man who offered us a $100 bonus to each buy an extra ticket. What should we have done? -- R. A. , Connecticut
A: C. spurn his advances entirely

Oh, c'mon I made money here! Now I can go out to eat after the show and help the economy!
Q: I am 7 weeks pregnant and looking for a new job. Is it fair to look for a job at this time? When should I tell prospective employers? L.C. New York
A: C. Never. At least not during the job hunt.

What! If I hired somebody that knew they'd be unable to work after 7 months of being hired I'd be upset. I know times are tough, but honesty in the workplace is very important. I've never been pregnant, but I have gotten jobs when I knew I'd being leaving town after six months. I told them and they hired me.

Q: I had a dinner at the home of one of my neighbors, and he said grace in a way that seemed appallingly sexist. What should I have done?-- anonymous, Los Angeles
A: C. Speak up, but not during the actual prayer, and not angrily. There’s time for a quiet conversation during dinner.

So after debating I/P, Iraq and the existence of God on mefi all day I'm supposed to get in a religious debate at dinner! I come here so I don't have to debate at dinner, for god's sake! How about an answer D: Next time you're over for dinner ask if you can say grace, then praise the old one, Chuthulu, the unchallengable supreme god who will one day crush your host to dust and blood for his sexist christian delusions.

I've always hated Randy Cohen.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:17 PM on February 18, 2003


that didn't format right, sorry.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:18 PM on February 18, 2003


If you're forming a queue to punch the bloke in the cock, I'd like to join.
posted by squealy at 5:20 PM on February 18, 2003


Hahaha. I missed four, but the one I am laughing about is the naked man question. Seems like doing something you wouldn't do if you could be seen simply because you want to do it and can't be seen at all is just a rephrasing of the Ring of Gyges parable in The Republic. And, umm, I think Socrates said it was wrong.. so... I'll go with that instead.
posted by Hildago at 5:20 PM on February 18, 2003


Gah, I can't get over this. It's stupid to give someone a test using your ethical system as a scheme anyway, if you don't tell them what your rules are for right and wrong to begin with. And how could stealing an umbrella be the right thing to do? Nietzscheans, please to be explaining.
posted by Hildago at 5:25 PM on February 18, 2003


Sorry! 6 of your answers were incorrect.
No, I am sorry, but 6 of YOUR answers were incorrect. Is that really what passes for ethics in NYC?

Miguel, if I had an umbrella like that, I would not put it in a bucket by a shop door - if I did, I should not be surprised to find it gone when I return.

*joins cock-punching queue*
posted by dg at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2003


I found this thoroughly uninteresting. It would be completely OK with me if this was a regular brain-free personality test, but these apallingly simplistic examples combined with stupid assertions of moral or ethical high ground irk me a bit above the "ignore" threshold.
posted by azazello at 5:32 PM on February 18, 2003


I find that a good mental aid to deciding ethical questions is to imagine your response to any situation will be filmed and shown to the whole world.

For tough questions, imagine no context is given. So there you are stealing an umbrella; bowing respectfully during some rabid hate-filled religious speech; lying about not being pregnant; making money out of standing in line for a ticket, et caetera. I dunno about a nationwide video of you masturbating at your window...

For really tough questions, imagine the consequences of your action are also shown: the guy whose umbrella was stolen; the couple who swear you have the same wacko religious views; the employer who trusted you and now has find someone else while you parent your child; the poor schmuck who also stood in line but was diddled out of his ticket because of you.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:33 PM on February 18, 2003


Missed Six! Damn Cohen!

seriously, the correct answers range inconsistently from "Politically Correct", "Absolute Truth" to "Morally Right". It's like guessing what stand to take on each question.
posted by DBAPaul at 5:34 PM on February 18, 2003


Cohen got five answers wrong.
By my count he got six wrong, and you better believe I'm not giving him credit for the one you mistakenly marked correct.

Actually, I have heard him on NPR and usually agree with him, and so was surgprised to disagree on so many answers. One problem with the quiz was that there were not enough details in each scenario to fully explore the ethical implications, and there are often more than three possible responses to ethical dilemmas in real life. I have actually dealt with situations similar to these as a teacher and physician, and would be willing to debate him on the appropriateness of some of his answers.
posted by TedW at 5:35 PM on February 18, 2003


THE BRIGG UMBRELLA COVER is made from the finest quality nylon or waterproofed English silk.

Umbrella accessories even? Miguel, I generally like your comments, but in this case I think you genuinely deserve a cock-punching. Also, I'm taking your umbrella.
posted by Samsonov14 at 5:35 PM on February 18, 2003


Hey Miguel, have your thoughts on the ethics of stealing (say, umbrellas) changed since this comment in this thread, or is there some distinction to be made? And yes, it has been bothering me for a year... you fink!
posted by Hildago at 5:37 PM on February 18, 2003


It's fairly clear why people don't like New Yorkers...
posted by shagoth at 5:37 PM on February 18, 2003


"the poor schmuck who also stood in line but was diddled out of his ticket because of you."

I've rethought this one, and I've come to the conclusion that my companion and I should purchase our allotment of four tickets, take the man's C-note, and sell the remaining ticket to somebody else (hopefully for another hundred).

The only reason the schmucks behind me aren't getting tickets is because they were late, and lateness is a far more inexcusable trait than opportunism.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:40 PM on February 18, 2003


Hey Miguel, have your thoughts on the ethics of stealing (say, umbrellas) changed since this comment in this thread, or is there some distinction to be made? And yes, it has been bothering me for a year... you fink!

Ah, Hildago - but how did you know the umbrella you took belonged to the thief? If you were sure it belonged to the guy who stole yours, then it could have been justified by the Portuguese saying I quoted: "a thief who steals from a thief gets a hundred less years in hell". But this is not the case. And, in any case, it's only a discount - not a license to steal back.

Anyway, different threads, different strokes, Mr. Memory Man! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:46 PM on February 18, 2003


I got nine wrong. More proof of the widening gulf between the midwest and the east coast?
posted by internal at 5:46 PM on February 18, 2003


The only reason the schmucks behind me aren't getting tickets is because they were late

Crash - they were not late. They arrived just in time. It's the opportunist who was late in line! You...why you...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:48 PM on February 18, 2003


I'm with crash, besides it's not like we're all in line waiting for an antidote. The poor shmuck can go to another show. And on the umbrella issue, I think it's okay to take the umbrella of the same brand. Think of it this way, you didn't buy the umbrella, you bought the license to use the umbrella, therefore you can use any umbrella of the brand you purchased.
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:48 PM on February 18, 2003


Elwoodwiles: Of course, the real hypocrite would make a point of buying the poor shmuck a ticket for another show (supposedly "just as good" but certainly much cheaper and probably crap), give it to him, feel duly comforted and, pocketing the difference, be able to enjoy the fruits of his ethical, er, flexibility. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:57 PM on February 18, 2003


Stealing someone's umbrella? Call me a wet blanket if you like, but that's just plain wrong.

Now watching the naked guy, that's different. And whether or not it involves umbrellas, hey, who am I to cavil?
posted by madamjujujive at 6:11 PM on February 18, 2003


Randy Cohen wouldn't know ethics if it bite him repeatedly in the ass. I fucking loath Randy Cohen. The ethicist??? What are the ethics of a pompous, politically correct git who has no training or study in ethics acting as an ethical authority? How can he keep up this con job? The more I hear from this head case the more I think he should be banned. I don't even care what he gets banned from.

God damn right - repeatedly in the cock. The fucking line starts here.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:16 PM on February 18, 2003


For really tough questions, imagine the consequences of your action are also shown: the guy whose umbrella was stolen; the couple who swear you have the same wacko religious views; the employer who trusted you and now has find someone else while you parent your child; the poor schmuck who also stood in line but was diddled out of his ticket because of you.

Miguel, I'm pretty sure you've nailed the basic thematic impetus behind both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

TedW pretty much nails it -- without context, these are dopey questions. Is your sexist-prayin' host your aged uncle's best friend, whom you'll not see again if you can avoid him, and who isn't likely to care about your objection? Or is it your neighbor and the parent of your kid's best friend? R.C. makes it sound like you're a Quisling if you don't raise a fuss over dinner -- this is sort of useless ethics.

But it's always fun to take a quiz.
posted by BT at 6:27 PM on February 18, 2003


Ethically speaking, sure, it's pretty easy to give the answers that Cohen expects, if you know that it's okay to steal things in New York, that is. But in reality, I would have taken the two hundred dollars, I would have expected compensation for the badly marked test, the movie question is purely circumstantial based on whether your parents really know what is in the movie, etc, etc etc. FWIW, I got four wrong, but I waffled on two of them and might make a different decision tomorrow. The wonderful thing about ethics is that they can change, can't they?
Nice link, Miguel.
posted by ashbury at 6:29 PM on February 18, 2003


"there were not enough details in each scenario to fully explore the ethical implications"

I heard one interview where he basically said, "Oh yes, context is vital to answering these types of questions." But then the first thing he always does is throw out the context.

Mr Cohen? Last time I checked ethics does not = "I have an opinion"
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:35 PM on February 18, 2003


Ok. I don't understand why "fink" is uncool as a response.
My answer to Randy was:

#1 Stealing is ok if it has been done to you? I don't get it. Besides, had it been an honest mistake your umbrella would be there the next day (along with his/hers).
#8 Embarrassing someone in front of their family is ok? You sound pretty full of yourself. oh, wait. I forgot. You are the ethicist. Did you, the guest, consider that a private moment, possibly after dinner or even (if that freaking important) during but excused from the table, is more reasonable? Which is not to say that the big guns cannot still be used upon your return.


Clearly this is neither profound nor funny.

I should, as an ethical gentleman, mention that I would be horrified at those who got nine wrong if I weren't screwing their sister.
posted by elmaddog at 6:41 PM on February 18, 2003


When did we go from punching his clock to punching his cock?

I took the test honestly and got 4 "wrongs". The broken lamp (kids smash things - big deal), the R-rated movie (rules are rules), the sexist grace (great way to make conversation - start by criticizing their religious beliefs), and the test grade (why should the student be penalized by my mistake - thats nonsense).
posted by cx at 6:42 PM on February 18, 2003


Do you need to have an umbrella to have ethics?

Because I do not have an umbrella.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:09 PM on February 18, 2003


I got seven wrong, and disagree with his reasons for every single one.

Re the umbrella: you don't know if it was stolen or mistakenly taken. All you know is that yours is not there. Honesty requires that you leave the others alone. They're not yours. Taking them is theft.

Re the wrong grade: While it's important to accurately measure the progress of the student... it it more important to have a correct grade and teach the lesson that honesty is a bad thing? Or is it more important to teach the lesson that honesty is a good thing?

re the ticket line: I didn't interpret that as someone who wanted to cut in line, but rather as someone who wanted to get more than "his fair share" of tickets - like maybe he was buying tickets for his 3 friends that want to go also, but are not yet present. Even so, I'd take his money.

I misread the pregnancy question as 7 months. At seven weeks, I happen to agree with his answer. At 7 months, I would not agree with his answer.

THere were others, but I forget already. What a retard.

So, who's willing to give me cuts in the cock-punching line? I'll pay $100.
posted by jaded at 7:10 PM on February 18, 2003


Do you need to have an umbrella to have ethics?
Because I do not have an umbrella.


Why, ROU: Surely you don't mean to say you never watched you know...?

Of course you need an umbrella against the bad guys!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:15 PM on February 18, 2003


Sorry, GET WET. Did I read it wrong? It told me to take another unbrella of the same value. 2 wrongs = right?
posted by tomplus2 at 7:18 PM on February 18, 2003


OK, this test sucked, but R. Cohen isn't so bad when you read his column and follow his arguments.

The umbrella thing was stupid-pendous, of course. So was the teacher/test thing, speaking as a teacher. A kid comes up to you and tells you his wrong answer was inadvertently marked right? It's just a fucking grade. What do you want...to be a persinickety asshole or to be fair? Fair in a humanistic way, not a coldly logistical way.

I would hate to have Mr. Cohen as a teacher.
posted by kozad at 7:22 PM on February 18, 2003


I would have expected compensation for the badly marked test

On a serious note - at least to my mind - this is the most difficult question. I agree with irontom's position:

The answer he gives to the grading question may be the "best" answer from an idealistic perspective, but the only thing it does is guarantee only one honest kid per year will do the right thing. Once everyone else figures out that the good deel will not go unpunished, they'll keep quiet.

This is the same impulse that leads some parents to punish kids who freely confess to the crime (whatever it may have been), thus ensuring that the kid gets the message that honesty never pays.


But it does go against the idea that honesty is its own reward and, what is more, who can deny that the teacher will even unconsciously be well disposed towards his honest pupil, even if he revises his grade?

My guess is that those who happen to be mothers and fathers (because they think more about long-term consequences) will tend to compensate honesty (even if it means kids will be honest to reap rewards).

Still, the main question (and Cohen's failings) remain: is not speaking up/remaining silent a lie by omission or not?

I think it is. Cohen thinks not. At the end of the day, it's a Jiminy Cricket thing. Perhaps...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:26 PM on February 18, 2003


I had a dinner at the home of one of my neighbors, and he said grace in a way that seemed appallingly sexist. What should I have done?
Why do I get the feeling that this person's idea of "appallingly sexist" probably consists of defaulting to the masculine pronoun? A: STFU, you mewling PC creep.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:05 PM on February 18, 2003


God, I used to like the column. But now I want to cut into the front of the cock punching line.
According to this bozo, I should steal umbrellas, harass people about their religious beliefs at their own table, withhold important information from a prospective employer (who will, rightly, not trust me henceforward), harass a friend about his kid, teach my student that honesty is for suckers and betray one patient by covering for another.

Bleah.

I hope I can one day be in a position to steal Cohen's umbrella. And yes, I'm a New Yorker, so maybe I will be.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:24 PM on February 18, 2003


There are no ethics to be found here.
posted by tiamat at 8:32 PM on February 18, 2003


What are the ethics of cock-punching?
posted by Guy Smiley at 8:40 PM on February 18, 2003


The answer he gives to the grading question may be the "best" answer from an idealistic perspective, but the only thing it does is guarantee only one honest kid per year will do the right thing. Once everyone else figures out that the good deel will not go unpunished, they'll keep quiet.

Exactly! That's one of the most important lessons young impressionable people in school can learn. As for the one whose grade suffers, tough cookies. The greatest good for the greatest number has been served.

(I got six wrong but that wasn't one of them. I'm sure Cohen would be horrified by my rationale.)
posted by wobh at 8:41 PM on February 18, 2003


I don't know if this passes for ethical in other parts of the country, but here in Virginia, a man would get his ass kicked for engaging in some of the behavior that Cohen recommends here.

I say that we ask him if it's ethical to give him a good cock-punching. While he's thinking about it, we can go to town on that puppy and give it a good drubbing.
posted by waldo at 9:38 PM on February 18, 2003


The test-grading one is easy: you don't punish other people for your own fuckups. If I accidentally give a student too many points, merry Christmas -- that's my problem and my problem alone, not the student's.

The pregancy thing is likewise easy: it's none of their fucking business whether an interviewee is pregnant or not, and inquiring about that is generally not merely immoral but illegal. You don't lie and say that you're not, though. You just politely refuse to answer.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:44 PM on February 18, 2003


I got 8 wrong, and the only two that were ambiguous to me were the R-rated movie (I oppose age discrimination and to me denying someone admittance to a movie based on his age is equivalent to denying someone admission to a movie based on their race or sex; OTOH, it's a private establishment and nobody is making you go there, and lying in general is not the best way to handle these sorts of things; OTOH, I've been known to buy alcohol while underage, so I'm not in a position to criticize) and the Viagra question (keeping quiet is probably the decent thing to do, but people who cheat on their spouses are scum who don't deserve to live, much less decency).

But the umbrella.... IT'S A FUCKING UMBRELLA, for crying out loud. If you have spent so much money on an umbrella that it's an issue, you probably have enough money to buy another one.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:58 PM on February 18, 2003


1. Unless the store stole your umbrella, you suck it up. I mean, if I were in a jewelry store with my wife that was robbed, can I just take a similarly priced necklace from them? Of course fucking not. It's not there fault I got robbed, why should they pay?

2. If you lie to your employer about your ability or future ability to do work for them, you're not only fucking them over, you're fucking over the people in that office that will have to pick up the slack for you. To hell with that. You chose to stay pregnant, suffer the consequences. I hate it when people have children they can't afford just because their biology allows them to do so at the expense of the rest of us.

3. Criticizing someone's religious beliefs, no matter how sexist they may seem to you, makes you just as intolerant as they, but all the more insufferable. Keep your mouth closed and enjoy the meal, you ingrateful asshole of a houseguest.

4. The exam question shouldn't be seen as rewarding a student for honesty. I've taught before, and the unwritten rule is, if you screw up, that's your problem. Ex post facto grading is a no-no in my book. Also, the message you send is that honesty is a greater social good than, say, math skills.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:36 PM on February 18, 2003


A scrupulously pc online ethicist recommends a line of behaviour you don't agree with. His opinion is posted on a well-known community blog. Several reactions are considered. One of them is "I'd line up to punch his cock". The others are all perfectly acceptable. Which one would you choose?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:42 PM on February 18, 2003


Punching just the cock, while sparing the balls, provides the most balanced reaction. Furthermore, by lining up to punch the cock, one is assured to fit in with the rest of the online community, thus conforming to acceptable social standards.
posted by faustessa at 11:37 PM on February 18, 2003


Well, Miguel, it all depends on where you live, doesn't it?

I'm sure that in a large city, it would be perfectly acceptable to engage in cock punching, as it would seem to be an average day-to-day activity. My only argument would be the acceptability of taking the punchee's wallet to first pay for the damages to your manicure from punching, to pay for a doctor's examination to ensure you received no diseases from the punchee, and finally to pay for a quick bite to restore your strength from delivering the aforementioned punching.

Note to self - buy a cup before going to ethics seminar in New York...
posted by Samizdata at 11:38 PM on February 18, 2003


Faustessa -

But, by sparing testicular trauma, we risk discriminating against those with large fists...
posted by Samizdata at 11:41 PM on February 18, 2003


True; perhaps we could distribute a standard-size simulated fist to all citizens waiting in line.
posted by faustessa at 11:49 PM on February 18, 2003


I just had a variation of this umbrella thing happen a few weeks ago at a restaurant. I had a very common model umbrella, tossed it into the bucket, and then after dinner had absolutely no clue which one was mine since there were about 10 in the bucket that were exactly the same. After having a brief but agonizing moral debate over what to do, I decided to take one, figuring that no one else would be able to tell them apart either. I felt guilty afterwards though, so I'm glad I can now cite a real live ethicist to back up my decision.

Seriously though, the umbrella thing really strikes me as a question of culture rather than ethics. If it's commonly understood in NYC that you can take someone else's umbrella if yours is missing, then you're tacitly agreeing to this arrangement by tossing your umbrella in the bucket in the first place. If you don't want to participate, take your umbrella to the table with you. As long as there aren't a lot of bad apples, it is actually a more efficient system since everyone winds up with an umbrella at the end of the night. Under the dominant view in this thread, the restaurant winds up with an awful lot of umbrellas at the end of the night.
posted by boltman at 12:07 AM on February 19, 2003


The Metafilter Ethical Compass
posted by Stan Chin at 2:33 AM on February 19, 2003


cavil

Thanks for that word, madamjujujive. Made the whole thread worthwhile.
posted by walrus at 4:32 AM on February 19, 2003


I disagreed with Cohen on four. Two of the questions I agonized over; the rest I answered pretty quickly. One was the grading question. I eventually answered that I would mark the student down, but the more I think about it the more I'm leaning the other way. Funny, I was a TA for three semesters and this never happened. I like to think it was because I was careful in grading in the first place.

The other one I agonized over was the movie theater question. In this case, my libertarian-property-rights instincts (the theater owner gets to make the rules in his theater) came into conflict with my libertarian-free-speech instincts. I eventually came down on the free speech side, although I was still wrong according to Cohen, since the free speech argument suggests you should sneak in even if your parents don't approve, and I chose accordingly.

Didn't have a problem with the ticket buying. We're abiding by the theater's rule that you can only purchase two tickets per person, so I don't see any problem with purchasing the extra tickets and pocketing $100. The theater's rule doesn't say anything about who you can buy tickets for.

And count me in with those who think Cohen's an umbrella thief.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:32 AM on February 19, 2003


MetaFilter: we (don't) have umbrellas.
posted by yhbc at 7:50 AM on February 19, 2003


As far as the pregnancy question goes, think of it this way. It's illegal to refuse to hire someone on the basis of their pregnancy. Therefore, disclosing the information to your potential employer is pointless, since there is nothing that they can do with the information except break the law. In effect, by not disclosing your pregnancy, you save them from the temptation of engaging in an illegal and immoral behavior.

Unless, of course, you think that civil rights laws are themselves immoral, in which case I suppose you could argue that disclosing your pregnancy and facilitating discrimination against yourself is some kind of bizarre self-martyrdom for the cause of liberty.
posted by boltman at 8:06 AM on February 19, 2003


miguel, where you in Antwerp this past weekend?
posted by clavdivs at 8:31 AM on February 19, 2003


If you lie to your employer about your ability or future ability to do work for them...

The question doesn't say anything about lying to your future employer. It's only about telling or not telling them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:48 AM on February 19, 2003


miguel, where you in Antwerp this past weekend?

Shucks, clavdivs - your questions could make anyone sound interesting! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2003


D. None of the above, to about half of these.

Some justification for the "right" answers would have been nice.

Staying the hell out of New York sounds nicer though :)
posted by Foosnark at 10:01 AM on February 19, 2003


Foosnark: there's a link to a justification of all the answers.
posted by ODiV at 1:41 PM on February 19, 2003


On the theater question, I take a different approach. I go see R rated movies so that I don't have to listen to a bunch of noisy teenagers talking to each other during the movie. So by slipping into the theater, you are robbing me of my paid right to avoid your presence.
posted by Xoc at 4:20 PM on February 19, 2003


It seems those of you who mentioned New York as a main factor in deciding what is ethical have some support from Randy Cohen, who kindly (and gamely) sent me this comment after I'd sent him this discussion. Note also the last sentence, which I'm afraid I missed, thereby doing the man an injustice, for which I apologize:

"It may be that this is a city-specific question. Here in New York, the likeliest scenario for the missing umbrella is an accidental exchange, not a theft. My solution is not just an honorable one, I'd argue, but keeps everybody dry. Working out how to respond to a situation does demand some understanding of the culture in which it occurs. In other cities, theft may be the best interpretation -- but please note that I wrote that if you believe your umbrella has been stolen, you can't simply steal someone else's."
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:52 PM on February 19, 2003


Is he game for a good round of cock-punching Miguel? We've got quite a line here.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:01 PM on February 19, 2003


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