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Ethics 1, Question 4

Describe several reasons why an individual would strive to "do the right thing"? (100 words minimum)

Some people decide to do what is "right" (and when we use the word "right" here, we mean "right in the estimation of the person doing it") based on religious persuasion, some on social norms, some on laws and codes, and some on their own internal compass. To some extent, each of these factors is likely to be present, but they'll be different for each person, because each person learns the rules of life a bit differently, and also learns different ways of reacting to those rules.

Most likely, though, people will decide to do what is "right" based on what benefits them, whether it benefits them personally, or benefits a class of society that they identify with, or benefits the wider world in a way that the world is now a better place for them (or their children) to live in. An example of each of these benefits from my own life is below:

  1. Benefits them directly – I started a Grove in Columbus 7 years ago so that I would not have to make the long trek to Dayton. I was hoping to find enough interest in this city to have a moderate-sided Grove, and it has turned out that there really was enough interest for that: we're now one of the largest Groves in ADF. By doing this to benefit myself, it turned out that I benefitted others in ways I never dreamed could be possible.
  2. Benefits people like them – At Trillium this year, I had a conversation with Art, the ADF Members Advocate. We started a process of writing thank-you cards to leadership within ADF. . . something that benefits people like me (ADF Leadership) through encouragement, as well as myself, as people who feel appreciated are far more likely to promote a good working relationship with others in that group.
  3. Benefits the world – When I had the chance to participate in protests in favor of gay marriage after the Prop 8 vote in California, I got involved. Here, it was the right thing to do, not because I would benefit directly (as I would not benefit from a legalization of gay marriage), but I felt that the world would be a better place with marriage equality.


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