Trying to think out the ethics involved here ...
April 17, 2008 8:34 AM Subscribe
I have an ethical or logical quandary that I'm trying to puzzle out.
posted by WCityMike to Religion & Philosophy (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I became an Eagle Scout in 1993. Recently, my membership in the National Eagle Scout Association came up for renewal; I declined to renew my membership due to the Scouts' stance on homosexuality, agnostics, and atheists. I feel that their positions are unethical in that they advocate discrimination and intrude into areas of people's private lives which have no relevance to Scouting.
However, unlike some Eagle Scouts, I declined to send in my Eagle Scout Award to national headquarters as a protest. I declined to do so because I feel that I earned that award by virtue of a lot of hard work over the course of my childhood and adolescence, and I won't deny myself an award I rightfully earned. (Furthermore, I did this work over years of service in which Scouting as a whole was nowhere near as neoconservative as they are nowadays.)
At the risk of sounding like a nerd, for shorthand, let's say that my feelings about Scouts are "principle x". And the caveat — that I won't deny myself the benefits of being an Eagle Scout — is "caveat y".
Now, I'm wondering whether or not to take "action z". Do you know how your college's alumni department got in touch with you a few years after you graduated, offering you the chance to list yourself in, and buy, a national directory of alumni, ostensibly one you could use to get back in touch with people, and for business networking purposes?
Scouting is now doing that with Eagle Scouts, and given the number of Eagle Scouts alive, that's going to be one huge directory — presumably a very useful one, given the number of Eagle Scouts alive.
I am trying to decide whether listing myself in the directory, and ordering a copy, is ethically consistent. On one hand, it breaks x because I'm giving money to them by virtue of purchasing the directory. I'm uneased by that.
On the other hand, the use of this directory for general networking could be invaluable, and thus, that caveat y comes into effect: this directory would definitely be a very useful tool for networking, and thus could easily be considered a benefit of having reached Eagle.
Given principle x, and given caveat y to principle x, is action z morally consistent with x and y? Or is it more moral to not participate in the directory?
(I know that speaking solely in a practical sense, whether or not NESA gets a few bucks from me as a trickledown makes little practical difference to them. I'm trying to consider the underlying principles involved, though.)
If you feel differently than I do about either Scouting, their positions, or how I reacted to those positions, I respect your right to feel differently, but that's not my question, and I prefer this thread not run aground on that.