The Problem: The Case of
Tracking the Terrorists
A bill has just been introduced in the Legislature, with wide bi-partisan support, that would create a database for creating a “network” of information by which to track non-documented workers and potential terrorists. The information that would be accessed includes information from driver’s licenses, and requests for government services. In addition, the legislation would require all manufacturers of software to embed a code in their product which would allow tracking of internet use as well as sales on the computer. No notice would be given to the consumer other than the general notice that the measure has become law.
Please complete each section of this worksheet. Some people find that writing the answers out on another page and then “cutting and pasting” them into the worksheet lets you think through the problem better.
If you only have time to do part of this worksheet, click the “save work” button at the bottom of this page. At any later time, you can then return to this worksheet and continue.
Top of Form
If we consider each of the lenses a pane in a window which gives us a balanced view of the problem, the final process combines all four of the lenses as we balance among the four core values of our community. After working through each of the lenses individually, you can now see how to put the pieces together in a whole. The process requires that you diligently ask the core questions over and over as you analyze problems that come to you.
All four lenses are needed. In the question about what comes first, rights and justice or results and virtue, the answer is – it doesn’t matter. If you prefer to start with rights and justices, your horizons can be expanded as you dream of possibilities with those who focus on results and reputation. If you start with imagining what is possible, those dreams need to be disciplined by the constraints of rights and justice. As you go through all four lenses, you can calibrate your response and assure that you have considered all facets of the problem.
For the final round, we will work through the lenses in the order in which they were presented: (1) Rights/Responsibility Lens; (2) Results Lens; (3) Relationship Lens; (4) Reputation Lens.
We begin by setting the context. Please address the following questions:
Who is the ethical actor? Who or what group will be taking the action in this particular problem?
Who are the stakeholders? Who are those people and/or groups to which we owe a duty? What are the express and implied agreements that you have with each of the constituents?
What is the context and assumptions? What are the facts that need to be considered? In framing the context, what assumptions as to competing rights and responsibilities are present?
When you have completed
all sections of this worksheet, please click the “continue” button
below. This action will save your answers and advance you to the next worksheet
in this assignment.
If you wish to save your current work and then return to this worksheet at a later time, click the “save work” button below. Please note that this action will truncate any response that exceeds the 4,000 character limit.
Now we identify the issue, as well as the elements in tension. Please address the following questions:
What is the very specific issue to be resolved? At this stage the person making the decision states the issue in the form of a question to be answered. The person making the decision must make sure the question is an ethical question, not a technical question about how to do a job or a matter of personal preference.
What are the values/virtues in tension? Make a preliminary identification of the values/virtues in tension. What are the tensions in the right treatment of people? What are the tensions in the right use of property … both individual rights and community rights (such as roads and parks)? What are the tensions concerning the right use of power… how have those who do not have access to information, resources, or autonomy been protected?
Preserving Rights and
Compare and contrast at least two options, preferably three. Choose one option which you intuitively believe is the right answer and then choose another with which you disagree or which is a close second. As you work through the four lenses, you will find words to support your first choice or discover that another option is in fact preferable.
After brainstorming with the leadership team, you have identified four options:
Lobby against the bill.
Lobby for the bill.
Provide information and let your employees choose whether or not to lobby.
In three to four coherent paragraphs, compare and contrast your options using the Rights/Responsibility Lens. In the process, consider the following questions:
Motive: What are the reasons that the ethical agent would choose these options?
Universalizability: Can everyone use these reasons for acting in choosing what to do?
Reversibility: Am I willing to have someone else use either of these reasons how they treat me (reversibility)?
Prior Agreements: Am I treating people the way they have freely consented to be treated? Am I treating them as means to my ends or with dignity, as ends in themselves?
General Expectations: How does this option meet the general expectations of duties in our community?
2.The Greatest Good
In three to four coherent paragraphs, compare and contrast your options using the Results Lens. In the process, consider the following questions:
Influence Factor: Given that different stakeholder groups are affected in different proportion, determine the impact that the decision will have on various groups?
Criteria for Happiness: What are the criteria for happiness for the various stakeholders? In considering the criteria, determine what options may be “deal breakers” and what factors might be “tipping points.”
Units of Happiness: How many “utils” of happiness do each option provide to each stakeholder?
Greatest Good: Determine which option creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
In three to four coherent paragraphs, compare and contrast your options using the Relationship Lens. In the process, consider the following questions:
Basic Liberties: What are the basic liberties to which each person is entitled? These liberties include right to speech and right to notice.
Just Savings Principle: Which option best assures that our resources will be available for next generations?
Equal Opportunity for Success: How well does each option assure that social and economic inequalities are arranged so that all constituents have an equal opportunity for success?
Reflective Equilibrium: Using the tool of reflective equilibrium, which option gives the best advantage to the least advantaged without unduly burdening those who are the most advantaged? .ting people the way they have freely consented to be treated? Am I treating them as means to my ends or with dignity, as ends in themselves?
Ecology of Care: Which option best contributes to an ecology of care? Which option best meets the requirement for building a strong community and strong institutions?
4.The Virtuous Option
In three to four coherent paragraphs, compare and contrast your options using the Reputation Lens. In the process, consider the following questions:
Components of the Practice: Consider the (a) standards of excellence, (b) rules that must be follows, (c) internal goods achieved, and (d) external goods achieved by the ethical actor in their role.
Expectations of the Community: What do the stakeholders expect of an “excellent” person in the decision-maker’s role?
Core Virtues: Considering your options, which one best meets the requirements of the core virtues: integrity, courage, justice, and civility?
Unity of Life: Now, reflecting on the options, which one best meets the ethical actor’s requirements for unity of life? Which on best exemplifies the standards of a life as a whole?
Core Benefits: Which option is most consistent with the ethical actor’s core beliefs? Which option has the potential to energize and transform both the ethical actor and the community?
Choose an Option
Select one option to implement within your Division:
|Lobby against the bill.|
|Lobby for the bill.|
|Provide information and let your employees choose whether or not to lobby.|
Explain Your Decision
Now, write an inter-office memo which explains your decision to your colleagues. As you write the inter-office memo, please consider your audience. The purpose of the memo is to inform your colleagues of your decision and the reasons for your choice. The memo should be between 400-600 words long. Write the memo so that other team members can see the ethical problem, know what your decision was, and understand the rationale for your decision.
In a coherent paragraph or two indicate how you have corrected for personal bias and your own blind spots – hubris – and have attended to the common good:
- Discuss whether or not the ethical analysis made sense. Did you like the result? What were the problems with the process? What are the sticking points?
- Did you like the results? Do you get a sense that you would follow these results in real life? Why or why not?
- What insights do you have about this problem that you would like to share with others? What information would you appreciate from them?
- How would adding the world of emotion and conscience help?
- Consider the spiritual perspective – spirituality being defined as that which gives life and work meaning and purpose. As you begin to see yourself in light of the community, how can you (and others in the organization) begin to discipline your desires so you can live fully in the present with faith and trust, avoiding self-righteousness and self-deception?