liability and morality

Subject: liability and morality
From: DAVID IBBETSON <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 22:31:40 -0400

Tim Altom asks "In short, are we responsible to the world at large, or only
to our
employers? And if there is a middle ground, what's the degree one way or the
I'm a British Subject, A "Citizen of the UK and Colonies, and a Canadian

As a Citizen of the UK, &c. my first duty is to the Queen of England
As a Canadian Citizen my first duty is to the Queen of Canada.

I think Tim's first duty is to the President and Constitution of the USA

In practice that means, if we know of criminal or treasonable activities we
have a duty to disclose them.

Civil naughtinesses are much more difficult. If a customer asks whether our
hedge cutters are safe for use by backward 15-year olds we must answer
honestly but, in the absence of positive law, if he doesn't ask we aren't
required to tell him. As a British judge said: "If your fish stinks you are
not compelled to cry 'stinking fish', but you must not cry 'fresh fish' ".

I suspect that at the next hot coffee case the judge will say that the
preceding one was "decided on its facts", which is the judicial way of
saying "however similar it looks I'm not going to treat it as a precedent".

David 9the non-judicial idiot) Ibbetson
David Ibbetson ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com
133 Wilton Street #506
Toronto, Ontario Phone (416) 363-6692
Canada M5A 4A4 Fax (416) 363-4987

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