Aaron E. Silvers
IMHO… ethics are culturally defined over time, balanced (or perhaps given drag) by history.
I think the challenge we have today is that we are more pervasively aware of subcultures and (perhaps) “derivative” ethics than we’ve been able to acknowledge (or been forced to acknowledge) in the past. This is an affordance of the revolution in communication technologies: not only can we see and talk to each other, anytime — we are seeing way more of each other, all of each other, almost all the time. Technology has allowed us to overcome scarcity in terms of distance, time and the scale of interpersonal communications. We have little choice but to be presented with stuff we don’t like because we’re always on.
To me that pervasiveness isn’t the ethical issue. How we deal with the beliefs and practices we don’t agree with is. I think 40-50 years ago, ignorance was somewhat blissful because you could go your whole life and surround yourself only with a homogenous community and only rarely be exposed to something foreign. That had its negative affordances, too — many of which are emerging at the same time there’s this communications evolution which amplifies that experience.
Do our ethics change, or perhaps is there no common set of ethics that we can universally adopt? Can we learn to tolerate and recognize the cultural/ethical differences in others? That’s not something currently covered in most everyone’s mandatory diversity training. ; )