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Make an Ethical Difference by Mark Pastin

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Chapter NineEthics and Laws

“The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children.”

—Euripedes (Phrixius, fragment 970)

It is often said that many of today’s adults, especially so-called baby boomers, formed their ethics in the 1960s and early 1970s. When people say this, they are probably thinking of a defective ethical orientation that originated in this period with echoes continuing to this day. I suppose they are thinking of “loose” sexual mores (“free love”), a permissive attitude towards recreational drugs (“turn on, tune in, drop out”), and a rejection of authority (“off the pigs”). I was a teenager during much of this period and don’t quite remember it that way, which probably means that I was an outsider. Whatever the truth about ...

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