The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: morals

Admiral Hall’s Ethics

I found the first question quite interesting as it related to a few topics that I discussed in my Ethics class of junior year. When is something morally justifiable? And, is a bad deed moral if it leads to the greater good? Obviously Admiral William Hall would argue that not telling President Woodrow Wilson about the United States’ potential danger in order to pull the wool over Germany’s eyes was ethical. He was focused on the greater good. This most closely follows consequentialism; the idea that the morality of an action lies in the consequences it bears. I have always disagreed with the ideas of consequentialism. To be completely frank, I think they are a bit ridiculous.

The results of an action are extremely important in determining the morality of the deed, however the results are not everything. An action can, in itself, be ethical or unethical. Certain things, at least in my opinion, are never up for debate. For instance murder is always unethical. Even if something good came from murder, the action would never be moral. Who are we to decide the value of a life? William Hall clearly had no issue valuing human lives. He saw– what could have been– death and destruction and found that potential outcome of his actions to outweigh the more probable consequences. In the end, his decision paid off. However, the decision he made, although great, will never be ethical. 


Parents Can Be Friends

“I do not believe teenagers ‘need’ privacy—not when it comes to the Internet. I track everything my kids do online. I search their bedrooms too. I’m the parent—I’m not their friend.” -Christina

In my honest opinion, this statement is over the top. The fact that she goes that far to invade all forms of privacy of her kids has clear implications that she has an extreme lack of distrust between her and her kids. I understand that she is trying to be a “good” parent by protecting her kids from the unknown evil. It is also okay to state an opinion like this, but what I believe Christina is not recognizing is that this blatant treatment of her kids has a real potential to drive her kids to go even further to hide things from her.

As technology evolves, and as her kids get older and smarter, they will eventually find ways to maintain privacy on new platforms and the real world in general. She will have to deal with the fact that she wasted so much time and energy by not trusting her kids to be morally sound enough to make right decisions. This begs the question, why would you go so far, when you could have instilled in your kids the morals to the degree that you wanted them to have? She can do this, and still not be a “dictator” of her kids social media or their lives. It makes sense that she is not a friend of her kids. If my mother treated me like this, I would not want to be her friend either.


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