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Ethics scenario

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iflyboats
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Suppose that one works for a company that creates and maintains websites for its clients. Suppose that the company's clientele include some of the most vile talk radio hosts and medial pundits in America and that part of your job includes maintaining a website for someone like Keith Olberman, Al Sharpton or Ann Coulter. Must this person quit his job?

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They should weigh the good against the bad, assuming some of their duties support sites they agree with.

The sites could be said to have esthetical value in themselves regardless of message.

The arguements of the people you mentioned are self defeating so giving them a clear, understandable presentation could do them more harm than good.

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I think the correct answer is that you should prefer to work in a quarry.
Why? I don't think the OP has provided enough information to come to this conclusion. It is unclear if the service/product that he provides has a serious impact on the popularity or message of these sites.
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If you're building someone's website, you're helping to propagate his ideas. What factors would come into play in determining whether you should keep the job? For example, if the company builds websites for both a good person and a bad person, does the positive influence help negate the negative influence?

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What factors would come into play in determining whether you should keep the job?

One that I didn't mention is comparing the value you get out of the existing job to other options you have available. Let's say, ideally, you want to build websites with enough success to be able to pick your own clients. If that ideal isn't satisfied, and some clients' use of the sites is destructive to your values but not necessarily criminal, you have to decide based on your value hierarchy whether you could avoid or negate that problem by working for another company or changing fields. If you're like me and don't mind manual labor, quarrying can make for a good living.

For example, if the company builds websites for both a good person and a bad person, does the positive influence help negate the negative influence?

If your career does not result in a net product of value which you can point to with pride, something is wrong. I doubt anyone but you has enough context to know whether that's the case. Since I assume you don't have to sign a statement of endorsement of the ideas of your clients at the bottom of their websites, and that you are not aiding them in commiting any crimes by doing your job, the only concern should be your own pride in the sum total of what your work goes into. To that extent, the good cancels out the bad. If the standard of employment was that none of your efforts could end up being used by others to destructive ends, even a quarry worker would have to check up on which buildings' foundations his work contributes to and would have to strike if one of them were Keith Olberman's new studio.

Some of the people you work for are themselves working toward the day when your job becomes impossible, but the same people shop at every grocery store, fill up at every gas station, watch every movie, etcetera. They can't live without you, and you can't get away from them while remaining in a division of labor society, but you can make it clear that you oppose their agenda. Plus, when net neutrality kicks in, freedom of speech is gone, and we all retreat to the bomb shelters it would be nice to have someone on the inside. :ninja:

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If you're building someone's website, you're helping to propagate his ideas.
If you sell him a great sandwich at a good price, allowing him to keep a few extra cents of his money, that might help him too. If you sell him web-hosting that might help him too. There's a point at which the difference between what you provide him and what he could get from the next best provider does not make a difference to those things that are truly critical to his success. I'm not saying that what you provide is not critical to the success of these folk; rather, I said that it was unclear if it was. From the description fo it being a web-site, my guess is that it is non-critical, but if you judge that it is... then, go with that judgement, since you know all the facts and can judge this best.

What factors would come into play in determining whether you should keep the job? For example, if the company builds websites for both a good person and a bad person, does the positive influence help negate the negative influence?
Another factor would be: the alternatives available to you.

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