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Ethics vs Morals [SPLIT]: contains some House spoilers
I think what everyone is forgetting here is that for lawyers, doctors - and hell, even fucking priests - the ethics of their profession supersede everything else. Yes, they are above personal morality. And yes, you'll lose your license (or get censured or punished or whatever) if you "do the objectively right thing" but break the vows of your profession. It's important. It's a big deal - for everyone. Every person needs to know that their lawyer will never tell any of your secrets, no matter how horrible. Anything else compromises the integrity of the profession. And if you can't handle that, you have no fucking business being a lawyer.
Same with being a doctor.
You don't kill your patients. Ever. It sunders the profession, it destroys his credibility - and the credibility of all doctors - and Chase should be thrown in prison for it. And that's that.
no profession supersedes basic morality. You can argue that it wasn't a moral action, but you can't argue that because my job is this, that you have to act immorally. That is a ridiculous argument.
Yes, yes you can. That's the point. That's why the ethics are so powerful. A priest who broke the seal of confession to turn in a murderer would get thrown out (well maybe, kinda). A lawyer who broke his confidentiality and turned in his own client would get disbarred or worse. A doctor who
MURDERS HIS OWN PATIENT (who is a murderer)
should get his license revoked and then should go to jail.
And if you can't handle that, don't become a lawyer, priest, or doctor. Those ethical rules are there for a reason.
There are proper channels to handle these things. Being a vigilante and breaking your professional ethical obligations - which, yes, supersede everyday "normal person" ethical obligations - is always bad.
No because A- there are limits on confidentiality and B- what Law and Order says about professional ethics is not what real life says about them. If a person says he is going to commit a crime, confidentiality does not apply for priests, lawyers or doctors for instance. Professional codes of ethics don't overrule laws.
Additionally, the Hippocratic Oath that includes "do no harm" is mythical. The idea that a promise one makes as part of one's profession - and many doctors never take that oath - supersedes any and all other ethical obligations is nonsensical. If one promises a course of action that is unethical, the promise does not make the action ethical. If I promised to curb stomp babies as part of my Nazi Stormtrooper Code of Evil that doesn't make it ethical, because the greater demands of society override any lesser demands. Killing a patient is unethical normally not because of a professional oath but because killing a person is unethical under normal circumstances. And while promising a course of action that is ethically neutral and not following through can introduce an unethical characteristic to an action, if society demands actions contrary to your professional code then it wins out.
Now if you want to argue that the dictator's actions were insufficiently imminent, that's a reasonable objection. But I would suggest that the dictator's protection under subsequent potential circumstances and the gravity of his planned and prepared violence make the violence effectively imminent.