-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Thu, 28 Dec 2000 12:26:08 -0800

> >> One of my Japanese friends has a fansub of Sabrina the Teenage Witch
> >> (English dialog with Japanese text). He got it before it was released
> >> there. So, they're apparently doing this in Japan too.
> >
> >They're doing it everwhere. That doesn't make it legal, moral, ethical or
> >right.
> Well, I agree with most of what you've said up till here, but I have to take
> slight exception to this comment...it may not be LEGAL to distribute
> fansubs, but ethics and morals differ from person to person.

I agree that morality varies from person to person and culture to culture, but I
think that ethics, while based on moral duty and obligation, is as codified as
law, which is also based on moral authority. Morals are usually dictated by
cultural beliefs concerning right and wrong, while ethics are based less on
moral dictates than by rational and reasoned theories of what is good or bad for
both the individual and the community.

It is possible for a given practice to be morally sound but illegal and
unethical -- voluntary human sacrifice, for example. Conversely, some practices
may be ethical but illegal and immoral -- voluntary euthanasia comes to mind
here, although that's now legal in some places. You can also be on good moral
and ethical ground and still be illegal -- using marijuana medicinally or peyote
as a religious ritual.

When I was in the Air Force, I had the legal and moral obligation to kill other
people in the line of duty -- a duty which I consider to be ethically sound, as
there are strict rules of engagement and specific regulations regarding when,
where, to whom and to what degree deadly force may be applied. There is also
accountability, a key element of both law and ethics that is absent from
morality, which is notoriously subjective and, as you note, variable.

But my point still stands: just because "everyone does it" does not make a
practice legal, moral. ethical or right. The practice itself must be judged in
that regard, not the number of people who enact or condone it.

Sounds like the kind of thing you see all through the Gundam saga, doesn't it?


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