Ethical debate is at the heart of most matters. If we didn’t engage in it ourselves or with others, the world would be a very different place. Write and wrong are instilled in us from childhood, but somehow it misses some people. It is up to society and religion to set straight those who have gone astray. Therefore, classes in school that treat ethics as a current affair are helping move mankind forward in the right direction. My class loves to tackle even the tough questions such as cloning human beings and engineering food that seems to be artificial and abnormal, but which helps to feed the world. Then there are all sorts of minor concerns that merit an ethical onceover.

Students learn to look at both sides of an issue and to fairly weigh the pros and cons. It is more than a mere exercise. They take what they learn to the real world to help them determine their position on various topics. When it comes to government, chemical pollution, arming one’s country and engaging in warfare, there are all sorts of problems. In the west, we feel superior most of the time and feel that we are in the know. What do you think? This is a big question in itself. Once you decide where you stand, you can go on to discuss world concerns and the obligations of the US toward solving them. Are we the policeman and watchdog for everyone?

After a healthy round of tough issues, the class can jump down a rung or two to some minor everyday problems. One student (we take turns) brought to the fore a squabble he was having with his landlord. It came down to the fine print in the lease, but when the evidence isn’t there, how do you decide the renter’s obligations versus those of the dwelling owner. There are key areas to consider such as plumbing repair, light bulb replacement, providing Home Water Health and/or filters, replacing old appliances, and upgrading the carpet. You may come to an agreement on one or two things to find yourself at considerable odds over the others.

The student was locking horns with his landlord over a simple kitchen faucet water filtering system. He felt that an apartment labelled “luxury” demanded such an item. He felt that it was the same for a new stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It is all a kitchen package that should be in place when you first move in. Landlords generally replace the flooring and paint so there is no argument there. He had it out with his building owner about the filtration system and held back his rent for one month. The class says that coercion is never a good tactic. It is better to offer the landlord basic pros and cons. A filtration system is not that expensive and adds value to the property. Future tenants will appreciate having one installed. Good relations with a landlord may affect future rent increases. Think the issue through clearly before you make yourself heard.