Sports & Entertainment
Professions & Institutions
Easy Calls

Follow Us on

Special Commentary
An Important Announcement
from ProEthics
George Washington’s Ethics Primer

Obama and the Peace Prize

There are several ethical issues raised by the stunning announcement that President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. More, perhaps, were raised by the reactions to it.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a cast member in a Hollywood movie of dubious quality. Personally, you think the director is in over his head and that the movie is an empty, pompous failure. To your amazement, however, critics like the film. It is a surprise winner at an international film festival, and the director wins the “Master Film-maker” prize. Are you outraged, or pleasantly surprised? Do you congratulate the director for the honor, or do you tell him he is an undeserving fraud? Do you feel pride for your own connection to the award—you were in the cast, after all—or do you feel resentment? I would think the answers to all these questions are obvious. The civil, fair, respectful and kind response, the Golden Rule response, is to feel pride because your leader and colleague has been recognized for an enterprise in which you played a role. You should offer congratulations, and mean it. Whatever doubts you may harbor about the judgment of the award-giving panel should remain unexplored and unexpressed until another day.

This is exactly the situation that Americans faced with Obama’s honor

» Read this commentary »

Rule Book

Ethical Analysis Toolkit: Definitions, Principles and Concepts

A large percentage of ethics discussions break down over disputes over definitions and the lack of common terms and concepts. This section contains some useful tools to permit analysis, discussion, and argument to go forward, and to provide a quick reference for readers when one or more of these appear in the Ethics Scoreboard.

Go to the Ethical Analysis Toolkit »

The Purposes and Goals of
The Ethics Scoreboard

From Jack Marshall, President, ProEthics The Ethics Scoreboard exists because, to be blunt, national media, academia, law, the arts, government, and the church have been timid, garbled, and worst of all, boring in their efforts (such as they are) to apply our society’s ethical standards and principles to the daily events that bombard us. The results of this failure are apparent: a proliferation of ethics-related incidents, a lack of coherent discussion regarding them, and in too many cases, public apathy.

The Ethics Scoreboard intends to counter this environment by doing four things:

  • Providing some simple tools for ethical analysis.
  • Identifying current events and issues that raise important ethical issues
  • Using those tools to make a straight-forward assessment of these
  • Talking about them.

This site will not attempt to be exhaustive, but will focus on raising ethical issues and observations that are not appearing elsewhere.

Ethics Presentations If your company, association, organization, club or school is interested in hosting an entertaining, provocative and interactive presentation by Mr. Marshall on current ethics issues, call 1-703-548-5229. We are booking now through the rest of 2009, and into 2010.

Beginning November 1, the regular ethics commentary that has appeared on The Ethics Scoreboard since 2004 will be published instead on the newly launched blog, Ethics Alarms. The new site’s URL: The increasing interest in ethics, along with the large volume of important ethical issues raised by current events, have made it necessary to move to a blog format, where content can be added quickly, daily, and hourly if necessary.

Much of the content will remain the same, including the Ethics Heroes and Dunces, and Unethical websites, But the new format will allow for shorter commentary on a daily basis to accompany the longer essays that have been a staple of The Scoreboard. The format will also encourage more comments from readers, one area in which the Scoreboard, despite over a thousand visitors a day, was consistently lacking.

The Ethics Scoreboard will remain as a resource and an archive. There are nearly 2000 articles here, and some will be revisited on Ethics Alarms. I want to thank the Scoreboard’s many loyal readers and fans, who have kept a steady stream of arguments, kudos, criticism and proof-reading notes coming to my mailbox. I hope you all follow me to Ethics Alarms, and bring some new visitors as well. There is a lot to talk about and think about on the topic of ethics. I look forward to doing both with you.

Jack Marshall,
President, ProEthics
Quick Takes on
Current Events
~ Wilson, Williams, West & Jordan
~ Nancy Pelosi

PLEASE NOTE: All new commentary will appear on the Ethics Alarms blog


Obama and the Peace Prize


Bitcoin Era Betrug


Bank of America and the Thumbless Customer


George Washington’s Ethics Primer


Fairness Conundrums: the Pitcher, the Blogger, and the Runner


Fairness and the 100 Million Dollar Man


The Price Change Dilemma


The Ethics of Sarah Palin, Part Two 


Obama, YouTube, Health Reform and Honest Abe


Firing the Hero


Make Way for Goslings


The Case of the Locker Librarian


Of Nader and the Ethics of Terry McAuliffe

» Read more commentary »

Ethics Heroes
Dunce’s Corner

Sept 09
Jim Greer

August 09
Clark Hoyt
LuPone and McGraw

Oct 09
Tony Kornheiser

Sept 09
The Disney Corporation

Unethical/Ethical Website of the Month

Suggest an item for the Scoreboard

Please send suggestions regarding issues, news stories, unethical web sites and other topics for discussion on The Ethics Scoreboard to ProEthics President

A long time ago, while studying the life of George Washington for my college thesis (I guess I didn’t have to say that this was a long time ago), I read that he memorized a published list of 110 rules of comportment and proper social conduct, and scrupulously worked to follow them for his whole life. At the time, I tried to track down the list, but couldn’t, at least not without dropping out of school or getting a research grant. Once the computer age arrived, I tried to find a full version of the list on-line, also without success. At some point, I stopped looking.

Naturally, that’s about when the list became available. In 2003, it seems, Richard Brookhiser published a book about Washington’s rules and how they formed his character and influenced his career. The list ended up, finally, on the web in several places, and I was able to read it. I have attached it below. Even though it is about almost 400 years old, most of the rules are still valid. Some of those that are not, are funny. And some of the rules that are almost universally ignored today, I think, would be welcome if they somehow gained currency again. Not just regular currency, but also cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Furthermore, cryptocurrency is being a new trendsetter in allowing people to profit from crypto trading. In a way to promote it, brokers like eToro enable users to buy, trade, and invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and more. Although many UK brokers no longer offer crypto, eToro is one of the few brokers that offer cryptocurrencies. See etoro review UK learn more about it.

» Read this commentary »

The Global Warming Series
The David Manning Liars of the Month

The fictional David Manning, a film critic invented by the Sony Corporation, stands for the dubious proposition that as long as your self-serving lie is in a trivial arena (usually entertainment) where dishonesty and misrepresentation are commonplace, or is a lie that nobody believes, it isn’t reprehensible. All intentional public deceptions do harm, however, so The Ethics Scoreboard regularly recognizes The David Manning Liars of the Month, and urges the public to make them come clean…

Liars for September 09:

Liars for July 09:


“The Essential Words and Writings of Clarence Darrow”

Edited and with an Introduction by Edward J.Larson and Jack Marshall The courtroom oratory, essays and speeches of America’s greatest lawyer raise fascinating ethical and social issues, while giving us a window into one of the most provocative minds the nation ever produced. Buy “The Essential Words and Writings of Clarence Darrow” book at:

The Ethics Scoreboard is a project of ProEthics, Ltd., a training and consulting firm with a unique approach to the study of professional ethics.
  © 2009 Jack Marshall & ProEthics, Ltd 
Designed by Right Brain Computing