IGE's commentaries, generally written by President & CEO Anthony
J. Gray, offer an ethical perspective on current events. Ranging from
short-form, quick-hit summaries of the ethical dynamics behind the headlines
to exhaustive examinations of systemic issues, the form and structure
of our commentaries may vary, but they are always tailored to the issue at hand.
November 27, 2017
It is undoubtedly the role of our elected officials to represent the interests
of constituents, but that duty does have limits. What those limits are,
however, can raise some pressing ethical questions. There is certainly
not a unilateral obligation to do whatever the majority may desire—the
exercise of independent judgment is fundamental to a representative democracy.
November 3, 2017
Everyone knows that a President has the power to pardon, which serves as
a check on the Judicial branch. While there are certainly limits to this
power, the President historically has been granted wide discretion in
its use. It has been used for many different reasons and, as shown by
Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon, may not even require a conviction
to be exercised. But what are its limits? In light of Special Counsel
Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election, this question
has become more pressing.
October 17, 2016
Colin Kaepernick made national news in the preseason when, to publicly
protest the shooting of young African-American men by police, he remained
seated during the national anthem. The controversy that erupted has continued
to this day, evolving weekly before becoming the cultural phenomenon known
as the anthem protest. Criticism of the anthem protest was immediate,
and loud, and has continued without pause. Although critics raise various
objections, a certain pattern has emerged: instead of addressing the substance
of the protests, they have remained largely focused on the techniques.
August 4, 2016
It is difficult to imagine a more perfect disaster than the emerging realities
of the Rio games. I’d originally intended to focus solely on the
Zika virus, which itself could potentially blow up into a global pandemic,
but the past few weeks have made it clear that the risk of Zika is not
the most severe concern facing these Olympics. The broad categories of
known issues are unique in their scope and severity, but they’re
the sorts of problems you get when developing countries host major international
events: pollution, safety concerns, governmental chaos, cost overruns,
facility issues, and the like. What makes Rio unique, however, is that
Rio's got them all.
March 22, 2016
I’ve been wanting to write a piece on the heroin epidemic for some
time now. But what could I say that has not already been said? The issue
has been discussed at great length, its more compelling aspects given
longform treatment in some of our nation’s most prestigious journals—The
Atlantic, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker—while thousands of shorter
pieces have recited the grim, undisputed details: how opioid and heroin
overdoses have spiked, how they’ve impacted new communities and
demographics, and how, arguably as a result of that shift, what has for
decades been seen as a criminal-justice issue has become one of public
health. Which is why the commentary I ended up writing about the epidemic
isn’t about heroin at all. It’s about us.
February 10, 2016
By now, you’ve probably heard about the Volkswagen scandal, how a
routine study exposed regulatory fraud so vast that it nearly brought
down one of the world’s most respected automobile manufacturers.
Maybe you’ve seen the story on the news lately—a massive compensation
fund was just established, and civil suit filed in Detroit—or read
it in the paper, or discussed it online. Maybe you marveled at the hubris
of how, even as Volkswagen was touting the revolutionary emission controls
of its brand-new diesel engine in 2009—when the new Jetta Diesel
was named the Green Car of the Year—even as the entire automotive
world was hailing them as the undisputed industry leader in cleaner diesel
engines, they had, in fact, never even attempted to meet any emissions
standards whatsoever. Quite the opposite, in fact.