I was getting ready to post this, and had to rewrite...
I believe that ethics matter. I believe that morality matters.
They are not the same. To be clear (as I use them) from Wikipedia:
Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. It is significantly broader than the common conception of analyzing right and wrong.
Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") has three principal meanings. [here I use the second] In its second, normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions. In this "prescriptive" sense of morality as opposed to the above described "descriptive" sense, moral value judgments such as "murder is immoral" are made.
Today I fear that too many people no longer believe that morality matters. That there are no "value judgements" that can or should be applied. That somehow whatever anyone believes is good, is good. I disagree. There is right and wrong. This absolute right and wrong is the only justifiable basis for ethics.
Here are two examples (and what made me re-write).
Two days ago, here in San Diego a true tragedy struck. A Navy fighter had double engine failure and the jet fell out of the sky and into a home. A home that was, at that moment, occupied by a woman, her mother, and her two children (both under 2 years old). They were all killed. The woman's husband instantly lost his family. Since then Mr. Yoon has shown tremendous strength. He has publicly forgiven the pilot, and expressed his hope that the pilot not suffer from the "accident". Mr Yoon is the ultimate expression of a moral man, behaving ethically based on what his morality tells him.
Meanwhile, the local media continue to haunt this man like vultures. They push their cameras into his face and bemoan that "he must grieve in public". They know its wrong. Their words show this. Yet they persist. They are moral, but unethical. The media puts its own selfish, ghoulish, interests before the victim. Shame on them.
The second example is the Governor of Illinois. Here we have a man who had risen to power and fame. But because he is a man who has lost his moral compass, he self-immolated his future with greed and hubris. He has done unrepairable harm to his family. His ethics were simply missing. They left when his sense of morality failed.
These two examples show why I believe that morality and ethics are important.
I originally wrote this using the financial meltdown. It applies in obvious ways. I see our systems breaking down due to our loss of both. A loss that has happened because we seem to not care enough to keep them. Shame on us.