Marvilla, Monale A.
I basically like Ethics as an academic subject because it’s a supplementary learning aid to what’s supposed to be known (at heart) by everyone without the needs of having it taught at educational facilities and the like. Why?
Humans are created with basic innate goodness within them; that is to say: it’s an automatic act to avoid what is evil and yearn what is good; able to distinguish between good and evil, right or wrong, moral and immoral, and is accountable for the self’s actions- expecting reward or punishment. A I found George F. Will’s article from the Washington Post, “Code of Coercion” quite interesting. Some good points are brought up in the article such as whether or not a certain field or program of education should even come with a so called set of ideological “rules”. Sure there are codes of ethics and guidelines for conduct in most professions, but these are not absolute, and surely don’t mean the same thing to everyone.
Yes, there are four main questions I think we need to consider. 1) Are there ideological rules in the NASW code of ethics? 2) Should there be ideological rules in the NASW code of ethics? 3) If there should be ideological rules in the NASW code of ethics, does the code of ethics have the right rules, is it missing some, and does it have some that should not be included? 4) Are social work students supposed to subscribe to the NASW code of ethics, or merely be familiar with it?
The answers are: 1) yes, there are ideological rules in the NASW code of ethics. 2) Yes, there ought to be ideological rules, because professions have ideologies (or at least they ought to have ideologies). For example, in medical ethics doctors must subscribe to an ideology that they will do no harm to a patient. That is why ethical physicians will not assist in administering the poisons in lethal injection executions, although they will certify that a condemned prisoner has died. This is an ideology that doctors must preserve and protect the life and health of their patients, because by definition, that is what doctors do. Social workers should also have an ideology that defines what it is that social workers do, or ought to do. 3) The question of whether the NASW code of ethics includes the correct rules is one that is debatable, and is in fact debated within social work. I personally don’t object to any specific ideological rules in the present form of the code of ethics, but I think in certain places emphasis is misplaced, and I would change it in some ways, because I think it could be improved. There could be a substantial discussion of which values or ideologies in the code of ethics are in fact objectionable or wrong. George Will did not engage in such a discussion, so his contribution is not useful on that score. As I read it, the NASW code of ethics is not especially objectionable, and I struggle to understand how a fair-minded person familiar with the role of social work in society could object to the ideology enshrined in the code of ethics. 4) Social work students must be familiar with the code of ethics. They must be familiar with it in part because if they violate certain points of the code of ethics they could be punished or disciplined.
I have intimate familiarity with three schools of social work, and at none of these three were students required to subscribe to the code of ethics or make any sort of statement of belief or values in which they endorsed the NASW code of ethics. In fact, I had a Catholic field supervisor in my own MSW training who emphasized ethics as one of his top priorities, but told me he was not a member of NASW and would not become a member because he did not agree with 100% of the NASW code of ethics, and so he instead belonged to other professional social worker associations. The ideologically controversial portions of the NASW code of ethics are not the points that would be brought up and used against a social worker in a disciplinary...
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