Sometimes we are not sure why the actions of some people upset us. Often it is not what people do that is unethical but a subtle lies they tell . The recent news stories about the Panama Papers which reveal rich and famous people and politicians avoiding tax and hiding their wealth, shows the distinction.
It is not illegal and not unethical to avoid tax and this was explained in Article No 15. It may be regarded as immoral, but the difference between being immoral and unethical is explained in Article 55. It is also not unethical to keep your wealth private – why should others know? But of course, hiding mony gained from illegal/criminal activity and to evade tax are unethical.
What we object to is the hypocrisy.
For years some politicians have been telling others how unethical they when using offshore tax havens, while the Panama Papers show unethical behaviour- the politicians have been using these havens themselves. Surely most would agree that it is unethical behaviour to decry, mock, lambaste others for doing something which you yourself ate doing? It is lying.
An example of hypocrisy as unethical behavioural are politicians decrying private schooling, while sending their children to private schools and keeping it secret. And another example, are those politicians who claim to be socialists, (and all that implies about equality, anti-rich people -being on the side of working class people) and yet we find out that they have millions of pounds in the bank and two or three houses.
Other terrible examples of hypocrisy are shown by religious leaders. While preaching moral behaviour and an abstemious life, some are involved in unethical and also illegal acts such as child sex abuse, extra martial affairs and drug taking. We may not be upset with a minister of religion, taking drugs or having affairs, but we do get upset about the lying – hypocrisy
The Panama Papers show unethical behaviour in its wider context. Politicians are particularly susceptible to hypocrisy but perhaps from time to time we all do what we say others shold not because it is unethical.