The application of virtue ethics to this issue is obviously quite different than what is currently going on, which I hope I have made clear by now. I think it could be easily argued that utilitarianism and deontology would also oppose the school mask mandates, if for slightly different reasons. I think that the utilitarian would have a rather important point to make about the amount of harm these policies cause relative to the pleasure or happiness. And the deontologist could argue about the duty of protecting children’s freedom and well-being over the whims of a panicked ruling class. But, I think that virtue ethics gets at the heart of the issue in a way that the others don’t. An Aristotelian would be sympathetic to the arguments of the other two ethical theories, but in addressing the lack of virtue in dealing with these issues, virtue ethics makes clear that these mandates stem from the heart’s of people who are lacking in a fundamental way that prevents them from ever getting to the consequences or duties of their actions.
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