Great point about helping people being important.
I started with "maximally" and "minimally" because I felt the ethical vs. non-ethical distinction missed something.
This whole train of thought was started by the New York Times' essay contest, "Tell us why it's ethical to eat meat":
To me, the word "ethical" all by itself connotes a certain positive aspect. Something you should do, something you should aspire to. It's good to act ethically.
I wouldn't argue it's ethical
to drive a car per se, (for example) I just think that it can be minimally ethical. I think it's more ethical to go without cars at all.
So the framing of the contest struck me as off.
My usage of maximally and minimally ethical is something like:
maximally unethical - minimally unethical - ethically neutral - minimally ethical - maximally ethical
Let's go ahead and give those numbers, with maximally unethical being a 1, and maximally ethical being a 5.
I'd consider murder a 1. Devoting one's life to helping people a 5. Eating meat and driving a car (as stand-alone attributes) somewhere around a 4.