It took me a long time to find what ethical system seems appropriate for myself, at least for now and it seems to be ethical pluralism.
Relativism wouldn’t work for me because it denies the possibility of objective truths at all which I find to be a little too easy of a way out of a difficult question. That doesn’t invalidate it as a stance – it is a valid ethical position and it has great pragmatic value to the holder of it and it is useful in some circumstances, but it wasn’t suitable for me as it disallowed the possibility for footing.
Pluralism on the other hand allows for simultaneously valid positions, while also crucially allowing for discussions over finding common ground. Ecumenical work is pluralistic in nature for example as is any work seeking common ground between diverse systems; an implicit acknowledgement of coexisting systems that are valid in their own contexts, even if they may be invalid in others and yet also might have common ground that can be shared worked with.
So in the case of Dorothy’s stealing of the book, there is a plurality of perspectives, each of which can be valid to various degrees and yet some connections can be made that share features.
Each character in that scene was acting from their own ethical stances, each justifiable within themselves for their own actions, from the woman attempting to move Dorothy who is black out of the white section of the library, to the police officer doing his deontological duty to remove them from the library.
Dorothy herself sees her action as transactional; justified via some clever accounting and not necessarily an ethical dilemma at all and yet instructs her boys that it’s a right, which is in the realm of natural law or close to it.[responsivevoice_button voice="US English Male"]