security pet peeve #3: ethics and the color of your hat

Today I happened to get called a “black hat” on a blog comment simply because of some off-the-cuff comment I made that, admittedly, is not necessarily a straight-laced, stick-in-the-mud, ne’er-do-wrong practice. However, me being called “black hat” is about as laughable, as, well, anything else I’ve experienced this week so far…
But it illustrates to me one of my other big pet peeves in security: hat color.
Fashionistas aside, some people are pretty obviously Black Hat. The rest of us are pretty much stuck in a quagmire of uncertainty and greyness that really has no definition. What seems like grey hat to some may be very black hat to others; what may be white hat to some may be grey hat to others, and so on.
All of this is just so much drawing lines in the sand, only to have someone else wipe it away and draw their own line in the sand, and another person wiping it away and drawing their own line in the sand. It is all about ethics and morals and how you conduct yourself. And if anyone has taken any academic coursework or even any casual discussion on the subject of ethics, one will quickly realize there are no hard and fast lines. It is all very relative and all very undefined to such a degree that arguing about it is a complete waste of time.
As it is, I have no problem with most “black hats” or “white hats” or anyone in between. Each can live their own life and that is fine with me. But what really incites my pet peeve is when people get so ensconced with rage and prejudice and blind ignorance about the whole issue of ethics that it manifests into nearly fanatical knee-jerk reactions to any hint that there might be an ethics or hat color discussion arising… That is just shallow.
White hats have to live up to a certain level of ethics and morals, right? Well, how do they feel about speeding when driving? If it is a 30mph zone and they drive 32mph, do they feel guilty? Does that guilt adjust their behavior back down to an apologetic 30mph? Do they regularly bump 10mph over the limit, whether in residential or on the freeway in the throes of a 10 hour road trip?
This is the dilemna. This is the grey area.