This article is of course one persons opinion, take on post processing but I think it is well thought out and beneficial to those who do post process and take the heat for doing what they need to do to enhance an image within the range of reality.
I have to admit that quite a few years ago I held the opinion that making ANY changes to an image was not the right and ethical thing to do. My belief was based on people who alter an image to such a point that it leaves no real reference to what was originally captured. I still feel that way but there is nothing wrong with removing dust and perhaps a tree limb here and there. There is nothing wrong with boosting the color of a sunset, or the change the focal point of a scene by adding a vignette as long as the base capture remains pretty much the same.
The linked article below pretty much sums up how I feel about processing an image.
There will more than likely be those who continue to frown on your artistic choices but in the end if you are doing it right then you will not have changed the whole concept of the image you first recorded in your camera. That being the case I would tell your critics to move on.
Think about it. Why add spices to a good piece of meat before or after cooking. After all the meat did come spiced. Why add butter to a baked potato which did not grow with butter in it. Why add accessories to your computer or car instead of using them as they came to you? I am just saying. Enhancement is quite often a good thing.