Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Morality Exercise

A few ideas to consider today. If something can be done should it be done? Is the answer universal to all contexts or did you have something in mind? For example just because we could let everyone's children be taught morality by an educator aka "teacher" should we? Isn't it a bad idea to be so strict about morality and so concrete that we print a textbook about it and tell young minds that these are the only acceptable forms of right and wrong?

This example an exercise in and of itself, you're free to draw your own conclusions as there honestly is no right or wrong, good or bad. A child murders an adult, should he be punished? It's hard to have a ready to go answer because there aren't enough details and yet even so many people will already have an answer. To expand into detail the child murders the adult in protection of their sibling. To more accurately reflect this we'll consider this adult a serial rapist and convicted child molester. This swings votes. However let's say the child murdering the adult in this case has different motives, they're not driven to protect their sibling, let's say instead it's pure rage and hate of the adult or something darker a simple desire to kill. Perhaps this child whose motivation was blood lust and not protection may one day become a serial killer. Their motivation might determine if they are punished and to what extent if they are. How then does this change if it's one adult murdering another under the same circumstances? What if the rapist isn't going after children but adults. If the rapist is a woman? If the murderer is a young boy or a grown man, a young girl or a adult woman? If the murderer has a history of violence? What if it's one murderer killing another instead of a rapist? When it boils down to it, is it morally acceptable to commit a crime in protection of another if the motivation for committing this crime is not protection and instead the protection is a byproduct? If this changes between age and gender then can you truly explain why? If this were a subject taught in class at a young age, as morality and morals aren't something you pick up late in life, how would you expect it to be taught and what answers would you expect? Would you honestly consider the consequences of what this would mean and have as an impact by stating there is only one right answer? I for one believe it would be a detriment to establish morality as perfectly quantifiable. Not including the fact that as of yet we can not establish or provide accurate conjecture as to a persons true motives in anything we do, and the danger that would come with that knowledge should it ever become an option. For example a majority of theft is a matter of self preservation in some form or another and while I may be inclined to say it's a symptom of a corrupt system and doesn't warrant punishment others would hold a view perhaps extreme in perspective that theft as back in the old days mandates that the thieves should have their hands cut off.  Once upon a time that was more than morally acceptable and just as we have changed away from that by practice we will one day have a different set of morals and this should be influenced much more rapidly than traditional or current education would allow and thus should remain something passed down partially from parents and adult figures to children in private with the remainder left for the child to establish on their own as they become adults.

If ever we can quantify motivation we enter dangerous territory as we may begin to punish thought and that slope is vertical. While I may never murder anyone that is not to suggest I don't think about it from time to time, or for some of us on a regular or nearly constant basis, and criminalizing this method of dealing with our anger in a non violent manner is quite dangerous. The justice system at all times should remain reactive and not proactive regardless of so called justifications to the contrary.

I hope the idea was conveyed clearly as admittedly it was not as clean as I'd intended in writing.

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