Do I owe the world anything?
Debate Rounds (2)
This has led me to question whether there exists merit in the notion that I possess a moral obligation toward society beyond merely providing for myself and my family. Am I obliged to give back and build on that which has been built for me by they who have gone before? Certainly, there are many who have given so much to afford us the world we have today. But perhaps they only ask that we enjoy it, rather than look at it as a debt that needs to be repaid.
Still, I feel a sense of guilt at the idea of building up a little nest egg and taking it down to South America and living "the good life," free of labor and responsibility. Thus, my question is, do I have a moral obligation to do more for the world than take care of myself and my family? This is only a two round debate. Go ahead and respond right away and others feel free to comment your take. Thanks!
Since we're short on rounds I'll just state 2 substantives and argue my 1st.
1) You are obliged to help your fellow humans as a community (includes your family)
2) You are obliged to refrain from proving a detriment to society
So you have admitted that you have a moral obligation to provide for your family. That in itself implies that you are obliged to help those who you love and carry your genes. And since all humans have a common ancestry, you can consider the whole world to be your family.
"Am I obliged to give back and build on that which has been built for me by they who have gone before? Certainly, there are many who have given so much to afford us the world we have today. But perhaps they only ask that we enjoy it, rather than look at it as a debt that needs to be repaid."
You are actually in the same situation now that you are a working adult. You and all those of your generation are obliged by familial ties to provide a better world for your children in the same way that your parents did for you. The time to enjoy the world was as a child. For you, it is time to improve what your ancestors have already built to provide a better world for the next generation.
The global community has something in common. We are all humans and we should look out for one another in a species. Division only serves to waste resources and lives as seen in the many wars throughout history. Yet, there can be no unity if we fail to help one another in times of need. The world is not asking you to help EVERYONE in need. Only those who you are able to help. As an example, look no further than Mother Teresa who once said, "if you can't feed a hundred people, just feed one person."
The Opposition rests.
I appreciate the limitation, for it seems only reasonable that "ought" implies "can." Certainly it would be unfair to assume we could help the whole of humanity, for few, if any, individuals ever have. I also believe in Social Contract Theory, that by sacrificing a few minor freedoms for the good of the whole, we can obtain much more. Imagine trying to build an interstate all on your own, for example. Thus we pay taxes, and we uphold our civic duties, in order to achieve more together. Our modern day society relies quite heavily on social contract theory, for very few people today grow their own food and mend their own clothing.
Though I did not agree to any of this at the time of my birth, it makes sense to perpetuate. I have benefited greatly from this model. Furthermore, I could renounce my place in society and attempt to "live off the grid." I suppose that in continuing to live amongst my peers I am passively agreeing to abide by the social contract theory. This, to me, seems to be an obligation to the world, unless I willingly renounce my place among society.
I did not agree with your statement, "The time to enjoy the world was as a child. For you, it is time to improve what your ancestors have already built to provide a better world for the next generation." I'm not sure if you intended it this way, but it came across as too dichotomous. Surely we are permitted, perhaps even entitled to continue to "enjoy the world" into adulthood. I can't imagine anyone would want such to be forfeited once we came of age.
In conclusion, I believe that responsibility is associated to our choices. If I choose to marry and have children, then I am morally obligated to care for them. Likewise, if I choose to remain a part of society I am passively committing to take part in it, which includes, at least, civic duties, and perhaps a general humanity toward our fellow man, which includes not doing harm unnecessarily.
I would be interested to hear where you draw the line on our moral obligation. You have acknowledged that we cannot help everyone, but to what extent am I responsible? Must I choose a career in a helping profession, or rather act honestly within whatever field I choose? Am I allowed entertainment, or ought I forgo such triviality and dedicate my time and resources as did Mother Teresa to the good of humanity? There still seems to remain quite a broad interpretation as to "who [I] am able to help."
Orose_Khan forfeited this round.
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