The Instigator
pimpincheerio
Pro (for)
Losing
48 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
49 Points

inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,580 times Debate No: 3265
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (32)

 

pimpincheerio

Pro

i agree with this b/c if ur able to help somebody you should b/c if u don't than that just makes you lazy..
Danielle

Con

I have a few points:

1. Inaction in the face of injustice SOMETIMES makes an individual morally culpable, but not always. In addition, some people argue that morality benefits society and not the individual... but I digress, seeing as that is not the actual topic of debate.

2. You noted laziness as 'the reason' why people choose not to help others, when in fact there are a number of reasons why people may choose to not interfere. Their reasoning on why they choose to not help may be of substantial merit. I can go into more detail, but I'll wait for your rebuttal before getting to the meat of my argument.

3. It is not always clear what is just and what is unjust. For example, some claim that we are responsible for protecting the lives of the unborn; to ignore the reality of abortion may be considered a great injustice. However other people feel that the appropriate response to abortion is just that - inaction - because to speak or act against it would interfere with the rights of the parents/mother/etc. Now I'm neither arguing for nor against abortion, but rather I'm just citing an example of conflicting opinions affecting whether or not someone considers it "worth it" to interfere or not.
Debate Round No. 1
pimpincheerio

Pro

Immanuel Kant says that you should do what others would do unto you. So, if u were in a situation where other ppl saw u, wouldn't u want them to help you? If you want help from others than u should return the favor.

the word culpable means: responsible. So, inaction in the face of injustice makes you partly responsible. If you have the ability to help, than you should b/c u never really know what could happen. Maybe you would change the whole injustice and make everything a-ok. if u decide not to help, than there's always that "what if...". i'm not really making sense. maybe if you easily understand stuff u'll get that. i can be a bit "out-there" sometimes, sorry, i'm not high or anything i swear.

Injustice is obviously a bad thing, because it's unfair. There's not reason for people to be treat unfair because afterall people are all just people. If you're able to do something then why not do it? You can always help a little.
Danielle

Con

Injustice exists everywhere in the world today. Many times there is very little that we as individuals can do about it. Thus, if something will remain unjust despite our best efforts (action), are we still morally obligated to try anyway? Maybe yes, maybe no. But even if your position is that the answer is always yes, I would still like you to consider this...

To what extent should we be willing to act for justice? Should we risk our own lives? What if our own action resulted in death? I'll give you an example: You notice a baby in the street about to be hit by a car. Your position is that we are morally culpable for that baby's death should we not stand in the way to save that child, however, certain theists may disagree with you. For instance, the Christian religion adheres that suicide is a sin and therefore immoral. Thus this scenario leaves us to choose between two immoral outcomes. The first is that we do not interfere with the accident and therefore accept responsibility for not saving the child. The second is that we do interfere thereby making us responsible for our own deaths (suicide = immoral). And if this example doesn't satisfy the notion that sometimes immorality is sometimes unavoidable, I can provide countless other examples that verify this same point.

Another reality is something that I mentioned in my first argument, back when I claimed that it was sometimes unclear what is just or unjust depending on the situation. For argument's sake I will provide you and the readers with another example. Say a young man was seriously considering enlisting in the military. He was just as religious (Catholic) as he was patriotic. After being educated on the issues regarding Iraq, along with his own personal identity as a Conservative Republican, this man was almost enthusiastic about joining the army and being sent to fight for Operation Iraqi freedom. Like you, he felt that he had a moral obligation to both "defend his country" as well as ensure the freedom of people overseas who were living under an unjust regime. To not fight for these people who need emancipation would therefore make him responsible for injustice, right?

However, before making his final decision, the young soldier decided to read up some more on the statistics of the war including facts about the casualties of innocent Iraqi civilians. This troubled him, so he sought his local priest and turned to him for advice. The priest reminded him that murder was a mortal sin, and that taking a life was the most immoral thing you can possibly do. "But what about warfare? What if it's for a good and moral cause?" the young soldier asked. The priest pointed out that the Catholic Church believes in what is called Just War; that is, a set of criterion that each war must meet in order for it to be supported by the Catholic Church. The war in Iraq, of course, did not meet this criteria and was therefore condemned by the Pope for a number of reasons. The boy learned these reasons. He agreed with these reasons. But he also feared that not fighting would put the burden of Iraqi opression on his shoulders.

These two examples prove that there is not always a clear answer on how to act in each situation. Nor is there always a clear definition of what is just or unjust to begin with. Because we're all raised in various parts of the world, immersed in different cultures, and placed in particular situations, it is obvious that there will be a difference of opinions, values, morals, beliefs and personalities. This will inevitably lead to a contrast in what is just and unjust, thereby making it difficult to determine the correct course of action. And, again - even if it is clear what is just and unjust, there are other factors to consider, as illustrated in my first example.

Another point I would like to make is the difference between pro-activity and responsibility. Good Samaritan Laws exist in this country to encourage personal responbility; they essentially tell Americans that it is right and perhaps even necessary (in accordance with the law) to act in the face of injustice. For instance, in the famous Kitty Genovese case, a jogger in NYC's Central Park was raped and stabbed to death while people watched and failed to even notify the police let alone interfere. I agree that this type of blatant disregard for a fellow citizen's safety is disgusting and completely immoral. I believe that they SHOULD feel responsible to step in and provide assistance in this or a similar situation. However look at it this way: People are raped and assaulted every single day. If we're not busy doing things, is it our moral obligation to be out patrolling the streets and making sure that everyone is safe? Your argument is that our inaction in attempting to help others makes us responsible if something should happen to them. This type of Proactivity is different from personal responsibility, and I argue not always necessary or even possible.

Thus I agree with the notion that people are especially responsible for trying to prevent problems which they can logically expect to affect. Of course it is always a good idea to help others in need every chance we can, even if that means proactivity. But it's still not fair to say that "a moral obligation" exists to do something that is impossible to do, especially if what is right or wrong is unclear or comes with additional baggage. Not everyone has the ability to act reasonably when faced with other issues. So although people make bad decisions, I feel it is unfair to automatically label them responsible for everything unjust in the world. Jeff Shaw agrees, "The most obvious reason is, if we held everyone to this standard, no one would be moral."
Debate Round No. 2
pimpincheerio

Pro

pimpincheerio forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

I regret that the third round was forfeited because my opponent did not post their argument within the allotted time. In that case, vote based on previous rounds. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: fire_wings// Mod action: Removed<

2 points to Pro (Sources). Reasons for voting decision:

[*Reason for removal*] Vote placed outside of what is considered to be reasonable expectations for proper voting conduct. Contact head moderator Airmax1227 for details.
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Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Kant doesn't say that.

In fact, Kant holds that even if people steal from you or hurt you, you still treat them as an end within themselves.

If somebody is running and runs somewhere and somebody comes behind him and says "I'm going to kill that son-of-a-b!tch! Where did he go?" -- According to Kant, you tell him where he went as lying is never okay and you can't really know what would happen in the situation.
Posted by Vi_Veri 9 years ago
Vi_Veri
Con won this one fair and square. Nice work, Con.
Posted by dumbell2424 9 years ago
dumbell2424
great topic, just had it in my class; and theLwerd is making a great point pimpincheerio. Who sets the meaning of what is moral?
Posted by qwerty15ster 9 years ago
qwerty15ster
hmmmmmmm...... i want to take this, but won't at the moment.... If it is still here tonight, I will...
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Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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