2
   

Hey buddy, can you spare some morality?

 
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2004 04:02 pm
i don't agree, flyer. i read somewhere that you should give people begging for money food instead of money. but you know, homeless people live outside the margins, and how they choose to spend the money i give them is their business. so what if they buy beer, or crack. if it gives them some temporary relief then that is good enough.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2004 05:47 pm
Right, Gala. As f*cked up as their life may be, it's important to me that I acknowledge that IS their life. I have the right to refuse help; it IS my money, but they have the right to do what they feel they must if it hurts only them. And please don't search for ways their self-destruction inconveniences the rest of us (in order to rationalize our control of them--not to put words in your mouth).
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 09:42 am
FreeDuck wrote:
I will jump in and say that was moral. If he uses it to buy food, that is obviously moral. But even if he uses it to buy alcohol it is moral. My feeling (right this minute anyway) is that at this point the man is already damaged, and Mr. Rich can't fix him, so he is merely easing his pain temporarily. And easing the pain of another human being is morally right.

It's morally right in all circumstances? If Rags asked for a dollar so he could buy a gun with which to kill himself and thereby "ease his pain," it would be moral for Rich to give him the money?

rufio wrote:
What Mr. Rich does and whether or not it is moral doesn't have anything to do with what Mr. Rags does, IMO. If Mr. Rich was wrong about Mr. Rags buying booze, or if Mr. Rags had an epiphany of some sort later on and decided to use the money to buy food instead, would it still be moral or immoral based on those actions? Anyway, it's probably not for him to say which would be more beneficial to Mr. Rags at the moment. No matter what Mr. Rags buys with the money, Mr. Rich gave him an opportunity to buy something he wanted, and that's moral in its way. What Mr. Rags does with that opportunity is up to him.

You don't tie the morality of the giving with the expected use of the donation? Why not?

By giving Rags a dollar, Rich is, in effect, funding Rags's actions -- actions which, we can presume, would not be possible without that funding. To say, then, that Rich's responsibility ends when the dollar passes from his hands to Rags's is, I think, somewhat naive. After all, we condemn not only those who perpetrate evil acts but also those who fund them and make them possible.

But perhaps you're suggesting that Rich's "good intentions" absolve him of any moral responsibility for the use of his donation. If he sincerely believes that his dollar, no matter how it is used by Rags, will be "beneficial," that's all that matters. Is that your contention?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 09:56 am
JLNobody wrote:
Right, Gala. As f*cked up as their life may be, it's important to me that I acknowledge that IS their life. I have the right to refuse help; it IS my money, but they have the right to do what they feel they must if it hurts only them. And please don't search for ways their self-destruction inconveniences the rest of us (in order to rationalize our control of them--not to put words in your mouth).

You don't get off that easily, JLN. Sure, Rags's life might be "f*cked up," but you seem to suggest that Rich is blameless if he perpetuates, in his own small way, Rags's "f*ckedupitude." In other words, you, like rufio and others here, want to maintain that Rich's moral responsibility is confined to the act of giving itself, rather than extending to the consequences of that act.

That's a rather odd position, considering that most acts are judged not simply qua acts but by their foreseeable consequences as well. We don't say of the Washington-area snipers that they are to be commended for being good marksmen. Similarly, we cannot simply commend Rich for his generosity if he expects that his donation will fund an immoral cause. Certainly, I think you'd feel differently if Rich gave his dollar to the Ku Klux Klan or Hamas rather than to a drunken Rags.

Now, you've acknowledged that Rich always has the option of not giving Rags any money at all, and you can argue that Rags has an inherent dignity, as an individual, to make his own decisions in life -- including the decision to kill himself slowly by means of alcohol. I grant both of those positions. But to say that Rich's act of giving the dollar has no moral connection to Rags's self-destruction, that is something I do not concede.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 09:58 am
UhOh. I do believe that we're off on another trolley ride.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 10:08 am
joefromchicago wrote:
You don't tie the morality of the giving with the expected use of the donation? Why not?

I dont know much about religion, but I do believe that the notion of morality about giving -- just giving, period, nothing to do with how what is given is used, simply the act of giving itself - goes back a long way in various religions, Christianity, Hinduism ....
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 10:27 am
Mr. Rich is acting morally, because the purpose of the dollar is to make Mr. Rags happy. Nobody knows what makes Mr. Rags happy as well as Mr. Rags does. His judgment in the matter may well be wrong, but then again, so may Mr. Rich's. Therefore, Mr. Rich is doing the right thing by giving Mr. Rags the dollar and letting Mr. Rags decide what to do with it.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 11:42 am
I tend to agree with Joe from the windy-city, the slaughter-house of a a nation, broad-shouldered. Oops, got carried away there with Sandberg and Babbit sitting silently on my knee. Mr. Rich's behavior should not be so easily categorized. We know too little of his circumstances and state of mind. I can easily imagine it being "moral" not to give Mr. Rags any money.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 12:36 pm
Joe, it seems to me that since we cannot know with certainty what the long-term consequences of our actions may be (a good consequence may even make possible a worse consequence in the future which may in turn make possible another good one, ad infinitum), we must give, in our moralogical considerations, primacy to the intention of the act. I think that Mr. Rich may give to Mr. Rags aid for the ease of his pain out of a sincere and spontaneous compassion without self-consciousness reference to moral principles.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 04:35 pm
Well, this is the problem with all you folks, who are holding Mr Rich responsible for Rags presupposed behavior.

Mr Rich would have to make a judgement about Mr Rags. And, that judgement would be based on ....what? Rags clothing? I detest this idea.

Mr Rags may be just a poor man, needing food. He may be a drinker--he may not be.

He may be a former drinker... He may have decided that day to quit drinking. He may be asking for money for his child, his friend...

I believe when people allow themselves to make snap judgements on others' motivations based on their appearance, or anything other than absolute knowledge, they become guilty of a much worse immorality than accidentally buying some Thunderbird for a drunk.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 04:46 pm
there are laws in place for people like the dc snipers. no, we don't praise them for being good marksmen-- but, seeing as you are bringing issues of the law into this, such as donations that may be funding terrorists etc. then it is my opinion that society has a moral obligation to enact some kind of health care law to protect those who cannot help themselves.

for example, most homeless people suffer from some kind of mental illness. they are not lazy, but have had no luck in their lives. because of their condition they are unable to hold onto a job, and are unable to seek the kind of care they need because health care is unaffordable. and so begins the spiral of drugs, alcohol, etc.

on an individual level, because they are not supported by society, the best i can do is give them some money to relieve their burden, even if it's temporary.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 04:55 pm
Sofia wrote:
Well, this is the problem with all you folks, who are holding Mr Rich responsible for Rags presupposed behavior.

Mr Rich would have to make a judgement about Mr Rags. And, that judgement would be based on ....what? Rags clothing? I detest this idea.

Mr Rags may be just a poor man, needing food. He may be a drinker--he may not be.

He may be a former drinker... He may have decided that day to quit drinking. He may be asking for money for his child, his friend...

I believe when people allow themselves to make snap judgements on others' motivations based on their appearance, or anything other than absolute knowledge, they become guilty of a much worse immorality than accidentally buying some Thunderbird for a drunk.


Applause!!
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:08 pm
sofia, i don't know what mr. rich's motivation is... but when i pass someone in winter in clothes that only protect for summer, and those clothes are filthy, as they stand or sit in the protected alcove of a subway station where there is some remant of heat wafting from the underground it would be flip of me to think that they are posing, or lazy, or capable of caring for themselves.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:14 pm
I agree. Which is why I think Mr Rich has done well by giving Mr Rags the benefit of the doubt, and giving him a few dollars.

The giving is the end of Mr Rich's responsibility, IMO. What Mr Rags does with it, is indicative of Mr Rags' morality, not that of his benefactor.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:18 pm
Here's to Horatio Alger and the bum on the streets:




They used to tell me
I was building a dream.
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow
Or guns to bear
I was always there
Right on the job.
They used to tell me
I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead.
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad
I made it run
Made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad
Now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime.
Once I built a tower,
Now it's done.
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits
Gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle dee dum.
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say don't you remember?
They called me Al.
It was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember?
I'm your pal.
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits,
Ah, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle dee dum!
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum!
Oh, say don't you remember?
They called me Al.
It was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember?
I'm your pal.
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Rolling Eyes

Hey, Joe. I could post Ten Cents a Dance, or Tony's Rags to Riches.

Seriously, I have no idea what the moral thing is to do.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:22 pm
Sofia, I agree.
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Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:23 pm
I'm up for another trolley ride.

My feeling on this is that giving money to a beggar is fundementally immoral. By handing them money and then walking away, what the hell have you done to help them? All you've done is stroke your own ego, made yourself "feel good" about your "moral" act.

If Rich gives Rags money and walks away, that's immoral. If he doesn't give Rags any money and walks away, that's amoral. The only truly moral thing Rich can do is to ACTUALLY HELP Rags.

When aid agencies go into places like The Sudan, they don't just turn up with a heap of cash and start handing it out do they?

They actually help to make things better. That's REAL morality.
0 Replies
 
Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:30 pm
Mr Rich doesn't owe Rags anything.

If he chooses to give to him, it is illogical to deem this act as immoral.

If Mr Rich ignores the needs of Mrs. Rich and the little Richies, THAT is immoral, because he does owe them something.

If Mr Rich knocks Mr Rags in the head, and absconds with his $2.75, then Mr Rich is immoral.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:32 pm
I don't think it is in any way immoral.

Heck, I think I'll buy a needy person a beer today. I'm on my way to have drinks and fun at the beach and I don't think that someone's misfortunes should necessarily make them enjoying a drink a bad thing.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 05:34 pm
I'm afraid aid agencies all too often just turn up in a place like Sudan with a heap of ... well, flour or something, hand it out and leave, so the same practical pitfalls actually apply ... but that would be off-topic, and besides, reflective of shortsightedness rather than immorality. (Unless they're giving out, say, EU surpluses as development aid to avoid having to tackle the protectionism on European agriculture, and in so doing destroy the local farmers' market - that would be immoral.)
0 Replies
 
 

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