Moral Luck

date: 2008-08-21

archive_section: emotional-intelligence

tags: philosophy

If a person is born poor, and has no choice but to steal food, are they morally responsible for their actions? In other words, is what they did wrong? Should they be considered thieves or criminals? Will they be held accountable on the day of judgment? I think not. Think now of a rich person, someone who never has a need to steal or commit any un-moral act. Is this person more morally responsible for their actions?

Why should a poor starving individual be punished for fighting for survival? They had a choice, steal food or die. Nobody, not even the most moral people on the planet would choose to die. Does that mean that morality is relative? No. It means that when it comes to survival perhaps morals must be applied in a different way.

I, in no way, believe that morality is relative, based on the times, and on what is publicly acceptable. I believe that morals are eternal truths and behaviors, what is right will always be right. It will not change every year or so like social circumstances of relativists. They would have you believe that what is socially acceptable is okay. No matter what that is.