In regards to your first post: I said
'human beings will always act in a way that most benefits them, evil isn't an option. Or, to clarify, willful evil isn't an option. Evil does not have positive connotations, any way you put it. Nobody wants to be evil. When people do something, anything, they believe they are doing the right thing, or, at the very least, the least wrong thing.'
What most benefits a person is self-interest. In my opinion, self-interest dictates morality. Some people's idea of self-interest encompasses more universal ideals; conversely some people have more concern for their own comfort. Either way, acting in a way that most benefits yourself interracts directly with one's morality.
For example, the rich white business owner, morally, believes that poor people need to get off their asses and work. That's how he got to where he is, after all- work ethic! Because their morals collide with his, he can feel justified in calling their perceived laziness evil. Do you think his morality has anything to do with his lifestyle?
At the same time, the people he employs, in, say, Malaysia, make less than a dollar a day assembling his products. From their point of view, he is greedy and doesn't care that he is exploiting them, and they trash the factory. From their point of view, it is evil for him to live in a 30-room mansion while they live in hovels without utilities, and this is the only means they have of calling attention to their situation. Do their lifestyles have anything to do with their morality?
Both parties feel justifiedin their actions. Who's evil?
There's an Ani DiFranco song, and a line from it that I've been thinking about for the longest time: "Those who call the shots are never in the line of fire..."
The rich man doesn't have to live in a hovel in Malaysia- he doesn't have to deal with starving every night because he cut already scant wages. He cannot understand their plight. Similarly, the workers in malaysia can't understand the man's reaction to the destruction of his equipment. His rage and indignation are so completely different than their own that it becomes meaningless. They don't care about his pain, nor he about theirs. After all, both parties just got what was coming to them, right?
It's all about feeling justified. Feeling justified is all about living out your morals. If you aren't living out your morals, you eventually change your lifestyle, or your morals. We naturally seek this reconciliation. If we can't have this unity in morals and action, we cease to function properly as humans. I say this, with no hesitation or "I think" antecedents, because it is something I know from personal experience.
Now, okay, let's say the rich guy is my father and I inheret his business. I think what he was doing is wrong, and I want to raise their rates. However, raising their rates will eventually cut into profits to the point that I either have to give my American distributors a paycut (and lose business) or eventually, my business will fail, and not only will I be screwed, but the Malaysian and American workers will all be out of jobs. So much for my altruism, huh?
But this is really oversimplified. Let's say I can manage to pay the Malaysians American wages, so long as I give all my executive workers (myself included) a ten-percent salary cut. My vice president tells me if I do, he's going to have my husband and kids killed. He's rich, he can afford good lawyers, he'll be found innocent. I have no way to report this to the police, because I ahve no proof that he said it, but I really believe he's serious.
Which decision is right? Bad question- because there is no right decision in this case- only less wrong. I know that allowing my vice president to bully me, and allowing my Malaysion workers to starve, is terribly wrong. However, I can safely say the same about my family being butchered for some man's greed.
It boils down to what is most beneficial for me- what is in my best self-interest?
I'd opt for saving my family from impending danger. I'm not willfully exploiting them- however, circumstances, in my case, dictate that that is the best option available to me. But the Malaysian workers don't know this- they only think I am as evil as my father.
[This message has been edited by hush (11-23-2002 02:16 PM).]