Tag Archives: Moral Dilemma

The Thoughts of One Researching Immigration

The deeper I reach into the conditions confronting people who are immigrating, the greater my concern grows for these issues. And it is much, much more complex than what I initially imagined.

My heart is wrenched. 

It is, wrought with moral and empirical nightmares. It is a normative cluster ____! And it is driving me bonkers learning about it all. As a “privileged American” I have not had to consider the ramifications of many of these issues for my own life, so as I am becoming acquainted with the harsh reality that exists, it is both shocking and appalling. I can hear good arguments from both sides for why to and not to accept immigration because in either case people are harmed and benefited.

Hence the dilemma, that so many people have toggled with, where is it that the balance is drawn? In order for there to be a harm, then there must first be a baseline from which to measure the harm by. If this is true, as I think it is, then the problem becomes defining the point at which harm is measured from.

This I believe is the only way to make sense of the dilemma. Nonetheless, and notwithstanding the complications, thousands of people are dying while people are struggling to make up their minds about what should be done and how.

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Do I Doom My Kids To Poverty? ((SONG))

To Support Diaspora and Apartheid Research in Athens this Summer:

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by the University of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how #apartheid and#diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

 

Lyrics

Verse #1

 

I have to find a way to make these ends meet

I’ve got myself, my wife and three kids to feed

Now this wouldn’t be a problem, if there was work to be done

But the Dictator, confiscated, at the point of a gun

The resources, that we need, to keep, our families fed

And we’re lacking Agriculture because the Markets are dead

Not because we can’t farm, but rather, because these Subsidized

U.S. Industries, have straight up neutralized us

But Irrigation, will only suffice, if and when there is Rain

But now, we’re dealing Droughts, as one of the effects, of Climate Change

And we can’t rely on aid because that mess is a curse

And The Coups and Civil Wars for power make matters worse

My baby’s crying, screaming cuz she needs something to eat

And I feel like half-a-man because I am living in defeat

I’ve got nothing to give because there is nothing to get

But, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

Verse #2

 

Immigrating, is easier said than done

Cuz it seems that everything is set to keep us where we’re from

Passports, Visas, Customs, and on and on

And everything costs the type of Money we ain’t got

Our options for a better life are limited and dangerous

Trudging Deserts, crammed in Ships, jumping barbed and guarded Fences

Risking life and Health, to get at better Chances

Suffering, is nothing new, but here ain’t got the answers

My daughter wants to go to School so she can learn to Read

Cuz she wants to be a Scientist to make sure all can eat

But, that will only happen, if we make it to the West

And as her father all I want is to give the best

But protected, their Feudal Privilege, keeping us at odds

Walls to Separate us, Segregated by the Laws

So, yes it’s Illegal, and it’s Dangerous

But, Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it.

 

 

Verse #3

 

So say we make it, beat the odds, this is what we’re facin’

Aliens, like we’re not humans from this race and

We don’t bleed the same when beaten for tying

To take advantage of Opportunities you squander, while lying

Claiming that you care, but don’t want us sharing

Land, Food, Work, or Health Caring

And instead make departments like the I.C.E.

And Detention Camps to stop us from being free

Where we’re tortured, starved, deprived of Human Rights

Forced Free Labor and Deported at night

Shipped back from whence we came, like, that is more humane

As if to say, we deserve the cards laid

And my daughter deserves to not be educated

My son deserves to starve, and I to live depraved

But there is a small hope that we just might make it

So, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

 

To Help Me Fund My #Diaspora and #Apartheid Research, Please Follow the Link Below:

 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

 

For More Information on Diaspora and Apartheid, Please Follow the Links Below:

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

Do I Doom My Kids To Poverty?

Verse #1

 

I have to find a way to make these ends meet

I’ve got myself, my wife and three kids to feed

Now this wouldn’t be a problem, if there was work to be done

But the Dictator, confiscated, at the point of a gun

The resources, that we need, to keep, our families fed

And we’re lacking Agriculture because the Markets are dead

Not because we can’t farm, but rather, because these Subsidized

U.S. Industries, have straight up neutralized us

But Irrigation, will only suffice, if and when there is Rain

But now, we’re dealing Droughts, as one of the effects, of Climate Change

And we can’t rely on aid because that mess is a curse

And The Coups and Civil Wars for power make matters worse

My baby’s crying, screaming cuz she needs something to eat

And I feel like half-a-man because I am living in defeat

I’ve got nothing to give because there is nothing to get

But, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

Verse #2

 

Immigrating, is easier said than done

Cuz it seems that everything is set to keep us where we’re from

Passports, Visas, Customs, and on and on

And everything costs the type of Money we ain’t got

Our options for a better life are limited and dangerous

Trudging Deserts, crammed in Ships, jumping barbed and guarded Fences

Risking life and Health, to get at better Chances

Suffering, is nothing new, but here ain’t got the answers

My daughter wants to go to School so she can learn to Read

Cuz she wants to be a Scientist to make sure all can eat

But, that will only happen, if we make it to the West

And as her father all I want is to give the best

But protected, their Feudal Privilege, keeping us at odds

Walls to Separate us, Segregated by the Laws

So, yes it’s Illegal, and it’s Dangerous

But, Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it.

 

 

Verse #3

 

So say we make it, beat the odds, this is what we’re facin’

Alien status, like we’re not humans from this race and

We don’t bleed the same when beaten for tying

To take advantage of Opportunities you squander, while lying

Claiming that you care, but don’t want us sharing

Land, Food, Work, or Health Caring

And instead make departments like the I.C.E.

And Detention Camps to stop us from being free

Where we’re tortured, starved, deprived of Human Rights

Forced Free Labor and Deported at night

Shipped back from whence we came, like, that is more humane

As if to say, we deserve the cards laid

And my daughter deserves to not be educated

My son deserves to starve, and I to live depraved

But there is a small hope that we just might make it

So, do I Doom my kids to Poverty, or risk Escaping it?

 

 

 

To Help Me Fund My #Diaspora and #Apartheid Research, Please Follow the Link Below:

 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

 

For More Information on Diaspora and Apartheid, Please Follow the Links Below:

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

To Kill or to Let Die: That is the Question

In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting two ethical frameworks to ascertain both their relevance and effectiveness in deciding how to choose an action in a given situation. The two ethical frameworks being considered are virtue ethics as described by Aristotle and deontology as described by Immanuel Kant, and they will both be used to analyze a moral dilemma concerned with the theme of killing or letting die. However, before evaluating the dilemma it may be prudent to summarize the ethical frameworks first.

Virtue ethics is an agent-centered ethical framework through which its practitioners seek to both determine and to develop the morality of individuals. Whereas an action-centered ethical framework such as Deontology is concerned with the act in which an agent engages, an agent-centered framework is concerned with the character of the agent. According to Rosalind Hursthouse in Normative Virtue Ethics, a virtue is “a character trait that a human needs for eudaimonia, to flourish or live well” (p. 130). Virtues such as wisdom, honesty, compassion, loyalty and justice, when practiced, aim the agent’s actions at achieving this eudomainonia or happiness, which Aristotle believed was the “chief good” and the ultimate end of all pursuits (p. 118). According to Aristotle, a moral person is one who has the ‘habit’ of acting in accordance with virtues or excellences (p. 120), as oppose to their converses which are considered vices and are thus immoral.

The practitioners of deontology on the other hand seek to classify the morality of the decisions and behaviors of an agent. This action-centered ethical framework is neither concerned with the consequences of an action, nor of the character of the individual who acts. Rather, it is concerned with the reasoning that precedes and compels an action.  Immanuel Kant established what he termed the Categorical Imperative in his work titled Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, which is a rubric for evaluating the morality of a given action. According to Kant, an action is only moral if it is done from duty, not concerned with the consequences of the action but a particular maxim (an intention or policy of behavior), and that the action is necessitated out of respect for the law (p. 107). The law, according to Kant, is determined by subjecting each act to the Categorical Imperative; where the universalizability of the act as a law is considered first, and if it can be universalized then it is determined whether the act will use any human as a mere means or also as an end (Woody Lecture Notes, Nov. 14). If the act passes both of these tests then it is considered to be moral.

The moral dilemma that I will consider through both ethical frameworks is as follows:

A group of four friends, all in perfect health and doing well in college, are on a hiking trip when they are overrun and captured by a gang bent on testing the limits of human morality. The gang randomly selects one of the four friends and gives her an ultimatum; either kill one of her friends, and her the other two will be set free, or all four of them will be killed by the gang.

At first glance, from both ethical frameworks, if she chooses to kill one of her friends it will be an immoral decision. The virtue of justice will not permit the violation of a person’s right to life, so it is not moral to kill from the stand point of virtue ethics. The act of killing a friend to save one’s self is using the friend as a mere means so, it is also not moral for her to kill in this instance from a deontological standpoint. At first glance it appears that the only moral option is to omit killing one and to let them all die.

However, if she omits killing one to save her and two friends from being killed, there is also the potential that she is making an immoral decision.  If by omission she violates the virtue of compassion for the two friends who would otherwise be saved by her killing the one, then here the lack of compassion is immoral. This is a potential interpretation of virtue ethics as proposed by Aristotle because a hierarchy of virtues is not provided discerning which virtues take precedence over the others. She also has a duty to help those in need when she has the capacity to do so. By omitting to kill the one she thus lets her and her friends die, she would make the immoral decision of not helping her friends, who have the need to not be killed, that otherwise could avoid being killed, if she were to kill the one. Thus, at a second glance it appears that of either decision she can make that neither is moral from either ethical framework. However, there may be a way to reconcile one or both of the frameworks with the current situation so that a moral decision can be derived.

Both virtue ethics and deontology are situated such that they are capable of addressing the nuances of individual situations, so it may be possible to illuminate a virtue or a universal maxim to derive a solution to this moral dilemma. If, a universal maxim could be derived as such that; if required to kill one to save three, then kill one, if and only if, all four sincerely agree to kill one and the one is agreed upon by all four; then kill one to save three. Wherein neither the one being killed, nor the one killing is being treated as a mere means because each is being respected “as a rational person with his or her own maxims” and they are also “seek[ing] to foster other’s plans and maxims by sharing in their ends” (O’Neill, p.  114), the ends being saving three. The problem with this solution however, is that although it has met with all the conditions for the Categorical Imperative, as it is both universalizable and avoids the treatment of anyone as a mere means, it nonetheless reveals that if this specific of a maxim can be morally permissive just because the situation deems it necessary, then the ethical framework is not restrictive enough to delineate between moral and immoral actions. In other words, it does not seem moral to be able to make up laws for each new situation because if it were the case that this was permissible then anything could potentially be rationalized as a moral act.

The outcome of the analysis of these two ethical frameworks, Virtue Ethics and Deontology when applied to the dilemma of kill or let die, has revealed that there is no decision that is more moral right than another. The point of an ethical framework is to help us humans figure out what we ought to do when we encounter dilemmas and however improbable this situation is to arise in most of our lives, it is nonetheless possible. Furthermore, variants of this scenario wherein a group has to decide between killing a minority of the group to save a majority of the group are perhaps more frequent, and in those situations the constraints of this scenario may still hold. This scenario has revealed that when a group is confronted with a situation like this, where a choice has to be made between killing or letting die there is no simple answer, no quick fix, no easy solution, and there may not be a correct answer. What is important to note, is that while these ethical frameworks have proved to be inadequate at deciphering a more morally right choice in this scenario, they nonetheless show that we are morally responsible for our actions and that decision of this magnitude cannot be made lightly.

Works Cited

Aristotle. “Selections from the Nicomachean Ethics.” The Elements of Philosophy:

Readings from Past to Present. Ed. Tamar Szabo Gendler, et al. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 114-127. Print.

Kant, Immanuel. “Selections from Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals.” 1785. The

Elements of Philosophy: Readings from Past to Present. Ed. Tamar Szabo Gendler, et al. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 105-111. Print.

O’Neill, Onora. “A Simplified Account of Kant’s Ethics.” 1980. The Elements of Philosophy:

Readings from Past to Present. Ed. Tamar Szabo Gendler, et al. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 112-114. Print.

Woody, Andrea. Philosophy 100 Lecture. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, November 14, 2013.