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Thread: Are you morally superior to a crack whore?

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    I don’t do illegal drugs and I don’t buy whores.
    Neither of those things make you morally superior.

    Indeed, you are coming off as quite morally defective to me. You have stated that for you, something being illegal is equivalent to being immoral (correct me if I've misinterpreted you), which is an abhorrently immoral to any moderately decent human being. You would only have to critically examine that sentiment for a couple of minutes to (I would hope) come up with basic counter examples.

    For example, suppose this were 1860. Suppose a runaway slave came through my property, and I offered them food and clothing to aid them on their journey.

    I am now a criminal, and in your opinion, I have now acted immorally. I would posit that I have obviously not acted immorally. Of course, you may disagree.

    In any case, a particular cocaine addicted prostitute may in fact engage in immoral behavior, and that behavior may be motivated by their addition, but neither of those properties alone make that person immoral.

  2. Top | #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post

    Is immoral and illegal interchangeable in this discussion? If a prostitute trades sex for money, what bearing do her financial needs have on her crime?

    I'm not sure why trading sex for illegal drugs is considered immoral, even if it is illegal to exchange money for sex. I may have done far worse things than trade sex for drugs.

    How is morality measured?
    Is it not measured by social convention? Certainly though criminal behavior is immoral, IMHO.
    IOW, your moral principles are purely authoritarian. An act is immoral simply because whoever writes the laws declares that is.
    So, you think that every slave who ran away from their master prior to emancipation committed an immoral act. And every person who engaged in gay sex or merely anal sex with anyone had committed an immoral act, if their state had a law against it. Meaning gays were immoral in 2002, if they lived on one side of the street within Maryland borders, but not immoral if they lived across the street in Delaware. Not to mention, there are often cases when laws directly conflict with each other at the local, state, federal, and international level. Maryland law still says sodomy is illegal, but Federal law says it isn't. Are gays immoral at the state level but moral at the Federal level?

    Using infractions against the law as either a neccessary or sufficient condition for immorality leads to a pretty fucked up, arbitrary, unprincipled ethical system. In fact, I would say that doing so is itself an immoral act because it causes serious harm to people. Also, following the law is actually often immoral, because laws themselves are often immoral.

    It is dangerously authoritarian to view breaking the law is inherently immoral. It makes morality not reliably related to causing actual harm to others, because the law is not reliability related to harming others.

  3. Top | #13
    Veteran Member PyramidHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post

    Is immoral and illegal interchangeable in this discussion? If a prostitute trades sex for money, what bearing do her financial needs have on her crime?

    I'm not sure why trading sex for illegal drugs is considered immoral, even if it is illegal to exchange money for sex. I may have done far worse things than trade sex for drugs.

    How is morality measured?
    Is it not measured by social convention? Certainly though criminal behavior is immoral, IMHO.
    IOW, your moral principles are purely authoritarian. An act is immoral simply because whoever writes the laws declares that is.
    So, you think that every slave who ran away from their master prior to emancipation committed an immoral act. And every person who engaged in gay sex or merely anal sex with anyone had committed an immoral act, if their state had a law against it. Meaning gays were immoral in 2002, if they lived on one side of the street within Maryland borders, but not immoral if they lived across the street in Delaware. Not to mention, there are often cases when laws directly conflict with each other at the local, state, federal, and international level. Maryland law still says sodomy is illegal, but Federal law says it isn't. Are gays immoral at the state level but moral at the Federal level?

    Using infractions against the law as either a neccessary or sufficient condition for immorality leads to a pretty fucked up, arbitrary, unprincipled ethical system. In fact, I would say that doing so is itself an immoral act because it causes serious harm to people. Also, following the law is actually often immoral, because laws themselves are often immoral.

    It is dangerously authoritarian to view breaking the law is inherently immoral. It makes morality not reliably related to causing actual harm to others, because the law is not reliability related to harming others.
    The only possible justification I could imagine for the "breaking the law is always prima facie immoral" stance is that no matter what the law says, going against it is going against social stability and making things worse for everyone else. I disagree with this justification and think it can be used to pardon almost anything. Also, it's often the case that social stability is exactly what needs to be disrupted if an immoral situation is to change for the better.

  4. Top | #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidHead View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post

    IOW, your moral principles are purely authoritarian. An act is immoral simply because whoever writes the laws declares that is.
    So, you think that every slave who ran away from their master prior to emancipation committed an immoral act. And every person who engaged in gay sex or merely anal sex with anyone had committed an immoral act, if their state had a law against it. Meaning gays were immoral in 2002, if they lived on one side of the street within Maryland borders, but not immoral if they lived across the street in Delaware. Not to mention, there are often cases when laws directly conflict with each other at the local, state, federal, and international level. Maryland law still says sodomy is illegal, but Federal law says it isn't. Are gays immoral at the state level but moral at the Federal level?

    Using infractions against the law as either a neccessary or sufficient condition for immorality leads to a pretty fucked up, arbitrary, unprincipled ethical system. In fact, I would say that doing so is itself an immoral act because it causes serious harm to people. Also, following the law is actually often immoral, because laws themselves are often immoral.

    It is dangerously authoritarian to view breaking the law is inherently immoral. It makes morality not reliably related to causing actual harm to others, because the law is not reliability related to harming others.
    The only possible justification I could imagine for the "breaking the law is always prima facie immoral" stance is that no matter what the law says, going against it is going against social stability and making things worse for everyone else. I disagree with this justification and think it can be used to pardon almost anything. Also, it's often the case that social stability is exactly what needs to be disrupted if an immoral situation is to change for the better.
    I agree with you. "Social stability" is not itself a moral positive. All moral progress entail social instability. In fact, all progress of any type creates some social instability, such as the theory of evolution and it's social impact. Thus, social instability is arguably negatively correlated with the progress that actually benefits the vast majority of people. This is why the most immoral members of society seeking to cause authoritarian harm to others, usually promote "tradition" and "social stability" as rationales to reject efforts to stop the injustices that that benefit those authorities.

  5. Top | #15
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    I don't judge such people. None of us are perfect and none of us know what we would do if we had the exact same genetic background and environmental influences as someone addicted to a dangerous drug that was supported by sex work.

    So, I guess the best that a society could do for such an individual would be to offer them the supplies and education of what is needed to practice safe sex, offer them rehab, if that's what they would like, offer them a different line of work after rehab if that's what they prefer, and offer them a safe place to use their drugs if they lack the motivation to try and change. So, imo, none of us hold the upper hand when it comes to morality, unless perhaps we are willing and able to help those who are desperate and need help.

    Of course, by the same token, not all of us are capable of not judging others for their faults, so none of us really hold the moral high ground when it comes down to it.

    And, just because something is illegal doesn't necessarily mean that it's immoral. And, just because something is legal, doesn't necessarily mean that it's ethical.

    Ethics are complicated.

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    Where is it written that I have to like everyone? Why can’t I condemn behavior that I believe is both repugnant and immoral, regardless of whether it is illegal or even if everyone else thinks such behavior is OK? I don’t think being a crackwhore is acceptable behavior. I don’t think such people are to be trusted. I’m sorry but I do think people who violate criminal statutes are indeed immoral. We have an ethical duty to comply with the law, at least to the greatest extent we can. I got a parking ticket the other day. It was a minor moral failure on my part.

    And don’t tell me Jesus requires us to like everyone. He didn’t. He lost his temper at the money changers, good on him, I say.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    I’m sorry but I do think people who violate criminal statutes are indeed immoral. We have an ethical duty to comply with the law, at least to the greatest extent we can.
    Of course, you are entitled to believe whatever you want, as long as you accept that by holding that stance, you would have had to return runaway slaves.

    And as a corollary, that normal, moral people will consider you morally abhorrent.

    Also, why do you bring up Jesus here of all places? I think most people in this audience would put very little stock in what Jesus is supposed to have said, according to the gospels.

  8. Top | #18
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    Me: (musing, to Dear Daughter as she passes by the sofa) Are you morally superior to a crack whore?
    DD: Yes.
    Me: (raising eyebrows): Oh?
    DD: I am morally superior to everyone.. I am a SkyBreaker. I am the law.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    I think I'm with Bronzeage on this. I don't see a necessary equivalence with law and morality. Still, I'm uncomfortable with the transactional nature of Bronzeage's questioning. What has transaction got to do with morality?
    Morality is transaction. Morality and moral codes allow us to live in close proximity to one another and not fear we will be murdered in our sleep, or have our possessions taken from us. All cultures and societies have the same foundation of their moral code, which is "Don't kill friends and don't steal a friend's stuff." After that, it's just a very long discussion about who is your friend and what are his property rights.

    Some cultures see a prostitute as a perfectly reasonable occupation and others see it as a threat to social stability. The prostitute's actions are the same in both cultures, but one is moral and one is immoral.

    In this country, there was a time when someone who helped a slave escape their enslavement, could be tried in a court of law and sentenced to prison. Things such as this make it difficult to argue any equivalence between law and morality.

  10. Top | #20
    Contributor repoman's Avatar
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    As atheists many of us have gotten here from different routes. Some of us are still as woowoo as theists on many topics, but are atheists as a reaction to what is seen as authoritarian rules from a fake god.

    Others are more like logic machines and see that the Bible is logically inconsistent and not possible given physics and so on and therefore atheism was not arrived at by emotion as much. But also are a bit authoritarian or at least against extreme anti-authoritarians who think every aspect of all human interactions need to be negotiated from first principles while not putting your and your family's interests first.

    Crack whores are dangerous to be around. Do I really need to list why?

    Theft, sexual diseases at a huge rate, more interactions with police and so on.

    Attempting to help or get on the track of teaching self help to this kind of person is laudable, but if it is not feasible being wary and limiting risk from being around them is sensible and not immoral.

    Maybe that is a better question, is it immoral to avoid crack whores in social situations?

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