There have been times in my life when I have had to make a decision where I’m not entirely sure if it’s the right thing to do. Like helping a friend to cheat in a test in school or letting a friend copy homework or helping out someone with work that they should technically be doing by themselves or (a more extreme example) helping someone hide from the law because they are being framed.
It’s at times like this when I’m not sure if what I’m doing is wrong or right, that I wish I had an actual, physical, moral compass to help guide my way through it all.
Now please bear in mind that when I talk about doing good, I mean being morally good not lawfully good. The reason why I say this isn’t because I don’t believe in the law, but because there are cases where the system is flawed. For example, take the war on drugs and the zero tolerance policy they have in some countries. In some cases, it makes sense, you want to prevent the distribution of a harmful substance after all. But in some cases it doesn’t; say you had a case with a drug user and a drug cartel leader. The user is harming themselves and may resort to unlawful activities like stealing to feed their habit. On the other hand, the drug cartel leader has probably murdered a number of people. Two very different crimes right? But in some countries and in some cases, the law will treat both cases as the same and deal out similar punishments. Why? Because they both involve drugs.
Or, let’s take the incident where US president Donald Trump had decided to ban all people from the Middle East from coming into America for a time. He did this because he thought by banning them, he is preventing terrorists from coming into the US. But this is completely untrue and unfair. Saying all Arabs are terrorists and thus criminals, is a blatant racist lie, and treating them as such is a violation of human rights. Every country, has extremists, you can’t just bunch people under a label just because they belong to a particular organisation, that’s ludicrous.
There are always situations where you are not sure what the right thing to do is. Should you shelter this person who is on the run? Or should you avoid them and thus avoid any trouble?
Or let’s take a more simple example, you see a co-worker stealing office supplies. Later you find out that they are doing this because their child needs the supplies to build a model for their school project, and they simply can’t afford to spend their own money on buying the supplies. What do you do? Stealing is wrong, but at the same time they aren’t doing it maliciously, they never did it before and they may probably never do it again. Do you report them or leave it alone?
If it were just my decision then I may leave it alone, only because it isn’t a major crime per se, provided it is not being done on a regular basis. But I would still have it on the back of my mind for a long time because I’m not sure whether I should or shouldn’t report. It’s times like these where a moral compass would be helpful, because it could tell me what I should do.
Thinking about it, this post is just me saying I’m too lazy and scared to make these difficult decisions and I want something to tell me what to do. So in a way I’m glad a physical moral compass doesn’t exist, after all these types of things are completely ambiguous and no one can truly say if something is right or wrong until after the fact. But there is still a part of me that does wish such a thing existed, if only because then I might make less mistakes in my life and I don’t have to agonise over whether I’m doing the right thing or not.
Anyway that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you have a nice day ahead.