I may define Morality as codes of conduct that are put together by a society, group of people or even religion. These codes are meant to enhance good co-existence with one another in that particular setting. Each individual is at least linked to some moral values set either by their authority or even by their religion. Without morals, indeed the world would not be a worthy place to be as there will be friction among people that may eventually lead to fights and wars. I thus totally agree with Pojman’s perception on the importance of a society having its moral values set.
Going against the codes of ethics of a particular place may have severe consequences to the victim as well as the society.Most people who do not live per the standards required by the society tend to cause commotion with the society. There are several vices that different people involve themselves in that are signs of immorality. These vices have harsh outcomes. For instance, Prostitution is a habit that most people regard as uncouth. When one leaves the house and goes ahead to air themselves in the streets, they stand a risk of causing a lot of harm both to themselves and their families as well. A prostitute will leave the family and head to accomplish the errands. However, the family remains lonely with the absence of the person. The children have no time to share with their parents, to cuddle and bond. This thus reduces the relationship that a child may have with a parent. In addition, prostitution may cause a huge trouble to the spouse. This is because the person may get infections that as a result are transferrable to the spouse. This may after all be a hazard to the entire family. This implies that prostitution, which is an immoral act, has a bad aftermath rather than a good one.
In addition, theft and robberies are other immoral acts that have grown to encompass the entire nation. This is the taking of someone’s possession without consulting, asking or even by force. It has many repercussions. For instance, it will lead to someone losing his goods in an inappropriate manner. This will hurt the victim as all the energy that they used to acquire the good shall have gone to waste. The thief also is at a risk of losing much of his lifetime by spending it in prison if caught by the relevant authority. This thus shows that both the victim and the perpetrator are at a risk of suffering because of the immoral behaviors of the society.
Lastly, Pojman’s thesis gives a more typical example of an immoral behavior by the use of the Gyges story. Indeed most of us would do just as he did. We would kill the king, marry their wives, and take over leadership despite the fact that we may not be able to possess the qualities of a leader. Can we imagine how the empire turned out after a while with Gyges on the throne? Of course, most of the injustices took charge and the empire was at a threat of losing themselves because of this.
Many a people may claim that to some extent immorality may be cool. They claim that for instance with the lack of employment and the high cost of living, at times it forces a person to venture into these vices as prostitution and robbery or theft. However, not all these problems should be addressed in this way. There is no way that a problem would be solved by causing another problem or as Plato said, “a hole is never filled by digging another hole”
There should never be a reason to engage in any immoral activities. The harsh economic times should not be an excuse to fulfill the selfish desires of any individual. There are several ways of making ends meet that are within the boundaries of the ethnic codes. For instance, you could engage in odd jobs that are manual and that may not need extreme skills to perform. These jobs are always available for contracts. This could help source for your living as well as consume the idle time that could otherwise be directed to the immoral acts of theft and prostitution among others.
So then the question, “why must I be moral?” This as explained above can be answered by saying morality helps us to create social contracts. As a result, peace prevails and the society is always in control when peace is in the air. Also by being moral, you sacrifice your selfish advantages that may come as a result of short term effects and opting to go at a disadvantage for the benefits of all the people that are associated with you. This should always drive us according to Pojman’s thesis that, ‘Even when it seems that I can break moral rules without being caught, I still need to consistently follow them because, although an individual moral act may sometimes be at odds with my self-interest, the complete moral form of life in which the act is rooted is not against my self-interest’.
Burnor, Richard, and Yvonne Raley. Ethical choices: an introduction to moral philosophy with cases. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Marino, Gordon Daniel. Ethics: the essential writings. Modern Library pbk. ed. New York: Modern Library, 2010.
Pojman, Louis P., and James Fieser. "CHAPTER 5: SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY AND THE MOTIVE TO BE MORAL." In Ethics: discovering right and wrong. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2009. 70-79.