Morality and ethics are a byproduct of a society trying to make money off your existence. It’s just not good business to murder, rape or act like savages. Civility was born out of the powerful wishing to control the conquered masses. You can’t exactly tax people if they’re always fighting and raping and killing each other. Again, it’s just not good business. So you set up some rules and laws creating a certain code of conduct, a Hammurabi’s Code if you will.
Out of these rules of control we developed ideas about what it is to be a moral and civilized society. Each society of the past had about the same types of rules, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t be a hassle to your overlords, etc., most of the penalties for breaking the rules was death. Plus when religion got into the whole moral code thing, along with a physical death you could wind up in hell. Societies quickly fell into line.
Right up until today that is. Recently some viral footage of several teenagers assaulting the hell out of another teenager in a Chicago back alley surfaced on the internet. This video shows the human animal at its most base form. A greedy, vicious animal bent on taking whatever it wants because it’s strong enough to take it from someone weaker. There’s outrage over this video all over the news and internet demanding the teenagers be brought to justice. I agree that the teens should be brought to justice. I think they should receive the stiffest penalty possible (save death) along with their parents or guardians who provided the moral vacuum for these little beasts to fester.
I question what justice is in this matter. Since one of the assailants posted the video themselves, looking for some kind of approval from their peers, shouldn’t justice then be something done to the assailants also shown over the internet? To show that dumb kid’s peers that this kind of violence is not how things are done in an ordered and civilized society. But then, what would that do?
Should punishment of the offenders go viral? I’m not sure locking the bad guys in stocks in the town square was ever really a deterrent to crime. There are always those that willingly and wantonly skirt the laws of society for their own personal gain. Public hangings were large draws for the public, but lawlessness continued.
It makes me wonder if humans are merely designed to constantly bash their heads against the desires of personal gain over the betterment of all mankind. A civilized society controls the bad eggs, the ones that don’t wish to participate in the betterment of us all, with laws and a code of ethical morality. But true enforcement of those laws is up to us. It’s up to us to demand safer streets. It’s up to us to demand a better life for the downtrodden. It’s up to us to try and rise against our baser animal desires and do what we can for the prosperity of our species. Just like the early societal leaders wanted.
Or bow before your new oppressor with a new code of morality.