Friday, October 28, 2011

Collective Guilt Pt. 3

Continuing from where we left off with we now ask ourselves a question.  Supposing that the actions between two or more people effect each other as stated in the pornography example, why then is this interaction not limited to the participants involved? 

To answer this we can turn to the pornography example yet again.  We see in this case that the producer of pornography intends for his "product" to be seen by as many an possible.  The message that some people can be exploited for pleasure is to be mass distributed.  Likewise the consumer that buys the product agrees with the proposition.  The wider the audience, the more of those who buy into the notion that exploiting people in certain contexts is acceptable.

Once this principle seeps into enough consumers and producers it becomes part of the common culture.  The idea that exploiting people for pleasure becomes acceptable for a significant portion of the population.  The dignity of the human person in societal view is now compromised for a portion of the population. 

Furthermore the proposition of exploitation rests on shaky ground.  Why is it only acceptable in certain contexts?  What makes sensual pleasure the only purview?  Why is "consent" the criterion?  Why not in another capacity for exploitation, such as an employer working his employees to death for little wages?  The employees "consent" to the arrangement via their employment agreements.  Is this not analogous?

Our concepts and societal "values" bleed into other sections of public and private life.  What principles we espouse in private often make their presence felt in the public sphere.  Likewise, public policies have a variety of effects on the private life of individuals.  As such our actions, both private and public, help or hurt society as a whole as well as those closest to us.

Because of these ideas it is possible for a society to collectively "sin."  As individuals we do wrong, which in turn causes harm to society via direct actions as well as the bad principles we espouse to society either direct means or through actions public and private.  Society in turn accepts these principles which leads to sin at a societal level. 

But what about those who resist the evil in society?  Those who would reject pornography and the evil principles that it rests on?  Surely they are not punished for the actions of others?  This we will cover in the next post.

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