Friday, November 4, 2011

Collective guilt Pt. 4

In our last post we discussed that a society can "sin" when enough of a society participates in evil.  Even "private" evil such as pornography can have serious effects on the moral consciousness of the whole of society.  As more evil is perpetrated in both private and public spheres, society as a whole is compromised and engages in evil.

But what about the innocent?  As in all societies there are those who abhor the evils engaged in society as a whole.  Surely they are blameless, yes?

Suprisingly the answer is yes and no.  First the yes.  It is true that with regard to the specific act those who do not engage in the action bear no guilt for that action.  One is not held accountable for the actions of another in an overall sense. 

But there is a "no" to the blameless question as well.  This comes in two forms.  The first is the inaction on the part of those who do good. 

How often have we seen evil done by others and failed to correct it when we can?  When we see an evil being performed and "look the other way" or pretend it doesn't happen we are in a sense complicit in the crime.  We do not act to prevent the crime for happening.  The inaction on the part of the individual to resist the evil surrenders to evil. 

But there is another way that the innocent are "implicated" in the crime so to speak.  This stems from the notion of authority.  Just as those in high authority are accountable for the actions of those under their charge those under the authority of another are linked to the one in authority and in a sense accountable for the actions of the superior.

But how is this fair?  And when has this principle ever been applied?  The answer lies at the beginning of mankind's existence, when God breathed life into him.  And is the subject of our next post.

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