You witness a poor person who cannot afford to buy medicines for his daughter suffering from a life-threatening condition, steal some money from very affluent and corrupt person who has earned most of his money through illegal means like demanding bribes and cheating others (I am not implying that rich people are corrupt; just that this hypothetical one is). But no legal action has been taken against him because of his being able to subvert the legal and judicial processes. In the court of law, would you testify to tell the truth that he stole the money? Or would you lie to save the daughter’s life? I will add some more hypothetical conditions:
1. Your word would be taken as absolute truth. So you will not be penalized for lying.
2. That rich person will not persecute you!
3. Somehow you know that the accused person will not steal again, except if a similar need arises, in which case, he would pick a similar affluent and corrupt person.
4. You do not have the option of helping the daughter by donating money yourself.
Let me add a few immediactely apparent ethical issues here. You may certainly point out other issues involved in your comments.
For speaking the truth:
1. Stealing is stealing, and is wrong.
2. Lying is lying, and is wrong.
3. Money is money, to whoever it belongs. “Who am I to judge him guilty of corruption if law-enforcing agencies haven’t done that up till now? It’s wrong to take law in my hands.”
4. This will encourage robbery in the society.
1. To save the daughter’s life.
2. To ensure that the parasite on society gets his due (losing some money). Idealism works only in ideal society. Just because the judicial system has gone corrupt, does not mean the affluent person should not be punished.
3. The amount of money lost by the rich person would be insignificant to him. He would not have even noticed his loss, had the act not been discovered.
4. The law should first penalize the rich man for his crimes, before turning to judging the act of robbery.
I would be glad to know what the readers would do. I will try my best to not contest anyone’s opinions 🙂
I’m also putting up a poll in the left side panel.
PS: The poll has expired.