Thursday, December 20, 2012

Can Group Actions Be Immoral?

I really can't come to a a conclusion about a moral quandary: Is it immoral for a group to interrupt a wedding, for their own advantage (of course), when another time could still serve their purposes? Why is it a moral quandary? Because it might not be possible for a group to act immorally.

When does "just taking orders" fail to provide a moral get-out-of-jail-free card? Can an organization really act in an immoral way and does that give the organization defacto - and possibly legally - personhood like corporations, or are immoral acts always the responsibilities of individuals?

In the USA's Uniform Code of Military Justice, an enlisted person or officer, has a legal out, if he or she disobeys an illegal order - and a duty. But disobeying an unlawful order is a judgement call, and it puts you at the mercy of a superior or a court martial.

And when police officers obey unconstitutional or illegal or plainly immoral orders, then they might just be obeying some unwritten rules, like: "You better go along to get along - and getting along is us getting your back." Or: It's just fun being a member of the LEO class." Also, there is comfort in groupthink. A police raid on a wedding to arrest someone with a warrant seems more moral for the individual cop, because the guilt is spread among the raiding officers.

So if groups can't act immorally, because they don't posses personhood, then it is the duty of the individual to act above statute, regulation, orders, or groupthink.

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