Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is Being Kind Always Morally Good?

You see a speed trap set up for the folks in the other lane. Do you flash your lights and alert them? If so, was it a good act?

You get nothing from it. It was a purely other-directed action. The desire was to keep those folks on the other side from getting an expensive ticket, higher insurance, being late to where they are going, in any number of ways keeping their life from being more unhappy than it need be. It is a thoughtful, caring gesture to help out a stranger.

At the same time, you are helping out a stranger who is doing something wrong. Speeding makes the probability of an accident higher and in the case of the accident more dangerous. You are helping them, but that help is helping them get away with something.

So is this act, which clearly is one of random kindness, a morally good thing?