April 13, 2015 by Liberty
A reader was arguing with me the other day. He was making the case that not all cops are bad people.
That is a case that I find very irritating. Cops are legally required to do unethical things like lock up victimless criminals. People that become cops are forced to agree to do those unethical things. That means these cops are voluntarily choosing to do unethical things for their career. If they don’t do those unethical things, they end up being liars for not doing what they’ve agreed to do. Becoming a cop is the decision to be unethical.
This often leads to some crazy response like “doing bad things doesn’t make him a bad person.” That makes me a tad bit woozy to think about. If we’re not judging people for what they do, we end up having absolutely nothing to judge these people by. It’s kind of like saying that we can’t judge anyone ever. If that’s the case, how can we lock up murderers and rapists? How could we judge them if we can’t judge the cops? Ultimately, that’s a really stupid path. Fortunately, this reader took it in a more interesting direction.
I’m paraphrasing here but he said, “Let’s say he didn’t realize how unethical his job was when he joined. It wasn’t until after he arrested some victimless criminals that he realized it. Of course, that doesn’t alleviate all responsibility but it shouldn’t make them a downright bad person. After realizing it’s a bad job, he ends up having to stay because he has school loans and his family to pay for. If he chose to quit his job and let his children go hungry, that would be pretty bad too.”
While this began to feel a little like a lifeboat scenario, I figured I’d enjoy indulging myself a little.
I tend to start with the assumption that everyone is partially responsible for every situation. (Not necessarily every individual event.) If you get a genetic disease at 30 years old. That might be something you’re not responsible for (blame your parents.) If you don’t have health insurance and die earlier than you have to from it, you’re responsible for that.
Most people would agree with my statement when described like that. (I do realize some of the words are broad. That makes it pretty hard to argue or agree with.)
There is more responsibility in this situation though. Before 30 years old, you could have got tests for many genetic diseases. If you learned you were predisposed for that genetic disease, you could have probably treated or prepared yourself in advance. That could have increased your lifespan farther. That means, you’re responsible for any time lost because of your lack of preparation. While most of the responsibility may be gone, a hair of it remains.
You can remove even more responsibility if you’d like. Let’s say a twelve year old child gets a genetic disease. They, of course, have significantly less responsibility than the 30 year old. The odds of them getting themselves health insurance (or them convincing their parents to get it) is much smaller. In most practical applications its not worth considering but we’re talking lifeboat scenarios here, so screw practical. That child is the slightest bit responsible for lost life from poor treatment.
Now let’s take a 6 year old. Considering brain development, that 6 year old would be much less than ½ as responsible for early death from that genetic disease.
Again, this is not practically applicable but if a 6 year old has less responsibility than a 12 year old then the 12 year old MUST have some responsibility. If a 3 year old has less responsibility than a 6 year old then the 6 year old MUST have some responsibility. Now, I wouldn’t be blaming them anymore than I’d blame a butterfly for a hurricane around the world but some responsibility almost always exists.
Evils Of Ignorance
Lets return to our “good” cop that just wants to feed his family and pay off his students loans.
As much as we all like to think that people just randomly end up in bad spots in life, that’s almost never true. People make thousands of decisions everyday. Those decisions significantly alter their future. You can’t dismiss this cops decision not to consider the morality of his job.
It’s very likely that this cop was once a child watching cop shows on television. The cops are rarely made out to be bad people (unless they are in internal affairs. Then they’re devious.) As a child, the child probably chose to watch these cop shows. He could have changed it to whatever he wanted. (I’m going to leave out my probably for a bit because it will get quite repetitive to say.) Growing up, he could have researched cops more in depth. He chose not to. Heck, this person worked all the way through his schooling without once considering the ethics of becoming a cop. I hate to inform you but that’s borderline evil.
What if a toy maker said, “Oh my god! Arsenic kills children? My god… I’ve been making toys with it for years. If I’d have known that…”
I certainly wouldn’t be sympathizing with this guy. You don’t have to dig very deep to see arsenic is poison. This toy maker figured the children’s health wasn’t worth 10 seconds of his research time.
Finding information of the immorality of cops doesn’t take that much longer. Imagine: this cop didn’t consider the morality of something he idolized for decades.
Lets dismiss this responsibility though…
Now that the cop has seen that the job he has chosen to do is immoral, and you know his responsibilities with loans and his children, you can’t immediately dismiss his responsibility to quit.
When you make a mistake ethically, you have a responsibility to stop doing the unethical. As soon as this cops realizes he’s unethical, he should be willing to explore every possibility to stop.
Cops don’t get paid a fortune. Sure, it’s a good job but he could probably quit his job and make at least half of the money he was making before. Maybe that’s not enough money to feed his family and pay his bills but quite frankly, if someone choses to imprison good people (steal them from their family,) instead of letting their credit hit the crapper, they are AGAIN unethical. Sure, not paying your loans is bad but imprisoning someone is much much worse.
Again though, let’s toss that responsibility out the window.
Why did he not prepare to be without a job in the first place?
Some people live paycheck to paycheck. If they get fired or quit, they end up going hungry. Others, making the same incomes, have packed away enough in savings that anything short of a dollar collapse wouldn’t make them sweat for years. He could have saved more money before college. He could have learned to live with less. He could have chosen to wear condoms instead of having children. He could have done any of a million things to put himself into a position where this practicality of the decision would be easy.
He chose not to.
Preparing For Everything!
I know… You can’t prepare for anything. You can, however, prepare for almost everything.
The problem in this cop scenario is simply a money problem. If the cop were to have another ten thousand dollars, he could probably get himself out of it.
The funny thing is, that extra ten thousand dollars could have saved the cop in hundreds of different ways. What if the cop got injured off the job and couldn’t work? It would save him. What if he needed to buy a new security system? It would save him. What if he had to bribe a judge? Again, it would have saved him.
The cop doesn’t have to prepare for everything individually in life. The vast majority of problems can be prepared for by dealing with a few major areas in life. Money is one of those areas. (That money probably shouldn’t be exclusively fiat though.)
Bad things happen in life. Those that don’t prepare for those bad things are accepting that they’ll have to compromise in later decisions.
That cop chose to be unethical repeatedly when he decided not to take responsibility for his own life.
Do you want to know those major areas that can prepare you for almost anything in life? Well, that’s what I’ll be getting to in a later post. Ka-pow! I love a teaser.
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