Democracy or tyranny?
We all have role models in our lives. There are people we look up to, or people we model ourselves after. Who are yours, and why?
There can be many things a person might do to earn your appreciation.
Some people idolize sports figures. In particular, sports figures who have a larger impact than in the arena of athletics. If someone can kick, throw, or hit a ball well, they might be a star. But if they also donate to charity, speak up for underprivileged communities, or otherwise use their platform to try and make the world a better place, they might earn even more fans.
Musicians, through their music, might speak to common issues, and do so in a particularly compelling way. Someone who observes the human condition and can effectively communicate it to others is worthy of praise. That also might describe authors, or artists in general.
Celebrities, religious figures, politicians, and other people who are in the public eye also can be role models.
And, or course, there are people who are not otherwise famous, but who might have a big impact on you: a parent, say, or a teacher. A friend, family member, or mentor.
Is there anyone who you would classify as a role model? What traits do you think are necessary in one?
Related questions: What is the kindest thing someone has done for you? What gives a person value? How much power does an individual have? Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? Who was your best teacher?
When a tragedy occurs, we often hear pleas for justice for the victims. This raises a difficult question: Just what, exactly, is justice?
Ideally, perhaps, justice should mean the application of the law. We want to see our laws applied evenly to all, regardless of class, race, political party, or income. But what if the law itself is unjust?
More generally, we want people to be held accountable for their actions. But what “accountable” means can vary from person to person. What one person thinks is fair and just, another may think is too harsh, or too lenient.
Does the victim’s opinion on what exactly is considered just for the crime committed against them matter? What if the opinion of the victim does not match what society as a whole believes?
From a legal standpoint, the victim’s opinion might be taken into account, but the victim does not get to make the final decision on what is just. That is up to a jury and a judge. However, if a jury and judge come to a conclusion, but the victim does not feel that justice has been served, has it?
Justice is an important concept in our society. There is even an entire federal organization, the Department of Justice, whose sole job is to see that justice is done. But what recourse is there if people feel that fairness is not being achieved?
Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? Where does authority come from? How much power does an individual have? When should you not follow the law? What is the purpose of incarceration?
In general, most people think of themselves as good people. But what does that mean, exactly? Does being a good person mean that most of the actions you take are good ones?
As the saying goes, everyone is the hero of their own story. The actions we take make sense to us, given our own experiences and knowledge.
Even the best person is bound to do bad things occasionally. Does the number of bad actions make someone a bad person? What about the percentage of bad to good acts?
Then there is the issue of intent. To what extent does intent play a part in determining a good person form a bad one?
For example, let’s imagine that someone steals something. Stealing is wrong. But what if you steal, say, a loaf of bread to feed a starving family member? The theft may still be a bad action, but does the purpose — to provide for your family — ease the severity of the bad act?
A lie to save someone’s feelings, robbing from the rich to give to the poor, or exaggerating on a resume to get a job. These all seem like minor infractions that serve a greater good. Or do they? Is this just moral relativism, a mental trick to justify whatever actions we want?
It might seem simple and straightforward to think good people do good things, and bad people do bad things. But that would seem to suggest that all of life is just an accounting exercise. Track every action, every thought, every saying. If your final tally ends up on the proper side, you are a good person. Is that realistic?
In summary, do you think you are a good person? What does it mean to be a good person?
A zoo can be the first exposure that a person has to animals from around the world. This might make them more aware of the ecosystem and our place in it. Alternately, is it moral to take an animal from it’s natural habitat, and keep it in a small enclosure?
Is it better to have zoos or no zoos?
Share why if you wish.