Kilroy Was Here
December 28, 2003
Moral negligence
The Cardinal Collective posts about a Muslim football league that had teams named 'Mujaheedan', 'Infitada', and 'Soldiers of Allah'. In defending this practice, CC states:
When judging someone's actions, what's important is the intent, and I think (except for one team) there was no wrong intent.

While intent certainly is important in the moral judgement of actions, it is not the only criteria for judgement. For example, our legal system embodies the idea that there are some actions that are 'morally wrong' but do not have the requisite level of intent. This is the legal concept of 'negligence'.

Negligence uses the 'reasonable person'. If a 'reasonable person' in the same situation would have behaved differently (or more prudently), then the person who commits the act has behaved criminally. For example, the act of killing a person is deemed a crime (though a lesser crime) if it's done negligently, but without the intent of harm.

I think this same idea has great merit in morality as well. In this case, I believe a reasonable person would have realized that giving football teams names that could easily be tied to Mideast terrorism would have caused this level of outrage among some members of the community.

So, while I don't think that the coach's of these teams were severely immoral, in the sense that they knew they'd cause offense but did not care, I would think they were morally negligent . As a result, I think a 'should' argument would apply.
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