Saturday, June 07, 2008
Q: You are rushing your guardian to the airport. You beat the red light. The traffic officer stops you. Will you bribe?
A: I will not bribe a traffic enforcer for the sake of being released from my red light violation. Even if my own reason for such a violation is valid for me, i.e. rushing my guardian to the airport, this personal reason does not merit the gravity of the idea of bribe. Bribing is a manifestation of buying one’s principles and granted that the person declines the offer, the very attempt is an insight into the lack of morality on my part, that I do not consider the person dignified. If the person, on the other hand, accepts the offer, it provides an insight into the lack of his own morality, so there’s already the two of us having amoral complicity. Whichever of the two scenarios gets realized, it does not outweigh the relatively more complicated yet less morally taxing decision to resort to contingency plans. In order to make it to the airport, my guardian can take a public vehicle, probably a taxi to bail her out of unnecessary burdens. Also, we can call somebody else to transport her. There are other ways besides, but it does not have to be as criminally liable as corrupting authorities.
Seeming insignificant decisions like bribing actually gets magnified once the idea is linked to the corruption not only of money but also of the soul. Since the greed for money is the root of all evils, a susceptible traffic officer transforms into an evil and I become an active participant to this transformation. Resorting to bribing, meanwhile, makes me amoral because apart from acquiring the idea that I can get away with many things with money, I likewise do not consider the corruptive consequences of my action. This is the height of moral decadence. A susceptible officer might further explore his reaction’s possibilities, and as long as he does not get caught and eventually reprimanded, he might continue with the setup until there is not enough remorse to save him from corruption’s consumptive power. Corollarily, as long as I can explore my action’s possibilities, I will continue with my setup until I become deaf to the screams of my wounded conscience. The persons I will corrupt, and the persons my bribed officer will extort from will be inextricable in the web of this moral degradation.
There is so much evil in the world now and I figure that these must have just been the gradual accumulation of tiny sins that seem trivial and, hence, uncorrected. Even as traffic regulations in the Philippines appear as if they are mere suggestions instead of laws, they and their enforcers should be taken seriously for once so that they won’t cause cumulative destruction of the human soul.