Mailvox: the morality of participation

In which BN and I engage in a brief discourse regarding his questions about the moral propriety of accepting government stimulus incentives:

It is my contention that it is wrong (as in objectively wrong in the ‘objective morality is derived from that whole sola scriptura concept’ sense) for individuals to participate in a program like Cash for Clunkers (and take it as obvious that it is wrong for the government to be offering it in the first place). I’m having a hard time getting feedback from folks in my non-web circle (mostly church folks whose opinions on morality I actually have any use for) so thought I’d come to a place where A) I’ll respect the opinions, or at least the worldviews of the people giving the opinions and B) there will be no lack of arguments, either in opposition or support. This topic has been bouncing around in my head for awhile, and was rekindled this morning when I read about your speculation of a potential Cash for Casas or Dollars for Debt down the road. So, in short, is it immoral for an individual to participate in a program like Cash for Clunkers?

No, I don’t think so. Most people don’t have a sufficiently sophisticated understanding of economics to grasp the issues involved. It is, however, very stupid to participate in it if you were not actively planning to buy a new car anyhow, though.

So then, are you saying that if a person does have sufficient understanding of the economics involved than it would be immoral? It mostly became interesting to me because I don’t seem to have a problem being all self righteous and following through on the principle in the case of Cash for Clunkers because it’s just a car… but when I read your Dollars for Debt notion, I caught myself thinking… “Hmm… I might just be able to set the principle aside in this case.”

I think in that case it would at least be possible to make the case for its immorality. I don’t have a strong position on it, not having ever thought the matter through. I think I’ll post it on the blog, and we’ll see what folks think.