Companies that fund immoral causes?

I agree with your thoughts.

But even then - if you take things to extremes - you can still conjure up problem areas.

Let’s say he buys seeds or fertilizer from XYZ company. Or a tractor from ABC company. And they match employee gifts. And an employee donates to PP…

Living in the extremes make life impossible.

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So you mean that if this percentage is under a certain limit then it’s ok, but if it was notably higher then it would be immoral to buy at Starbucks? But that would mean (assuming that Starbucks was indeed funding PP) that you’re allowed to buy only during some years, until your total contribution start to be too high.
Also, there is the fact that, even if your contribution is tiny in itself, together with other peoples contributions it amounts to a big sum (in the same way that your single vote in an election is not much, but it still carries moral weight because you know that together with the other votes it will have important consequences).

That’s also what I thought. However, I have a doubt because of the principle of double effect. According to this principle, even if an act is not in itself immoral, you don’t have the right to do it if you know it will have a bad consequence, unless you know it will also have a proportionally equal good consequence. However, in cases where buying at a company results in a reasonably large amount of money going to immoral causes (whether you consider your own money alone, or together with other peoples contributions), then there is hardly a proportionally good consequence (except when it’s a product you absolutely need, like basic clothes or food).

If I had to sit around doing this kind of analysis on everything I bought all day then it would be impossible to live my life.

Do you actually reason through your every purchase like this, or is this just a mental exercise for you?

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No, when I purchase I act normally, like everyone else. It’s just that I try to understand how this behaviour is compatible with the principle of double effect.

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This is an interesting discussion. It is one thing to overthink whether you should buy a cup of coffee. I don’t think you should overthink the coffee, but being an employee is a far far different matter.

For the sake of a friendly discussion Father, I’m going to disagree with you on this one or at least ask for more clarification. My life experience working for years in industry showed me that a couple dozen good employees (e.g. engineers and mangers) in a company can make or break a company of thousands. Sometimes a couple dozen employees really do hold all the cards. This is especially true in technology. For this reason, I actually think the responsibility of an employee is very high as to how the technology they’ve worked on is used.

I know that this is not a typical view of industry. The typical view is that the employees are just cogs in a gigantic wheel. It often doesn’t work that way though from my experience.

How do you see this?

Your experience is all well and good, but I’m talking about this from the standpoint of the principles of morality and what constitutes licit or illicit cooperation. Catholic moral thought is not consequentialist. What you say would have to be taken into account in determining whether someone’s cooperation was morally licit or illicit, i.e. to what degree does an individual play a role in the action being done. But that doesn’t contradict my analysis.


So Father it is ok to bypass Susan G. Koleman (because they give to PP) events & still support breast cancer research through companies and organizations that are much more Christian-wise friendly?
I do the same by giving locally to our Diocesan home for unwed mothers & local foodbanks and skip the American Red Cross & Salvation Army.

I’m still definitely giving to a worthy causes but being selective of who I give my money to for that cause.

Thanks for the interesting response. I think about this type of thing regularly…perhaps not with a baseball analogy though :face_with_monocle:.

So take for example Robert Oppenheimer, his contributions led to a successful Manhattan project. While the A-bomb is the “consequence” of his research, what Catholic moral thought would say is that he is not responsible for every misuse of this technology throughout history. Instead his contribution is very complicated and requires significant analysis. Did I get that right? I’ve read about Oppenheimer and studied him. He struggled deeply with the consequences of what he did.

Do other religions (Christian or not) have a moral thought that is more consequentialist than Catholicism? Any good “intro” books on the subject?

Right! In oder to avoid anything that violates your morals you’d have to be 100% self sufficient. Building your own home from scratch, using materials from scratch, welding together your own automobile, knitting seat belts, finding another source of gasoline, making your own clothes, growing all your own food and meat…

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