Morality Is The Quality Of Being Morally Right

1193 WordsMar 3, 20175 Pages
Morality is the quality of being morally right. Thoreau views morality as acting on one’s conscience. Conscience is a faculty that God gives to every man so he can discern between right and wrong. Its verdicts are consistent across different circumstances, and across time. Therefore, morality is absolute. In this section, Thoreau explores ways in which people justify not acting according to their consciences. However, Thoreau maintains the conviction that nothing can excuse withholding what is morally right. Thoreau focuses his point on “patrons of virtue.” A patron of virtue is a person who understands and supports the right, but does not act on what he knows. He introduces this group using a verse, which reads, "A drab of state, a…show more content…
The majority will likely only ‘abolish slavery’ through law when their culture has already deemed it null. Thoreau believes only men who live by conscience can actually abolish slavery. These men show their desires in their votes, but their choices to not need to prevail. These men know that only their individual actions on conscience can cause the change they know is right. Thoreau also believes that expediency cannot substitute for morality. He cites the philosopher William Paley, who claims that “the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other" (79). Paley argues that the morally correct action in any scenario requires only comparing the costs o the actions on either side. Thoreau understands that many apply Paley’s theory to cases dealing with morality, which is evident when he calls Paley “a common authority with many on moral questions” (79). Those who would use Paley’s statement as a way to judge morally correct action would not disown the United States government for its acceptance of slavery, because it would cause “unnecessary” grievance on their own part, and inconvenience to the authorities. However, Thoreau says that Paley’s view only applies where the rule of expediency applies, or where only non-moral questions

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