Santa Is Watching You

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

via Santa Is Watching You.

Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse make the case against Santa Claus:

The trouble with Santa’s surveillance is that it affects our motives. When we know that we are being watched by an omniscient judge looking to mete out rewards and punishments, we find ourselves with strong reasons to act for the sake of getting the reward and avoiding the punishment. But in order for our actions to have moral worth, they must be motivated by moralreasons, rather than narrowly self-interested ones. In short, under Santa’s watchful eye, our motivations become clouded, and so does the morality of our actions.

I’m kind of surprised that the Dish doesn’t elaborate here. I believe morality, a mature morality, should not be based on doing what right in order to get something or avoid punishment. Doing the right things should be a reward in and of itself.

Unfortunately, much of the populace never gets beyond “better not, because you’ll get caught” morality.


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