Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Ethics of Information

Hello Juniors!

Please read the following articles and respond to the question below in a comment. Thank you!

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/books/review/on-the-kazan-front.html?_r=0

https://theamericanscholar.org/the-director-who-named-names/#.WK3k6G8rI2w

Question:

When information concerns national interests it can transcend the idea of an individual having a single will. Where is the right and the wrong in the situation described in each of the articles? Was it right of Kazan to report on his friends, former friends, and colleagues as alleged communists/sympathizers? Or was it more ethically questionable if he was motivated by exclusively self-interest? Is the issue ultimately more complicated than simply a right/wrong set of boundaries for thinking? Comment below.

18 comments:

  1. Kazan's decision to turn over the names of the communists he knows is unequivocally wrong. Even children will tell you that ratting out your friends is a large taboo. However, Kazan wasn't in a position to choose whether or not not to hand over his friends. He would have ended his career, where he was still yet to make some of his most successful movies if he had. Fines or even jail time were also very distinct possibilities for him. Rather than make a moral decision, he choose to protect his own livelihood. This is a logical choice for him, as according to the articles, "He didn’t really believe in principles." The HUAC was corrupt and unconstitutional, and while Kazan's bad actions aren't and shouldn't be justified, his decision was logical and not really deserving of punishment either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kazan's decision to tell the names of people he knew who were in the communist party was morally wrong. Some may say he needed to do that in order to save his career, however this is not true. The American Scholar article states "Because the blacklist never had much effect on Broadway, Kazan could have defied the committee and continued to direct plays, remaining successful and well paid without selling out his former comrades." Therefore Kazan could have continued to direct plays but not movies. So I guess it makes some sense why he did what HUAC wished of him-so he could continue to make movies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kazan had to confess to HUAC in in order to save his career which is wrong and unfair. No one should have to tell what they are doing, to keep their job, even though the article states that Broadway was not greatly affected it does state that " if he failed to satisfy HUAC; his movie career would be over." Kazan confessed to HUAC to save his endangered career in movie making.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When Kazan gave up the names of his friends, former friends, and colleagues, he was looking to protect himself in a difficult situation. There was massive amounts of pressure put on anyone affiliated with the communist party. Kazan felt that in order to preserve his flourishing career, he needed to present names of guilty people other then himself to insure it would not harm his reputation. The HUAC was certainly a corrupt committee, as it forced people like Kazan to throw others under the bus. It was not morally okay for Kazan to use the names of other to save his own, but he was one among many who did so. It seemed to be the only choice for many during a time of fear and accusation, but it still was not morally sound. It is more complicated than right and wrong given what was happening in the era.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It was not morally right for Kazan to give up names to HUAC. It was also not morally right for HUAC to force him to give up names so he wouldn't lose his career. When Kazan went in front of HUAC and gave up names, it was completely about himself and not losing his career. The whole issue is more complicated than right or wrong. HUAC was trying to protect the country, but they were corrupt. Kazan was trying to save himself, but many others were doing the exact same thing. Both sides have rights and wrongs, but right or wrong is always a matter of opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wrong and right decisions/choices can be debatable, and it really depends on the person asked because everyone has their own belief system on what is wrong and what should be considered right. Because Kazan gave up the names of his friends and his colleagues to HUAC, many can argue about how this is morally wrong, and dishonorable but to others, this case can be argued as doing the right thing and giving out "communist" names, a source of information. Kazan only initially spewed out names because it was in his own self interest to protect himself first and his career, rather than going to jail or being further investigated and persecuted.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. When Kazan reported that his friends/colleagues were sympathizers of communism to the HUAC, he was being a narcissist and only thinking about how his career would be impacted during that situation. He only cared about his career at that moment in time, rather then the well-being of his friends/colleagues. This right or wrong situation all depends on how the person is thinking at the time of the incident. Either way it all depends on the type of person to chose whether to throw your friends under the bus or to throw yourself under the bus. People will never understand why Kazan made that choice until they are thrown into the same situation and have to act fast.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kazan's decision to report friends and other names was morally/ethically wrong, no matter how you look at it, although it is more than just a "right/wrong" question. There are many aspects and layers to it. Although it is ethically wrong, people will do what they have to do to save and protect themselves. It's part of human nature.A lot of times we do what is best for ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It wasn't morally right for Kazan to reveal the names of his friends and colleges but he was in a tough situation and needed to protect himself and his career like most people would do. In the situation he was in, it was the right choice, he didn't want to risk losing his job

    ReplyDelete
  12. When Kazan decided to report his friends to save himself, I was able to relate to it, it was the wrong thing to do, but in his situation, it as totally expected. I have not personally done that, but I can see the natural human reaction occur. He wasn't to keep himself safe, from losing his job. Kazan knew in his gut it was the wrong thing to do, but he did it anyways. Its natural.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Kazan's decision to reveal his friends, former friends, and colleagues as suspected Communists to protect his reputation and job is ultimately more complicated than describing the situation as right or wrong. Many people would say it was unethical to reveal suspected Communists because it was for his own self-interest. I believe that many people would not admit that they would do the same thing as Kazan to protect their own jobs.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I do not think it was right for Kazan to give up the names of his friends and former colleagues because in order to "save" his own life he had to ruin the lives of others. Although what they had done in the past may not have been good, many of them had moved on and it was unfair of him to bring them back down. This is a complicated issue that has many layers even though it was morally wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kazan's decision to tell HUAC was right for his career but unfair to his friends. Kazan was too worried about ruining his career while Miller strengthened his career by standing up to HUAC and writing The Crucible.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It was wrong for Kazan to expose his friends in order to save himself. Lot's of people believed that he wasn't a good person and when he won his Oscar away, some said that "they're giving him an award for being a great director, not a great human being."

    ReplyDelete
  17. Kazan's decision to tell the names of his friends to the HUAC was immoral because it was an act of selfishness towards keeping his carrier intact. Kazan believed that betraying his friends would keep his carrier as a director in Hollywood and Broadway. However, The American Scholar article on Kazan writes, "Because the blacklist never had much effect on Broadway, Kazan could have defied the committee and continued to direct plays, remaining successful and well paid without selling out his former comrades." He could have easily refused to tell the names of his friends while also keeping his carrier intact

    ReplyDelete
  18. I believe Kazan was morally wrong in reporting on his friends to HUAC because,It was about self preservation and not the actual benefit of the other people.(Similarly to the the crucible and people shifting blame to save themselves.) Being a former member of the party and knowing about its beliefs he would (in theory) understand the thinking, and not feel as threatened by it. In my opinion he was afraid to stand up against the court during a time of persecution and ignorance based fear.As a result his friends suffered.

    ReplyDelete