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The Moral Worthiness
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“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Jesus, Matthew 7:12)
But if Pat decides to follow this path, she would ultimately damage herself by being also laid off from work. That is the dilemma that she is in now. What is the moral worthiness of this dilemma if it is damaging to your wellbeing? According to the utilitarian principles, you have to judge your moral actions in accordance with the utility they bring to you (Rawls, 1971). In this case Pat, in disclosing the information that her boss told her in private would damage herself. Then, this is an immoral act, not a moral one. She has no power on the decision made by the board of directors of the company to lay off 200 workers, nor has she the power to select who is going to be laid off. Thus, Pat has no responsibility over this decision. It would be not a moral act, but an immoral act to reveal her friend. Pat is responsible primarily for her wellbeing. That is the most important thing if we refer to utilitarian principles. By revealing the information she will damage her wellbeing. What is the point then of damaging yourself and not even stopping the lay off from work of your friends?
Pat is fully aware that there is no utility in that action, but… will the revealing of this information help her friend in any form? The Golden Rule principles of ethics do teach us that we might help others even by doing things that we do not consider relevant. Her friend told her in confidence that her closing on the new house she bought was for next week. If she was to be laid off, the acquiring of that information could give her time to take necessary measures in order to avoid the negative consequences for her house payment.
Pat is fully aware that if she was to be in her place would have asked (and expected) from her the same behavior; tell the truth, whichever that be. That is also utilitarian because if you are to be in a similar situation you would like other help you. So, why not share the information with some close friends with the hope this would help?