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A "1st World" Ethical Dilemma

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by icehorse, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    For the last 17 years or so, my wife and I have devoted ourselves to a couple of projects that we think are making the world a better place. One has to do with teaching hundreds of teachers to teach better, and the other has to do with helping thousands of people learn to treat their horses more humanely (and perhaps gain a little humanity in the process). Every day we do battle with the naysayers. Most people are really stuck in their old ways of doing things and push back aggressively when they learn that perhaps they need to evolve how they do things. It's very draining for us to deal with all the haters day after day after day.

    One of my mental and physical health outlets is golf. (I'm also a golf-crash-test-dummy for some of the cutting edge training approaches we're developing.)

    Here's the thing. My golf clubs are 35 years old. I've spent the last couple of months looking into new clubs and trying various brands and models. By far and away, the clubs that suit me best are called PXG. My ethical dilemma is that the guy who founded PXG, Bob Parsons, has done and defended some dubious things. He shot an elephant, he made the infamous, misogynistic GoDaddy commercials, he was (maybe still is?), a trump supporter.

    So, these golf clubs will make my life better than any other clubs I've found. But I'm not at all sure I want to - even in a tiny way - support Bob Parsons.

    Can I justify buying these clubs on the grounds that my mental health improves my ability to "do good" in the world, and so from a utilitarian perspective, the slight negative of supporting Parsons is maybe outweighed by the positive value of helping me keep my head on straight? Or is that just an elaborate justification on my part :)

    And yes, as the title indicates, I know it's a 1st world problem..
     
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  2. Rival

    Rival Ankh, Wedja, Seneb
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    If you had to stop buying products from shady folks you'd never buy anything.

    Buy them, I say.
     
    #2 Rival, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  3. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    How are you going to help others if you are not in the mental frame of mind to render help?
     
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  4. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I think John Daly summed it up best by golfing a charity round using only his putter. It's not about the clubs, it's about the golf.

    I used to golf (shoulder injury has stopped that) with my son. One day we went out to a local club. I had my trustee Wal-Mart Starter 7 I'd always used. Kid had a used set he'd bought off kijij but were 10 times nicer and newer than mine. We were invited to join the guys in front of us. They had, I'm guessing, $2000 sets of clubs, the shoes, the towels, the whole bit. After the 4th hole they begged off keeping score, as it was evident my son would be 20 shots below them, at least, and me, the old geezer in cheap running shoes with a beater set of clubs, would be competitive. When we came in, they were angry men. Son and I were happy. It's golf, not life.

    Alas, .... do what you will, just a stupid story.
     
  5. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I have a trick which helped me in the past. When I could not make up my mind I'd flip a coin. If my reaction was 'ugh', I'd choose the other option.
     
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  6. Mr Spinkles

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    This is fantastic. :)
     
  7. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    I have similar reservations when I occasionally feel the need to shop at Walmart.

    I would say do it if you feel you must, but do your due diligence to see if there is some other brand that is less ethically compromised that would be comparable to the one you're thinking of getting.
     
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  8. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    This rings of a profundity that I find I lack the words to describe.
     
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  9. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Certainly nothing made in China
     
  10. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Why?
     
  11. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Its the science of Flipism
     
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  12. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    I can only speak for myself, which is not giving any advice whatever. But for me, there are companies that I will not buy from, because I have ethical concerns with them. I figure, if I can't even stand up for my own principles, who will do it for me?
     
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  13. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Your call obviously, but I'm with @Evangelicalhumanist on this one. You can't escape from all dubiousness as @Rival says, but I definitely won't buy from certain companies. In this case - for me - he shot an elephant? There's no way I'd buy a golf ball from that company.
     
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  14. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I'm not a golfer, but:

    - are there other clubs that you'd be okay with, even if they aren't the absolute best?

    - can you find the clubs you want used? That way, none of your money is actually going to Bob Parsons.

    - how would you feel if you did get the clubs new?

    A handy test that helps for me sometimes: flip a coin. Heads you buy the clubs, tails you don't.

    ... but the trick is when you see how the coin landed, think about how you feel about the outcome: do you feel sad ir relieved?

    Often, that works as a tool to get better in tune with our conscience.
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    The degree of shadiness, & the extent to which the
    purchase exacerbates the problem are worth considering.

    Buy the damn clubs, ya gluten free, animal love'n,
    tofu fondle'n, social justice warrior goodie two shoes!
    The best tools aren't to make you better, just happier.
     
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  16. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    In this case, @icehorse, I would buy the clubs. My second wife (who was Japanese) had an expression, used it all the time, "Circumstances are such that...", by which she meant that she was deciding an issue based on what was best given the current set of circumstances, rather than according to some fixed and firm principle. Very Japanese, I think. Very Buddhist.

    But you know, my secretary of the time -- who was much wiser than my wife, and again, wiser than me -- once told me (with just a hint of exasperation and rebuke for me in her voice). "You always try to decide what's right, Boss. I don't try to do what's right or wrong. I try to do what's best."

    Icehorse, in my opinion, circumstance are such that buying the clubs is your optimal course of action.
     
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  17. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Nothing wrong with buying some toys for yourself.
     
  18. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Buy a set used, from someone else. That way you are not contributing to Parsons. Someone else may have, and you can't change that. But at least you will not be.
     
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  19. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Well-Known Member
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    Exactly.

    I'd be far more concerned with stuff that you buy possibly coming from sweat shops, such as the stuff you get from Walmart...

    Ideological disagreements don't really mean a whole lot when compared to actual slavery.
     
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  20. Labourwave

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    See if you can get them resale.
     
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