“Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.” Mahatma Gandhi
SEL Connection-Think about the opportunities students have each day to intervene or not intervene situations when somebody is doing something wrong in broad daylight. It could be a student bullying another or cheating on a test, or even just criticizing somebody for no good reason. In all of these cases there are spectators who must decide if they should intervene. School is a moral battleground of good versus evil and our students are the core actors and actresses in this drama.
(1) Claim: Most of the time moral goodness is seen as something we attain by direct action and cooperation. Gandhi makes an interesting remark here. We have an equal moral duty to not cooperate in the service of evil. This takes strength of character to be sure. History is replete with examples. Consider the soldiers in Nazi Germany who folded under the pressure of their superiors and carried out inhumane orders against prisoners as just one example of people falling short of this ideal.
(2) Counterclaim: Gandhi has a strong point here. But is non-cooperation with evil really equal in value to cooperation with good? It would be easy to sit around and think of all of the evil people in the world that you choose to ignore, or the evil things people do which you choose not to participate in. On a very basic level, that helps the world become less of an evil place because you aren’t taking part. But it seems that actually going on and doing good things may have an even greater impact, since you are adding more tangible happiness and goodness to the world. You are being a role model for others.
(3) Essential Question: Which carries more moral value– not participating in evil or participating in doing good?