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Moral and ethical issues

In the movie the blind mountain by Li-Yang, A young Chinese girl, Xuemei, travels to the mountain village of Shaanxi province in search of a job she has been promised with a herbal clinic. The man and woman who took her turn out to be kidnappers who drug her and sell her off for 7000 Yuan to the vile son of the local farmers. This was in hope that the she would bear them a son who would take care of their farm. Xuemei’s rebellion pits her against the community whose closely knit social relationship cannot aid her escape. Her so called husband, young Youan consummates the sale forcefully in the presence and with the help of his parents.

Xuemei’s desperate attempts to escape tilts her moral inclinations and brings her close to her husband’s cousin, the sole educated man in the entire village and the teacher of all the kids in the village. Xuemei later turns out to be pregnant and attempts to abort by hitting her stomach. She even later attempts to slit her wrists and rushed to the hospital. The father comes to rescue the daughter with two government officials. The dialogue that ensues between government officials and the community leadership decides that the balanced settlement is that Xuemei remains with her abductors (Cabin 12).

The two government officials who accompanied Xuemei’s father to go and rescue her daughter make a moral choice that she should remain with her kidnappers. This is arrived at after consultation with the village officials and after they have been given their kickbacks. These government officials are appealing to the utilitarianism theory that seeks happiness. They claim that by keeping the girl with her kidnappers both the country, which means them and the village, which means the kidnappers, will be happy.

Their actions are therefore aimed at achieving their highest level of happiness hence utilitarianism theory of Kant (34). Xuemei makes the moral choice to live her parents, go look for a job and settle her brother’s school fees. She later again makes a decision knuckle down and forms friendship with Degui’s cousin after several failed attempts to escape. She subscribes to Kierkegaard’s existential ethics which believes that the highest good aspired by human beings is to become an individual and be capable of making personal decisions.

This was her personal decision after realizing that her rebellion was not the best exit plan (Cabin 39). Xuemei’s choice of looking for a job with the herbal medicine company is also supported with Aristotle’s virtue ethics (Shlomo, 97). This believes in being excellent in achieving a particular function. The young educated girl wanted to achieve something for her family. Her choice to befriend her husband’s cousin is still congruent with Aristotle’s virtue ethics which also believes in the fact that arguments or even teachings do not influence a person enough but his/her soul.

Arguments with her husband didn’t make her change her mind about staying with him peacefully. According to Mackie (163), those human beings are personal autonomies capable of self rule. Kant’s cultural relativism supports the government official’s act of taking a bribe from the village officials because it says we cannot have universal values hence the corruption that was being accepted in China at that time is only seen as corruption by those who don’t believe in it. Kant’s idea therefore would be that no one should impose his/her own values on others.

That the individual is free to do what he/she deems fit to do (Kant, 112). Kant’s ethical and cultural relativism also supports Xuemei’s choice of leaving home to go and look for job with strangers despite that she was a young naive girl who was not actually suppose to live home without parental guidance. This in the face of rampant kidnappings and sex slave dealings. Probably in that society it is not absurd for a lady to undertake such daring steps including courting her illegal husband’s cousin and eventually being very close with him!

Aristotle’s virtue ethics ideology doesn’t tolerate the government official’s act because they were not seeking to be their best in solving the problem at hand (Shlomo 143). They were also susceptible to the argument they entered into with the village officials. They were offered a bribe and they took it and acted the way the villagers wanted. We therefore don’t see them taking any conscious moral choice; instead they are influenced by the kickbacks.

Kant’s argument of cultural and ethical relativism cannot hold any waters in this situation. When Xuemei even attempts to promote a premature abortion by hitting her tummy, it’s obvious that she was not acting for her well being because she was risking her life. This is also evident when she decides to slit her wrists so that she could be taken to the hospital and look for ways of escaping. Therefore though what is moral to do can be decided at individual level, this freedom cannot be absolute (Cabin 34).

Though I support Aristotle’s take on it, especially when the young girl takes a trip to find a job and pay her sibling’s school fee. This was a moral choice worth making. However I disagree with the other moral choices she had made including;-attempted abortion, slitting her wrist and her association with her husband’s cousin. I don’t agree with the moral choice made by the two government officials. It had no virtue attached to it like Aristotle’s theory advocates. It was not seeking to satisfy the real parties involved.

There is absolutely no touch between this moral choice and Utilitarianism theory that I believe in. Work cited Chris, Cabin . Blind mountain review. December 17, 2008. (2008). <http://www. filmcritic. com/misc/emporium>. Kant, M.. Three Approaches and Introductory overview of central concepts of society. Canada: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. Mackie, J. L.. Rights, usefulness, and Universalization. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985, 1985. Shlomo, A.. The Social and Political Thought of Aristotle. Cambridge: University Press, 2001.

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