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Hudson County Community College Environmental Pollution Paper

Must be a minimum of 500 words. You may exceed, but not go below this word count (title pages, works cited pages, and quotes from articles or your research sources DO NOT count toward your 500 words).Must use references to Hutt and MacIntyre as well one outside research source related to the topic.Please include a works cited page.Alasdair MacIntyre’s “Regulation: A Substitute for Morality” articulates and explores the conflict between what we should do for the greater good of our society and what we should do in terms of protecting individual freedoms. This conflict is central in our political debates—both now and in the past. In his article he writes, “Each of these ways of thinking has deep roots in our political culture: the first in the eighteenth-century ideal of a republican people, a people inspired by a common regard for virtue and community, and ideal that informs much of the founding documents; the second in the individualist vision of society as a device for the protection of individuals, of society as a collection of strangers, each of whom wishes to protect himself or herself and his or her property form government and from each other.”Currently, this exact conflict is being played out in terms of coal mining and its effect on our environment. There is no doubt that we need to lessen our global dependence on fossil fuels if we want to control climate change. However, our move away from coal-powered energy has a direct, negative effect on the areas of this country—specifically Appalachia—that depend on the coal industry for their livelihood. In many parts of Appalachia, it isn’t easy (or in some cases possible) to find other comparable jobs to replace those lost when coal mines close or lay off a significant number or workers. Look into this issue a bit. Read the article in the LA Times linked below, but also conduct a bit of your own research into this issue and then answer the following questions. (Links to an external site.)(for global context, read the very recent article from the NY Times titled The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard? Link below)We know that we need to control climate change in order to insure the continued existence of our planet. That is a crucial problem that cannot go overlooked. However, what responsibility do we have as Americans to financially support those who would lose their livelihoods in the pursuit of environmental protection? For this assignment, answer the following question: Would you vote for a bill that raised all taxes for all Americans if those added tax dollars went directly to a substantial unemployment benefit for people who lost their jobs as a result of environmental regulation?Answer this question in no fewer than 500 words. Use direct references to and knowledge of the two articles we’ve read that argue the moral end of government regulation (Hutt and MacIntyre) and use references from one additional source you’ve found that discuss this important political issue. Be careful with the resources you plan to use to support your arguments. They need to be credible sources (No blogs or highly biased sources). Must use references to Hutt and MacIntyre as well one outside research source related to the topic.Please include a works cited page. action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Regulation: A Substitute for Morality
Author(s): Alasdair MacIntyre
Source: The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Feb., 1980), pp. 31-33
Published by: The Hastings Center
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The fourthprincipleis consistentrules. Our countrywas
foundedon the conceptof equality.No person,of course, is
above the law. Thereareno specialrulesfor specialpeople.
We want fair, even-handedtreatmentfor all. When I went
to the FDA I vowed there would be no selective enforcement of any kind. We would rule across the board.
But unfortunately,no governmentagency can be totally
equitable. The police may see only one person going
througha red light and miss others. There are only 500
inspectorsto go throughall the food plants in the entire
United States. The FDA will take some carcinogensoff the
market,like sassafrastea, and leave others-such as pepper. When FDA does ban one, like saccharin, Congress
may turnaroundand put it rightback on the market,for no
discerniblereason otherthan that people say we want that
one back. We leave cigarettesand tobacco on the market,
but ban a host of other far less dangerousthings. We demandthatall the ingredientson ourfoods be labeledand do
not pay any attentionwhen Congressexempts the declaration of color addedto ice creamand cheese. Ourregulatory
law is thus a maze of irreconcilableinconsistencies.It is
difficultfor the government,or the public, or the regulated
industriesto understandthem, and this breeds distrustand
suspicionof government.
It is a constantfight in the governmentto avoid this kind
of situation.I think there will always be such inconsistencies. We must simply learn to keep them to a minimum.
The fifth and last principleis expeditiousdecisions. “Justice delayedis justice denied.” Personaland business decisions depend every day upon expeditious handling of
governmentdecisions. But it seldomoccurs. Why?Because
of the prior four principles. Risk decisions are inherently
difficult. They cannotbe made overnight.They cannotbe
made easily. In my four years in the governmentI never
saw a risk assessment that provided adequatedata upon
which to base a regulatorydecision that had to be made
anyway. It is beyondour currentcapability,whetherwe are
talking about diethylstilbestrol, saccharin, recombinant
DNA, or other currentissues.
How can you have lengthyproceduresthatwill guarantee
the participationof everyonein this countrywithoutdelay?
Detailed explanationsare necessary, as are cross-examination and all of the othertrappingsof properprocedure.And
finally, the requirementof consistency adds to the regulatory burden.The regulatorcannotjust make a decision, he
has to reconcileit with everythingthathas gone before and
might come after. The result is often years of delay as the
governmentponderouslyand methodicallymoves forward.
Each of these ethical principles is importantin itself.
Each one will have very staunchand importantadvocates.
Takentogetherthey areempiricallyinconsistentand contradictory. What our countrymust do in the near futureis to
come to grips with this fact and decide which of those principles musttakepriorityover the others,becausewe cannot
have all of them.
want to suggest that the kind of regulationwhich is
concernedwith the safety or the qualityof goods and services is not itself an expressionof any particularmoralstandpoint, but is rathera substitutefor morality at just those
points in our social fabricwhere we no longerpossess adequatemoralresources.I take it to be a very importantsubstituteand the only substitutewhich we have. Thereforein
the end my argumentwill concludein favorof certainkinds
of regulation.But I startfrom a very differentstandpoint
from that of Mr. Hutt, whose remarksemphasizedthe inconsistencyof the principleswhich seem to underliea good
deal of legislationandregulation.I believe thatthese inconsistencies are no accident.
In all our thinkingabout and living in a political society
we as a culture embrace two systematicallyinconsistent
ways of thinkingand living. On the one hand we think of
political society in termsof a series of communities-family, workplace, school, the hospital, the local neighborhood-within which we pursuethose humangoods which
are only availableto us throughcommonlife and actionand
throughwhich we learn-or at least can learn-that thereis
no good for me thatis not also a good for the community.
We discoverandidentifyourselvesin the contextof making
and remakingvarious forms of human community. From
this point of view we thinkof the goals of moralityas positive. We do indeedneed negativerules in orderto set limits
to what is intolerablebehaviorin our common life, but we
envisage political and morallife predominantlyin termsof
the positive pursuitof goods for man. Yet at the same time
we are also habituatedto thinkingof humansociety as an
arenain which individualsand groups with rival and competing desires and goals pursuetheir own privateaims and
The Hastings Center
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self-satisfactionsin such a way that each needs to be protectedfrom the other. We have no systematicway of reconciling these competingstandpoints.
Eachof these ways of thinkinghas deeprootsin ourpolitical culture:the first in the eighteenth-centuryideal of a
republicanpeople, a people inspiredby a common regard
for virtueandfor community,an ideal which informsmuch
of the foundingdocuments;the second in the individualist
vision of society as a device for the protectionof individuals, of society as a collection of strangers,each of whom
wishes to protecthimself or herself and his or her property
from governmentand from each other. Both of these ways
of thinkingarecontinuouslyregeneratedin ourpolitics. The
first is renewed by the continuousexperienceof trying to
initiate and reinitiate communication and cooperation
within the family, the school, and the workplace.The second is renewed by the continualpressuresupon us in the
marketplacewherepeople provideobjectsfor consumption
andact as instrumentsto satisfythe appetitesof others.This
deep incoherenceseems to be at the heart of our political
life and consequentlyof our thinkingaboutregulation.
Let us approachthe questionof regulationindirectlyby
examiningthe ways in which we thinkaboutthe law. From
the standpointthatenvisages the goal of politicalsociety as
the creationandmaintenanceof communities,we do indeed
need a system of public law, but only as a system of last
resort.Thereare indeedactionsso intolerablethatthe community cannot permit them to be done without invoking
public sanction. Individualswho thus transgressmust be
identifiedas answerablefor theiractionsbefore they can be
broughtbackinto the life of the community.Herethe law is
the last resort.In a good communityit will be enforcedas
rarelyas possible. Thereare still areasof our life in which,
althoughto a decreasingdegree, we even now do think
about the law in this way. We all recognize that once a
marriagegets into the hands of the lawyers, it is probably
doomed. And there are otherareas in humanlife in which
resortto the law is still recognized as the sign that some
deepermoralrelationshiphas alreadybrokendown. I take
this to be the most importantfact aboutcontemporarymalpractice suits. Malpracticesuits do not arise because of
greaternegligenceby the medicalprofessionand only to a
small extentbecause of the greaterreadinessof patientsto
challengedoctors,but to a very large extent because of the
breakdownin an older relationshipof trustbetween physician and patient.People feel free to resortto law because
they no longerenvisagethe physician-patient
an essentiallymoral one.
From the competingview of society as the protectorof
individualinterests,law is not a last resortat all. Law is the
is University Professor of Philosophy
and Political Science at Boston University. This article is an
edited transcriptof Professor Maclntyre’spresentation at The
Hastings Center’s General Meeting on “Ethics and Regulation.”
immediatesanctionwe invoke in orderto protectourselves
from invasionby others. From this point of view law protects ourpersonsandpropertiesand is to be used on the one
handto protectwhat we have and are already, and on the
otherhandto be used as an instrumentfor redistributionand
redresswhen only the stateis availableto meet the needs of
the helpless. The firstview dependson an understandingof
humanrelationshipsas species of friendshipwhen they are
in good order.The secondtakes seriouslyPlautus’smaxim,
homo homini lupus est, man is a wolf to man; a maxim
unfairerto wolves than to men. For, of course, it is true
both that human beings are always capable of friendship
and are alwayscapableof behavingas wolves do in human
legends. Each of these notions underlyingattitudesto the
law is one to which people in certain types of situations
Whenthereis continuousresortto the law,
it is generally a sign that moral relations
have to some large degreebrokendown. It
is a sign that the motives which make us
invoke the law are those of fear and selfinterest. And when fear and self-interest
have to be brought into play, law itself
tends to be morallydiscredited.
Unfortunately,there are harmfulconsequences deriving
from this systematicculturalinconsistencyin our thinking
aboutthe law. When law is thoughtof in the first way, the
primaryreasonfor supportingand identifyingwith the law
is thatthe law is partof the life of the communityto which
we belong. If you like, in terms of eighteenth-centuryrepublicanismthe motive for obeying law is civil virtue. But
when the law is thoughtof in the second way, as a device
for the protectionof one againstanother,then fear or selfinterestbecome the dominantmotives. We obey the law
eitherbecauseof whatthe law will do to us if we disobey it,
or we obey the law from self-interest.Here I want to advance an empiricalthesis, controversialbut, so I believe,
defensibleby an historicalanalysis.It is thatlaw tendsto be
effective only insofarand so long as a substantialportionof
the communitythinksof law in the first way, thinksof it in
termsof an identificationwith the goods of the whole community. When the law is in good working order it is not
when everyone is obeying the law from fear, or when
everyoneis obeying the law fromcalculatedself-interest.It
is when obedienceto law expressesa genuine allegianceto
law. Thusit is preciselywhen the law is least needed, when
it is least invoked,thatit is in the best workingorder.When
by contrastthereis continuousresortto the law, it is generHastings Center Report, February1980
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ally a sign that moral relationshave to some large degree
brokendown. It is a sign that the motives which make us
invokethe law are those of fearand self-interest.And when
fearand self-interesthave to be broughtinto play, law itself
tends to be morallydiscredited.
This is whathas happenedin our own society. It has happened becausethe law has too often been made the instrument of partisan,self-interestedpurposes. The conversion
of law to the serviceof such purposesperhapsstartedin the
last centurywiththe use of the courtsby the largecapitalists
to aggrandizeby transformingthe law of propertyin an
individualisticdirection.But it was continuedin the strategy of reformersand liberals who then tried to make the
courtsinstrumentsfor theirpurposes.(This is why the question of the politicalcompositionof the SupremeCourtbecame important.)Now there is what appears from the
liberal standpointto be a conservativereaction. I do not
thinkit in any coherentsense conservativeat all, but rather
a reactionby a variety of groups to the period in which
liberalsused the law as an instrumentof politicalchange in
favor of themselves and their clients. Such a reaction is
sometimes expressed by campaignsfor a variety of constitutionalamendments,and it is sometimes expressed by
attacksupon regulation.
Whatthenare we to say of regulation?When we are concernedwith those regulationsthatdeal with the qualityand
safety of goods and services, we ought to be clear that we
need regulationonly because humannatureis gravely defective when embodiedin the moder corporation-regulation, remember, applies primarily to the activities of
corporationsand only secondarilyto the activities of individuals;for corporateAmericadoes all thatit can to ensure
that responsibilityis never broughthome to individuals.
Let me spell thatout. It has been suggested (in one way
by Milton Friedman, in other ways by others) that we
shouldabandona good deal of presentlaw and almost, perhaps all, regulation,and leave individualsfree to deal with
each otherin the deliveryof goods and services as market
mechanismspermit. Those who may be wrongedby what
happenswill be able to sue in court-to bring civil actions
againstthose who have caused them harmor danger. It is
very importantto notice that there are two things wrong
with this model. One is that those who Milton Friedman
proposes should take civil action would often in fact be
dead. And those who arenot deadwill very often have been
injuredin a way for which no compensationis other than
symbolicallyadequate.Thinkof the thalidomidecase. The
recentbook on thalidomide,Suffer the Children, provides
the evidence. What Grinenthal Chemie in Germanyand
what the Distillers Corporationin Britain were willing to
do, as the developers and the licensees for thalidomide,
shows very clearly that large corporationsare collectively
quite willing to undertakecourses of actionthat individuals
in the corporationwould be deeply shocked by if it was
proposedthatthey as individualsshoulddo whatthe corpo-
rationdoes. The individualswho staff Griinenthalor Distillersaregenerallyno worsethanthe restof us. It is simply
the case thatin a corporatesociety one of the ways in which
moralrelationshipshave been eroded is by the substitution
of corporatefor individualresponsibility.More thanthis, a
moral and culturaldistance is set up between those who
receive andthose who supply.GriinenthalChemieand Distillers never themselveshad to give thalidomideto a single
patient. Thalidomidewas administeredby physicians and
by physicianswho had not themselves dealt directly with
those in the corporationwho had made the decisions about
manufactureand research.The moraland physical harmis
thus distancedfrom the actions that caused it. And what is
true of thalidomideis also true, for example, of automobiles. I take great encouragementfrom the action of a
jury in Indianathat has sought to bring a homicide charge
against the Ford Motor Company for selling Pinto automobiles with gas tanksat the rearin a dangerouslocation.
They will not of coursein fact be able to press home criminal charges because they are dealing with a corporation,
that embodied excuse for irresponsibility.Individual responsibilityis an endangeredconcept because of the combination in our society of corporate power and moral
The result:regulationis the best we can do. In this I differ
from Mr. Hutt;I do not see regulationas an admirableexpressionof a sharedmoralcode. I see it as a minimaldevice
that has been developed in order to compensate for the
grave defects of a culture where the fabric of moralityis
being torn apartand where governmentcannot act in the
ways that we would want it to if moralcommunitywere a
real possibility. Regulation is a necessary makeshift.
Churchillonce said that democracy is the worst form of
governmentexcept for all the others. Regulation, it seems
to me, deservesa similarverdict.One final point:Dr. Gray
rightly points out (p. 38) that the reason why institutional
review boardshad become more effective, why regulation
is moreeffective is thatindividualsarebehavingbetter.Ten
years ago many people would not have acted as conscientiously as they are acting now. And it may be thoughtthat
thereis a clash betweenmy thesis aboutthe moraldefects of
our culture and his point about the new moral climate in
certainspecific contexts. I think not. It has been a characteristic of the last ten years that consciously or unconsciously a responseto the moraldefects of the cultureas a
whole has been the remaking of certain kinds of moral
community at specific local levels within professions,
within institutions, within local communities. Very often
this new moralconcernemerges in what are at first incoherentandinchoateways. Nonethelessit is real. And although
I would agree with some of the bad things that Professor
Barbersays (p. 34) aboutthe ways in which we find members of the professions behaving, I think that within the
medical professionparticularlychanges for the betterover
the last ten years have been dramaticand unpredictablyso.
The Hastings Center
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Five Moral Imperatives of Government Regulation
Author(s): Peter Barton Hutt
Source: The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Feb., 1980), pp. 29-31
Published by: The Hastings Center
Stable URL:
Accessed: 12-06-2018 14:24 UTC
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide
range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and
facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

Terms and Conditions of Use

The Hastings Center is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
The Hastings Center Report
This content downloaded from on Tue, 12 Jun 2018 14:24:18 UTC
All use subject to
2 Five Moral
Imperatives of
R egulation, in my judgment, is the most difficult
function that any government can perform. Our laws, at
least in theory, are codifications of the ethical principles by
which we have all agreed to live together in society. But
regulatory laws often present a stark confrontation between
individual freedom and societal safety. That is why our reg-
ulatory agencies are under such widespread attack and why
we hear so much discussion, although none of it very enlightening, about regulatory reform today.
In dealing with regulation, history has something to teach
us. The concept of government regulation, including economic as well as health and safety regulations, is not new.
There are references to regulation as far back as there is
recorded history. There were hundreds of extraordinarily
oppressive regulatory statutes in medieval England and indeed in every other country. Sometimes these laws covered
every aspect of a citizen’s daily life, not just the questions of
health and safety that confront us n…


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