Ethical Problem: Drinking AlcoholJim PolakGroup #3Ethical Problem4/1/96During my high school years, I had to make many decisions. Some of thesedecisions came easily to me, like what clothes to wear to school. Some of themtook more thought, like what classes I should take during the upcoming semester.
And some of them were questions that kept me up all night to decide betweenright and wrong and forcing me to determine what would be in my best interest. At this time, I was thinking as a Consequentialist. Personal ethical egoismthinks that I always ought to act in my self-interest. One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make involved whether or not Iwould drink alcohol.
This question kept me pondering off and on for the betterpart of three school years and the second semester of my first college year. If I just considered the legal side of things, then this should have beenan easy decision for me because of the fact that I was under age and it isobviously illegal for persons who have not yet turned twenty-one to consumealcoholic beverages. This would be the fifth stage of moral functioning,Legality. If you think at this stage, you will follow the rules and laws allthe time.
The law, however, did not prevent many of my friends from drinking nor didit do much in the way of stopping them after they had started. The law was tooeasy to avoid so getting caught by the cops was rarely a matter of great concern. Besides, even when one of my friends would get caught, they were usuallyreleased to their parents with nothing more than a stern warning from theofficer who gave them the ride home. Now, being at home brings up another reason not to drink.
We all want totry to obey our parents, right! Well actually, I did, want to try that is. This stage of moral functioning is called Conformity. Here you try to be goodboys and girls. I wasn’t going to be able to please them all the time, but Idid want to try. My home life was a lot easier if Dad and Mom weren’t on mycase all the time. I had already spent most of my freshmen year of high school at home becauseof disobeying my parents.
This meant that in order for me to have any sort ofsocial life, I had to watch my step so that I wasn’t grounded during the nextbig social engagement. That meant that if I was going to drink with my friends,I could never get caught, because getting caught could leave me seeing myfriends only during classes. Another factor wrestling with my mind was the fact that I had tried a beeror two before to see what would happen, and all I had found was that I reallydon’t like the taste. I couldn’t see how drinking something that tasted soawful could make people feel so good. I was also out for sports, so getting caught drinking alcohol could havelead to suspension from a few meets or even being kicked off the team. If I wason school grounds, I could also get suspended from school which could affect mygrades and also my chances of getting the big scholarship to college I wanted.
So, finally after considering all of these possibilities, it occurred to methat there was truly only one decision for me to make at this point in my life–not to drink yet. Use of Legality and Conformity, helped me decide not to drinkyet. I would say that I’m more of a relativist than an absolutist because myactions would depend on the situation. I didn’t decide that it would beunethical for me if I drank later in life, but during high school it had manymore downs than ups. I would still have Individual Freedom to make a differentchoice latter in my life.Science