Often in life topics are not black and white, they are riddled with gray areas, as is the topic of helping others. Johnson C. Montgomery’s quote states that, as human beings we care for others and grieve for our humanity as a whole. But to help us make the right decisions for mankind we can’t let our grief or emotions get in the way, because the right choice is not always the easiest one. By doing this, we are preparing ourselves and are helping plan a better future for those who will come after us. Montgomery’s belief is supported in a variety of ways which explain why it is not our job to take care of people who don’t deserve the help or who will take advantage of that help. We shouldn’t let our emotions dictate the choices we make if it keeps us from making the right decisions. However, arguments against Montgomery’s claim can be supported too because it is the moral thing to do to help people, and we should help those in need. This statement supports that the line for extending help to others is drawn according to the situation, and that circumstances differ, as do the resolutions to those circumstances.
One reason to support Montgomery’s statement is that we shouldn’t let our grief get in the way of making the right choice. Furthermore, it is rarely good to make a big decision when your brain is in turmoil because you are not in a good state of mind, and might make decisions you’ll regret. One example to support Montgomery’s belief can be found in the article, “Is It Ethical To Euthanize Your Dog”, by Elliot D. Cohen Ph.D., which states, “Bentley had not eaten for over a week, and while he had been consuming large amounts of water, he was now unable to hold down water and began to vomit each time he drank. Only able to walk small distances, he refused to go out to urinate.” In this statement, Mr. Cohen is talking about the difficulties his dog, Bentley, had gone through in his last days, due to the tumors and cancers his dog had fallen victim to. His dog was suffering terribly and was slowly dying. Mr. Cohen was stuck with a hard decision that would test his moral beliefs. His choices were to let his dog die naturally or to have the dog euthanized. Mr. Cohen would have rather chosen to let his dog die naturally, but he didn’t want to put his faithful companion through that pain just to spare a few more moments with him. Instead, he chose to euthanize his dog, which put the dog out of martyrdom (suffering), but ended the time with his companion. Perhaps if Mr. Cohen set his feelings aside he would have had an easier time making the right choice for his dog. With that said, it is not always easy to put grief aside to make the right choice, but if we are able to achieve that then we will be able to make more of the right choices for us now and for those who will come after us.
Opposition of Montgomery’s claim can be supported via the belief of many, that people who truly need help and who can’t care for themselves, should receive help from those in a position to lend a helping hand. Moraly it is the job of the capable to help those who are unable to help themselves. These are people who might have disabilities, are sick, etc. An example of this being shown would be in Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, which states, ” ‘When his Aunt Clara died, Lennie just come along with me out workin’. Got kinda used to each other after a little while’ ” (p. 40). Throughout the whole story the character George cares for his friend, Lennie, as if they were blood relatives. It was George’s choice to stick with Lennie and care for him, since Lennie was unable to care for himself properly. He didn’t have to stick with him, but he felt morally compelled to help his friend. George helped Lennie by getting him a job and was planning on living with him and taking care of him after they had made enough money to move. At any time George could have separated from Lennie, but he stuck with him. This is also the case in the Terri schiavo story. In the Terri Schiavo article written by Clyde Haberman it proclaimed that,”Whatever the cause, her brain was deprived of oxygen long enough to leave her in a ‘persistent vegetative state,’ a condition that is not to be confused with brain death.” Even though Terri was a grown adult, she couldn’t take care of herself by doing regular things that many humans take for granted, such as feeding herself. Her parents didn’t let that get in the way though, they still loved her, so they took care of her. People like Terri deserve to get help and to be cared for if they can’t help themselves.
Although helping others is often good , it can become unhealthy or counteractive when the one(s) that is being helped is taking advantage of the person helping, or if the individual doesn’t deserve it because they refuse to better themselves or even try to make a positive change. Additionally, if helping someone keeps you from reaching success or goals then that is when it should stop. Mr. William emphasized this largely in his article, In Truth, especially when he proclaimed that, “As such, it is not the cost of a non-smoking taxpayer with a sick child or health issue of their own to ensure an alcoholic with cirrhosis can see a doctor and be diagnosed and treated for anything from a respiratory tract problem to gout.” What Mr. William means by this quote is that it is not someone’s else’s job to take care of someone who is capable of caring for themselves, but isn’t. The people who are helping others should use their personal judgment about if they should or should not help others, but like Montgomery said, their grief should not interfere with that judgment. Yet another reason to support Montgomery’s claim, because those who take advantage of help, or the government, shouldn’t be able to have these types of resources.
Helping others is often a great thing to do. However, you should always use your judgement on when it is appropriate to do so. It is good to lend a helping hand to those in need, but when it becomes too much of a burden, that is when it should end. The points Mr. Montgomery makes in his quote from The Island of Plenty, make it easy to agree with him to a certain extent. By not allowing emotions to dictate the decisions we make (especially when the brains is in a chaotic state), it will allow us to make the right decision. Also, helping others who are not going to try and help themselves first, or who will take advantage of help, is a wasted resource. On the other hand, it seems unfavorable to not help those who truly need it. These are the people who will appreciate it, and are grateful for receiving help. All in all, those who are in need of help should be given it, but people should use their judgement carefully.