Sunday, March 20, 2011

Debts, duties, and DOOM

Came across something rather curious online, online discussions where strangers were censuring other strangers who were thinking about stiffing their credit card companies. Started to wonder how many Americans would say that our obligations to Visa and Mastercard would follow us into the afterlife. The evidence suggested that there's a lot of people who think we should take second and third jobs in heaven. Paul Kelleher directed my attention to this horrible piece from TPM: BoA tries to shame son into paying off his deceased mother's credit cards (here).

Since strangers tend not to care if someone lives up to their duties of beneficence, I was surprised to see how incensed they were that some stranger would give up on paying their debts when, say, those payments made it hard to put food on the table for their children. Totally bizarre. Any explanation? I would have thought that duties of beneficence were more morally significant than duties to pay off credit card debt. Do credit card companies have hordes of paid employees infiltrating online discussion threads?

2 comments:

Degenerate & Close Personal Friend said...

When my friend died, several of his creditors tried to guilt his partner into paying for these debts -- even though gay marriage was/is not legal. Mercifully, his partner replied, when asked if he didn't feel responsible for these debts:

No, I feel no responsibility at all, since you wouldn't let me marry him. Do not call me back.

Anonymous said...

It's debt. People go absolutely _nuts_ when it comes to debt. It is very usual for strong reflexive-morality circuits to get tripped when concepts of debt are involved, and all critical thinking (or even higher order moral thinking) goes out the window.

Debt is sin.