I've really enjoyed reading the answers to the questions posed on this site and I've come up with a question that was inspired from an experience my 5 year old daughter recently had. My question is this:
Why is it wrong to snitch on a friend?
I can see in cases of minor mischief that snitching on a friend would seem to be unloyal but just how far should our duty to our friendship extend? I'm asking this from the context where you know your friend has done something wrong and in which you were not involved but your friend has requested you remain silent on their behalf.
I know that you’re primarily interested in the more sophisticatedquestion concerning the extent of our obligations to friends, but I’mstuck on childhood “snitching,” or as it’s known in my family,“tattling.” “Don’t be a tattle-tale,” I’m often tempted to tell my fiveyear old when she tells me of some minor indiscretion of her fourteenyear old sister. Why not? Didn’t her sister do something wrong? Andshouldn’t wrong-doers be held to account? And isn’t it my job as aparent to enforce all morally legitimate norms? No, it’s my jobas a parent to do what is in my power to protect my children fromunjustified harm and to help them to develop their capacities to livegood, worthwhile, and morally decent lives. If they are being wrongedby someone else and if they do not yet have the skills or authority toprevent that wrong, then I must intervene. But the usual situationsthat motivate tattling aren’t like that. Most tattling is motivated byenvy. Tattlers tend to regard moral norms as arbitrary...
- Log in to post comments