The Great Moral Tragedy
According to John Dewey, “The separation of warm emotion and cool intelligence is the great moral tragedy,” (238). For when it comes to morality, this “cool intelligence” is trusted to stand alone. The legitimacy of reason is blindly respected in our society. It is the language of leaders and a value that affects our conduct as individuals and as a whole. The moral tragedy comes into play as hindsight reveals the failure of this approach to inspire ethical behavior. In this paper, I will argue that when making decisions about intervention, sentiment ought to trump reason. Unfortunately, sentiment-based decision making will not become the norm until current habituated dependencies on reason-based justifications are challenged. Two historical events of the twentieth century will be used to show contradicting results of this imbalance. A wave of illogical action at the start of World War I, and a void of necessary action during the Rwandan genocide were results of decision makers valuing reason far above sentiment.
Lucerna, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 110-117