As a rational human being, it is natural to know the basis of determining how an act can be considered good or bad. Various set of standards may arise and even different established principles may serve as guide. An act could be possibly view in different perspective. It could be good or it could be bad depending on the set of standards that we believe is right. These open-ended discussions are further elaborated in the movie entitled Unthinkable, which highlights morality and ethics.
The movie is a very timely ethical issue that is criticized by many analysts. Its main idea is about torturing a terrorist who cause great trouble in the American government and its people as well. An American citizen, named Steven Arthur Younger, who later on became a huge threat in his country. He planted bombs in different massive cities which then cause casualties. He is caught by the military forces and violently tortured in order to locate where the bombs are. He has his personal reasons why he did that. Unfortunately, this act of him causes a lot of people at stake, even his own family got involved.
As what I remember from the discussions on the ethical theories, which could trace a reflection on the different scenes in the movie, there is one theory that is highly portrayed, that is Utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill. What is reflected in the movie is that the terrorist has to be sacrificed to be tortured, in order to protect and save the lives of many from the threat of bomb explosion. Although, the life of few will be at its extent risk, yet it will beneficial for the common good. Based on the acts being portrayed in the most crucial part of the movie, though it was an inhumane act for Yusuf to be violently tortured, it will be then for the good of the majority.
Based on Mills ethical theory, according to University of Texas, Utilitarianism determines right from wrong by focusing on outcomes. It is a form of consequentialism. It holds that the most ethical choice is the one that will produce the greatest good for the greatest number. It is the only moral framework that can be used to justify military force or war. It is also the most common approach to moral reasoning used in business because of the way in which it accounts for costs and benefits. (Ethics Unwrapped, 2019)
However, because we cannot predict the future, its difficult to know with certainty whether the consequences of our actions will be good or bad. This is one of the limitations of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism also has trouble accounting for values such as justice and individual rights. (Ethics Unwrapped, 2019) This is what defines this theory which is highly depicted in the movie.
On the other hand, what is done to Yusuf and his family is one that violates their right as human. Of course, what he did is definitely an evil one for the perspective of what morality is stating. Yet, on the back of my mind, there is this thinking, Does Yusuf deserves to be tortured in that evil manner? or Does his innocent children deserve to be treated and be involved in Yusufs infliction?. Honestly, I was in the midst of confusion of whom to put my belief of who did wrong. If I were to be one of the witnesses in this situation in the movie, I might feel the compassion and sympathy for the condition of Yusuf and his family. But, then, I was also thinking that somehow he deserves the sufferings for he has caused 53 people died with an additional risk of bomb explosion that may happen anytime soon. Actually, I was unable to determine of who have done evil deeds greatly.
I have these three top characters who have displayed different ethical values in their act H, Brody and Yusuf. H did his duty although it was unjust and violates human right. What he did is morally bad but it tends to lead in a favorable outcome. He successfully did his duty; this act of H can be reflected in Immanuel Kants moral theory Deontology. This principle disregards the consequences of those actions. On the other hand, Brody has portrayed actions possessing ethical values. She conforms of what morality is saying, she thinks with rationality and does consider every action she is making whether it may be favourable to the both parties involved or if her actions will lead for the benefit of both involved parties. While, Yusufs character has the most crucial blend; he suffer from thinking of what will be the best way to live life. He jumps in that action due to a lot of factors driving him to do so.
On the latter part of the movie, I establish my own conclusion that Yusuf has his personal reasons of planting bombs, although it actually put the lives of the many in to risk. What drives him to do those evil acts is for the security and protection of his family, his religion and his beloved country. Also, the interrogators have their reasons as well of performing their duty to its most extent manner in order to keep the safety and over-all well-being of the majority of people. For me, its a matter of putting yourself in the perspective of both parties involved in order to arrive at the best way of evaluating the situations.
For me, what Yusuf did is absolutely a wrong act, and I could not blame the interrogators for torturing Yusuf for they believe it is the most possible way to make Yusuf speak up though it was inhumane. It really happens in reality and it is one of the hardest situations that are unthinkable. Of course, applying the ethical theory, Utilitarianism, we can easily evaluate this inescapable situation. It is okay to sacrifice the lives of few in order to protect and save the lives of the many; just as what defines Utilitarianism.
Ethical theories exist to guide people in knowing which is bad or good depending on the perspectives of different theories. The question is, which theory should be applied in various situations including this one. Which theory best apply? Of course, it still depends. It always does. It is one of the ultimate questions I am posting of which theory should be used? A question that is still unanswered which is which?