Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Leader Resource 1: Moderation Dilemmas

Part of Virtue Ethics

Dilemma 1

Both you and your friend have cell phone plans with unlimited texting, but that doesn't mean your time has no limits! Your friend texts you all throughout the day, even during school hours and late into the night. They get upset if you don't hit them back within five minutes, but you cannot stop everything to respond to so many texts. You want to keep them as a friend, but their texting needs are driving you up the wall. What should you do?

Dilemma 2

Crack cocaine and powder cocaine are two forms of the same drug. Both are illegal. Yet, the law has treated them differently. Crack cocaine, the only drug for which there is a federally mandated minimum sentence for mere possession, carries a minimum five-year prison sentence for possession of five grams. However, you would need to possess at least 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same sentence. A 2006 study found that 82 % of Americans sentenced for possession of crack are black, even though they comprise only 30 % of users. Crack is the form of cocaine used more often by blacks and people with lower incomes, as opposed to powder cocaine which is more expensive. Most people would say our justice system should be fair, balanced—moderate. Would you agree that the sentencing policy for crack cocaine possession shows moderation? [A law to rectify some of this disparity was signed by President Obama in 2010.]