My son said that causation and remoteness are part of the answer. Which philosophers write on this topic? I don't know philosophy and just use examples.

  1. Presume I'm vegan. If C's one steakhouse, then it's easy boycott! It's unethical if I don't!

But I live in Toronto, and NO vegan supermarkets are near me. Thus I have to shop at Longo's, Loblaw's, and Whole Foods that all sell meat. If I don't, then I starve and die! Am I unethical then?

  1. I have family in China, business in Hong Kong. Presume I support the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, but all airlines between Canada, HK, and China are pro-CCP like Air Canada and Cathay Pacific. American, Delta, United Airlines all ""delisted Taiwan as a country on their website".

If we don't go to China and HK, we lose our jobs and starve. Plainly we can't sail easily or cheaply across Pacific Ocean! Now you say — find another job! But this is easier said than done!!!

  • while i disagree with the argument -- you won't "starve" -- ethical decisions may be, just as life decisions definitely are, convoluted ones. partly because society does not always reward -- even encourage -- ethical behaviour in the way God might. even if you're not a utilitarian, you probably have to concede that eating meat isn't as bad as cannibalism, just as putting your son through college is the more responsible thing to do than joining the HK protests. fwiw, i tend to believe that the key point to 'morality' amounts to asking what happiness is, whether or not that's all there is to it – user38026 Nov 30 '19 at 4:20
  • I think the answer is that we can't cure all the ills of the world. I order products from Amazon even though I know they mistreat their workers. I pay taxes rather than refuse and go to jail even though the government does things I don't agree with. We have to simply pick our battles and make our peace with the evils of the world. They were here before we came into the world and they'll be here after we're gone. We should do what we can do to make the world better, but in the end you just have to live with a lot of bad stuff. – user4894 Nov 30 '19 at 6:40
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  • It's black and white thinking to claim because an airline delisted a location for flights that it supports the government of the location. Most corporations are generally interested in profit, and make decisions based on their bottom line, and not support and opposition to political philosophy. – J D Nov 30 '19 at 14:29
  • If C is evil, conditions are easily imaginable if you cannot 'boycott' all instances of C. Prima facie, it is not unethical - merely impossible - boycott all instances of C. – Geoffrey Thomas Dec 1 '19 at 21:55

I hate the fossil fuels industry. Yet I take a bus to work. I don't have a choice, because, like you, I'd lose my job and starve if I didn't take the bus.

The situation you describe is too complex to expect someone to boycott the store.

Suppose you did find another vegan store nearby. Problem solved.

But is this vegan store really clean, or does it have other problems? Does it sell genetically modified food? Is it part of a corrupt corporate chain?

It's good to care enough about a cause to fight for it. Unfortunately, the society we live in is so terribly complex and corrupt, it's virtually impossible to lead a perfectly "pure" life.

When I think of all the garbage I've generated during my lifetime, it makes me nauseous. But what can I do?

Maybe you can tell your son it's HIS responsibility to convince some vegan company to open a store in your area.

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