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What Can Explain Man’s Inhumanity to Man?

During the mid-19th-century, after the potato blight had destroyed potato crops throughout Ireland, landlords evicted families from their homes—then destroyed the houses to be sure that those evicted families could not return.

Because of the widespread crop failures, potato-growing families had no income. Parents could not provide food for their children, let alone pay the rent on their homes.

Why would the landowners ruin their own property to prevent evicted Irish families from returning to the homes in which they had lived before the potato blight infected their crops?

Could we view the landowners’ actions, toward their tenants, as an example of man’s inhumanity to man?  Explain your answer.

Can you think of other instances, in the 21st-century, during which the actions of human beings, toward each other, are unexplainably harsh?  Why does this happen?

If it is "legal" to take harsh actions against one's fellow human beings, does that justify such behavior? Why, or why not?

Is there a difference between legal action and moral behavior? If so, what are those differences?


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