Manoj Bajpayee-starrer Family Man trashes moral equivalence

It was good to see that The Family Man is unambiguous about moral equivalence, and doesn’t end up equating the terrorist with the cop

Ravi Shanker Kapoor |

Manoj Bajpayee in the web series The Family Man

Manoj Bajpayee in the web series The Family Man

The award-winning streaming television series, The Family Man, on Amazon Prime Video underlines a couple of important issues of the contemporary world—moral equivalence and guilt. In this article, I will focus on moral equivalence.

“Moral equivalence is the claim that two radically different ethical actors are really doing the same thing and that they should be judged and treated the same way,” says the website “For example, if two schoolchildren are scuffling and hitting each other in the playground, a judgment of ‘moral equivalence’ by the teacher may result in separating the two and (perhaps) punishing them both equally (for ‘fighting’).”

The problem with moral equivalence as an ethical doctrine is that it completely sidesteps the crucial issue of right and wrong, says the website. “If one of the children in our example was a notorious school bully, and the other child was fighting back in self-defense, then it would clearly be wrong to punish them both equally.”

Moral equivalence and other similar, postmodern doctrines are the seeds which grow into toxic plants like multiculturalism and political correctness. As is their wont, intellectuals all over the world have blindly accepted and internalized everything that is toxic. As a consequence, they end up providing cover fire for terrorists, particularly jihadists.

In the series, the terrorist Sajid (Shahab Ali) tells the intelligence officer Srikant Tiwari (Manoj Bajpayee) that there is no difference between them; both are on the same moral footing. You kidnapped Moosa’s (another terrorist, who was killed in Season I) mother, Sajid tells Tiwari, while I have abducted your daughter.

This was factually wrong and morally reprehensible. Tiwari had not kidnapped the old lady but only arranged for her to deliver a message to her son so that he should give up the path of terror. Afraid that the attack he had planned would also kill his mother, Moosa tried to abort it; Sajid killed him for that. Tiwari did what he did to save thousands of lives.

Sajid, on the other hand, actually kidnapped Tiwari’s daughter, adopting the Love Jihad tactic, and wanted to use her to force Tiwari give up the assignment to check a mass slaughter that he (Sajid) had planned.

Sajid is not only a murderer but also a sadist; he also wanted to hack the teenaged girl to death—just to teach Tiwari a lesson. And yet he had the cheek to say that essentially he and Tiwari are similar: both are killers, after all. Sajid misses a simple point, and wants the entire world miss that too: he kills people for his ideological, religious purposes, whereas Tiwari kills people like him (Sajid)—and that too when necessary. At worst, Tiwari uses his licence to kill but Sajid is a murderer plain and simple.

The rapist and the cop are not on the same moral footing, nor the arsonist and the firefighter are. Most people would make the difference between the two. But intellectuals are different, surely from most people.

An example: they say that India and Pakistan should resolve their issues, thus presenting the two countries as morally similar entities. The truth, however, is that Pakistan is the engine of jihad which exports terror all over the world, especially to India. New Delhi wants to this end—a reasonable demand. Therefore, the responsibility of making the bilateral ties cannot be apportioned equally; it depends more, if not entirely, on Pakistan if it wants to normalize relations with India.

It was good to see that The Family Man is unambiguous about moral equivalence, and doesn’t end up equating the terrorist with the cop.

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