Even today, the interpretation of the ubiquitous black-marketeers under the Occupation is much disputed: were they ruthless predators concerned only for their own good, were they quietly undermining the occupiers (who were trying to extract as much economic surplus from France as possible, which diversion of goods on to the black market reduced, thereby improving the lot of ordinary Frenchmen), or were they in fact assisting the occupiers by making the whole system viable, which it would not have been without the black market? Or were they all of these things at once?
The latter, I think. The reason there is such moral ambiguity here is that there are two sources of guidance at play: principle in the absence of any knowledge other than the immediate conditions, and a perfect knowledge of outcomes of the alternatives, wherein the principle involved is which outcome is to be preferred. Both of these extremes are exceedingly rare in the real world.
My point is that these are two different principles. Hence our moral choices will always contain in them the seed of uncertainty. Because such principles conflict, as they did for the black marketeers, as they did for Dalrymple. The mind that can know all of this and infallibly choose the correct course is not, I think, the mind of Man.
Nighttime bump for an article and comment worth reading.