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Ifat Glassman

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Everything posted by Ifat Glassman

  1. Great! Thanks for summing that up so nicely. I also agree with everything you said about present-day value of stolen items, and the compensation for sentimental value of property... Now that you wrote down the principles, I can proceed to ask why. See my problem is that I can't see the connection between ethics and severity of crimes. As far as I was taught an action can be either moral or not (binary), and there is no such thing as something "evil" and "more evil", it is either evil or not (or bad if you prefer another word). So the result of this is that once a person has stolen Banana or a car, his actions are morally bad in equal degree (since there is no such thing as a "degree of morality"). If that is the case, then the severity of crimes is a subject outside of ethics, which leads to the question - what are the principles by which we should judge "severity of crime"? Maarten (and yourself) suggested the results of the crime as one of the criterion for that. But you also suggest the intention behind the crime also matters: if someone run-over someone out of recklessnesses or stabbed his body to an unrecognizable mush different punishments are due, even if the outcome is similar (loss of life of 1 man). Now, why would anyone care about the intention behind the crime, if we are not concerned with ethics? Another important principle you suggested is: I agree with that completely. But this suggests again that punishment for crimes is not in proportion to how unethical the crime was. Which leads me again to the question of "levels of morality"... When I think about a serial killer or a rapist, and someone who stole a Banana (or some other valuable fruit), they are both immoral, but I can't help but think that the killer/rapist are more evil. But how can something be "more evil"? I would appreciate help with this question...
  2. You're all confusing instincs with reflexes. I suggest checking your definitions.
  3. There is much more brain research to be done on humans before we can give a positive answer to this question (of whether or not having children is a human instinct). However, other animals have very complex behaviors that are entirely instinctive. It is hard to believe that behaviors so complexed are something the animal is born with (in the form of it's genetic code, that later is translated to certain brain circuits and chemicals that trigger those behaviors), but it is true. The brain is an amazing mechanism. Most studies of behaviors are of courtship and coupling. In the simple case of the fruit fly, the fly identifies the female, flies in her direction, touches her with his leg, examines her response, and accordingly starts singing her the specie's love song by moving his wings in a certain manner. Those behaviors have been tracked down to a few genes that are responsible for this behavior. Modifying them has caused the fly to make mistakes in identifying males from females, errors in the length of the "love song", and even caused them to not proceed to coupling after courtship. An animal's behavior is the result of brain circuits, and communication between nerve cells, which is both chemical and electrical. I think that if abilities such as identifying females from males can be tracked down to a few genes, and switched on and off by producing mutant-flies, then it makes sense that same thing exists in regard to offsprings. I also know of a case where researchers discovered a gene responsible for monogamy in certain species (can't find the article, and it's not in English anyway). I believe that the need to look after cubs is hard-wired in animal's brains: which means that their nervous system develops that way (to have the ability to identify the shape, sound, smell etc of the offspring and to react accordingly) automatically. Simple animals have behaviors that are relatively simple, and do not involve a lot of processing in the brain, while more complex animals still have instincts, but there is a lot more calculations going on in the brain before a certain behavior is decided on. I think that the difference is the size/structure of a certain region of the brain of humans and other smart animals that allows more complex information to be processed. For certain apes it means the ability to use and invent tools creatively, and to learn and use the sign language. For human beings it means the ability to invent whole theories, to understand complex mathematics, invent much more complex devices, ability to understand complex concepts etc'. So reason is the mediator between instincts and behavior in some cases. I believe that having offsprings or guarding them is an instinct. I think that sexual drives is another example. Those things are known to exist in other animals, and since we share the same biological mechanisms, and a large portion of the same genes, it makes sense that humans also have those instincts. We just have a brain with a much much greater capability to process information, but the instincts remain.
  4. Well, that's silly. It is wrong to assume that any emotional pain he is experiencing is necessarily a result of a mistake he did, neglect, etc'. It takes a lot for two people to be (romantically) right for each other. What is the reason why you consider a romantic relationship to be the same as nurturing a tooth?
  5. This one is part of my study of how to paint metal (and I really like her expression as well): Here is a close-up on her face.
  6. "Number of rights violated"? It really doesn't take much to realize that this is not the criterion by which severity of offenses is sorted. If I steal a car, or if I steal a Banana I violated the same amount of rights and the same right. So my question is why should the punishment be different? Do you even think the punishment should be different? So I repeat my question, which no one here answered yet: What should be the guiding principles to decide which crime is more severe than the other (=>How to quantify the punishment)? I agree with the frame of reference idea. Now my question is, what should be the punishment for felony of level 0, and why that punishment and not another one? I don't want an answer like "well this is what we've been using so far and it is great, so I suggest using it some more", but a discussion about what makes it great, or not great in the first-place.
  7. what should be the guiding principles for quantifying punishments for crimes? Why should a man that committed murder spend 30 years in jail, while someone who raped serve 6 years, and someone who stole a Banana just pay a fine? all have violated rights...
  8. So basically, you're referring me to books about metallurgy and elasticity... thanks for all the explanations you provided, but it still doesn't answer my question. And while the answer to this question does interest me, it doesn't interest me that much that I would start a research about it and all... Just a little comment about plastic deformation: I was taught that it is sliding of layers of atoms over one another, especially layers that have many dislocations in them, so the sliding become easier (less force is needed since there are fewer connections). My question is basically, what is so special about this specific structure (coil) of the metal (or another material) that causes the deformation to be elastic (or in simpler words, that allow the spring to go back to it's original shape)? what atoms in that structure actually get drifted from one another to allow the stretch to occur? is it all the atoms along the coil? just the external atoms in the coil? How come if we arrange the metal in a different structure we will not get this elasticity? Just figured out something: Say we take a thin stripe of metal: If we apply force parallel to it, then the equation for movement will be strain=stress/(young modulus), but if we apply the force perpendicular to the strip of metal, other things happen. They are too, Elastic deformation, but a different type: In perpendicular force, when the metal stripe is bent (to an arch), the atoms in the upper layer get too close to one another, while the atoms in the bottom layer get too far from one another. That's why, when we release the metal stripe it will try to go back to it's original structure, and start oscillating. Something similar must be happening with a spring as well...
  9. What was said about the problem being actions based on principles is exactly the problem I think the answer to why Johney would not benefit from stealing is that he has one of two damaging choices if he wishes to steals: 1) Do not act by principle, but by random action 2) Act by contradictory principles and lie to yourself to hide the contradictions Man is using one set of principles to judge what is right and what is wrong in actions taken by himself in regard to others and in judging actions taken by other regarding himself. If he is not using one set of principles, then he is constantly lying to himself. An example of that would be if he says that anyone who steals from him is a rotten thief and scum of the earth, but when he is stealing he is making up excuses for himself for why it is ok. Why does he have to make excuses to himself about it? Because no man is capable of surviving while truly believing that they are bad or evil. If one recognizes that what one is doing is bad then one lacks the motivation to do it, and if one thinks of themselves as bad, then one starts self-destructing. To apply it to the CD example, Johney has several options: 1) Hold that "stealing is bad": by that he will recognize his right to property, and will be equipped with confidence that he is justified in fighting for keeping his property. 2) Hold that "stealing is bad, unless you steal from the rich (or whatever)": By that he has decided never to become rich, because apparently he declared it as a bad thing, and because then he will have no moral confidence to defend his property from thieves if he becomes rich. And... becoming rich is definitely something that contradicts his desires, otherwise he wouldn't have a desire for a CD (or other goods). This does not apply only to the "rich" case. Any other excuse that would come instead of it will necessarily lead to the need to lie to oneself. And that causes psychological and emotional damage. 3) Hold that the only morality he accepts is "The strong survives", in other words, if I am more clever and able than you, I will steal your property. If you are more clever than me, you steal mine. Like with animals in the wild. Now, while it is true that as long as there are other people who do not share his view will protect him (by having a police to arrest thieves, murderers, rapists etc), he will be able to live according to that principle and survive, but this view of life WILL harm him at some point: when he has no more people to protect him from his own ideas. A person who holds principle #3 is a thief by profession. He will eventually get caught, or, if he will be consistent with applying this idea, get whacked by his thieve-friends.
  10. This is exactly what I want to know. There is a certain game here between plastic and elastic deformation, that I don't understand. Plastic deformation is when layers of atoms in a metal slide over one another and cause the macro-dimensions of the object to change (like taking a cord of metal and putting it in a spiral shape). The change is final, and when the force is removed the metal will not go back to it's original form. Elastic deformation is when the atoms change the distance from one another temporarily, but layers of atoms don't slide over one another, and when the force is released the metal will go back to it's original form. A spring seems to be behaving like elastic deformation between atoms, only the strange thing is that it acts this way due to the macro-structure of the metal (instead of the micro structure in elastic deformation), and will not react the same under the same force if it's structure was different.
  11. Why does a spring exercises force when stretched or contracted?
  12. I'm from Israel, I live in Haifa, I'm a student. Seems like you haven't been active for months in the forum, Anyway, it was very fun to meet someone from Israel here. MA NISHMA? hehehe!! Recently I discovered a great web-site about Objectivism in Hebrew: אנכי, it has coverage of current events, translation of some articles from the ARI, some articles about Objectivism, all in Hebrew (Isn't that a great relief?), you might find it useful. As for clubs - naa, I don't have time for it, except now, with the war in Lebanon. I have plenty of time now Anyway hope to see you participate in the threads discussing Israel. It should be fun to see what a fellow Israeli thinks of things that are going on in Israel & neighbors...
  13. Definition of integrity from die.net: Frankly I don't think that any of these definitions is good enough. The closest is one, but there needs to be a reference. "Being entire and complete" in what way? according to what standard? I would say that in ethics this standard is one's moral principles. And the meaning of Integrity would be that there are no contradictions in one's moral principles, and actions. Gail Wynand is a very interesting character. I think what made Gail Wynand what he is (still having that great potential in him but using it to make ugly things that he despises) is several wrong premises. One is that he thought justice would be served if he would rule the world instead of cleaning the shoes of despicable people all his life. Second is that there would be no getting out of the poverty and status he was in unless he outsmarts the dirty rules of men, and play their dirty game to win over superiority in status and wealth. (Malevolent universe premise) Third premise is that wealth means power, and power means infinite ability to do everything he wants, including shaping people's minds (A premise he was surprised to find out to be wrong when he tried to use his magazine to win public opinion to support Roark in his trial). He really believed those premises to be true and that's why he never judged himself as bad until he met Roark and realised his premises were wrong, because it was possible to succeed in the world in doing something admirable according to Wynand's standards (something heroic). As long as a person thinks they are good, they will not self destruct. This is why his potential was still there and existing when he met Roark. But once he learned the harsh truth about his life, he started thinking about himself as bad, and started self-destructing (Boy, that was such a tragic scene). Up until now I always used to define Integrity as "telling the truth to yourself" and Honesty as "Telling the truth to others". According to this definition, Gail Wynand did have integrity. He never lied to himself, he only lied to others. He justified hypocrisy. He felt that by being Hypocritical he was actually defeating the things he despised. As for the definition of integrity as moral perfection: I'm stuck at it. I don't think that integrity should mean moral perfection. According to the definition JmeganSnow gave, integrity would mean acting according to the right principles (after making sure they are right, by judging them, while using reason). Which would actually mean moral perfection again, because a man HAS to reach all the right conclusions and develop the right ethical principles before he can be "person of integrity". Na, there's something wrong with it. I think Integrity should be that man is acting according to his principles (even if they are wrong, but he doesn't notice that error) and that to the best of his knowledge, his principles do not contradict one another. According to this definition, Gail Wynand did have integrity. He didn't have other qualities though, like honesty, innocence, and maybe other traits that I don't remember now (I was trying to go by the list of traits from John Galt's speech from Atlas shrugged). Now, as for your question, is this (give up one's soul in this manner [of Wynand] and still maintain one's integrity), ethical? The answer is, duh, no. He was obviously not acting according to principles of Objectivism ethics. If he would then he would have all those traits that I mentioned. However, if a person is not acting according to the right principles, because he has a wrong premise, which is a result of an error in knowledge or in conclusion, then that person should not be condemned either. The only question I have now is, well, if he isn't moral, and he is also not immoral, then what the hell is he?? I probably used two different definitions to examine this question, probably due to the late hour. Anyway, this is it.
  14. You're right, "Myself". The man is not finished yet. You're especially right about the arm. My problem with his arm is that I need a model that will suit the scene, and I couldn't find it. The man is wearing a shirt with sleeves that are suppose to flutter, with a special lightning, plus the appearance of the arm in that position from that angle is hard for me to conceive. I would have to create a good model for this, no other choice. Painting men is a challenge for me. I know the woman body pretty well (personal experience) but I don't have that experience with the male figure. A course in anatomy (for painters) should be excellent. Maybe this year...
  15. Well, Olex, it is not my job to define it. It is the job of the writers of the article to define the words they are using. Why didn't this question come to your mind when you read the word "complicit" in the article? Anyway, the way I decide if someone is complicit or not is more general than the criterions most people use. I want to start from the definition (if I may regard it as so) of mrocktor to what constitutes complicity [with the acts of rights violation by one's government] during a war: Civilians who support the war effort are guilty (providing war materiel, providing food to combatants, providing shelter to combatants, providing intelligence to combatants etc). Civilians who rejoicing in the streets when airliners impact buildings comes to mind I'm sure that the list is incomplete, and there are many other concrete means to provide help to the war machine. Anyway, the problem with those criterions is that they lead to an incorrect judgement of whether or not someone has acted immorally during a war. For example, a person might pay taxes to the government, but on the other hand, contribute to forces that oppose the aggressor. Most of the Christians in Lebanon can be an example of that. Moreover, the actions that a man can take to oppose his government (or the aggressor) differ according to the amount of freedom that citizens have. When spies of the government are spread all over the country and merely speaking one's mind is a life threat, not to mention refusal to pay taxes or attempts to leave the country, it would be unfair to say that someone is complicit because they pay taxes etc if they are willing to fight against the regime, if given a chance to do it effectively. Of course that people who take advantage of the government's policy and encourage it to accumulate wealth, are guilty as heck. Now, what do I mean by "the actions that a man can do to oppose the aggressor"? I said that there is a limit to those actions. What is the meaning of that? Obviously, to avoid paying taxes, a man can kill himself. When that man is called to fight for a goal he despises, he HAS the option of refusing and having his family killed or going to jail (depending on the type of regime). So what is the reason why I regard those options as "non-options"? The reason is that man's actions should be judged according to the proper hierarchy of values of a rational man, and according to the effectiveness of the actions needed to be taken to achieve the goal of eliminating the evil forces. Judging "complicitness" just according to whether or not one is paying taxes would be context dropping. I am aware that Ayn Rand said that the population of a certain country is responsible for the government it has, including the worst dictatorships. However, I never saw any explanation WHY. And since I am not a puppet, willing to accept anything said to me on faith (even if it is Ayn Rand who says it), I will stick to my own standard to judge whether or not someone is guilty of the crimes of his government or not. Moreover, I don't think that anyone can deny that the proper hierarchy of values of a man should be dropped when deciding whether or not someone has acted morally or not, the case of war being one of them, Because it would contradict principles of Objectivism. To make my stand clearer, I need to add the following things: 1) Anyone who is known to be complicit in a war, is a justified target for the defending military. (Complicit being acting not according to a rational man's proper hierarchy of values. An example of this would be a citizen supporting the regime with demonstrations. I think anyone in such a demonstration is a justified target) 2) When attacking targets of the enemy if any innocents are killed on the way (see the IDF strikes in Lebanon) the blame is with the aggressor. The defending military should not avoid targeting the aggressor's means of fighting in fear of hurting innocents, but targeting civilians (which are not known to be not-innocent) is wrong. Of course that this issue is huge and what I said does not cover everything that needs to be said. Moreover, I'm not sure how relevant it is for the discussion of conquered territory and the citizens in it, but Olex, I think I answered your question.
  16. mrocktor, how is it possible that you agree with the article completely? The article, as I see it, proclaims that "All civilians of an enemy country are guilty, simply because they live there". I conclude that from the following two paragraphs, taken from that article: Since the article offers no way of distinguishing between complicit population and non-complicit population, yet offers to target civilians as a military tactic, I conclude that the article suggests that "They are all guilty, simply because they live there". It is also clear from the fact that the article supports the mass killing of Germans and Japanese, without first examining their individual "complicity". Their "complicity" is justified based on the country they live in. This clearly contradicts your opinions: There is a really long discussion about this subject in Israel's disproportionate use of power. I don't agree with certain points made in the article, I think the article lacks basic explanations to support it's conclusions, and that in certain cases can be interpreted in two ways. As for this thread, I realised that the task of determining, at each stage of Israel's History, whether or not we were at war with the population in the west Bank and Gasa is just too difficult to achieve in a matter of a few days. Sometimes it's hard to determine whether the attacks were a result of poverty and lack of freedom over long years, or a result of the population's political views. If anyone else is familiar with the History of Israel and would like to do it, it would be great. In conclusion of the discussion so far: the answer to "what should a country do with conquered territory" is: "if it wishes to hold that territory permanently it should protect the rights of those individuals who live there and acknowledge their right to hold on to their lands and property in that area, (All of this after the war has ended), it should judge the civilians who are suspected to aid the efforts of the enemy in special tribunals, it should tax those people and punish them" When trying to apply this to Israel, after the war of liberation, I realised that it was a wrong way of looking at it, since there was a reason to believe that the majority of the population was hostile to Israel, and would use any freedom granted to deny the rights of Jews. In fact, that means that Israel was still at war even after the war with the Arab Nations was over. I stooped at that point, realising the work needed to be done was too much for me at this time, for a period of a few days.
  17. Here is another painting I am very proud of: It is almost completed except for several details...
  18. You have a great technique. What is the reason why you drew celebrities?
  19. Yes, that shelve is the highest in the room. When I was painting this I did it from my imagination, the way I painted 99.9% of my other paintings. In some paintings certain details are difficult to paint, so I use models. In this painting, for example, I used my own hand as a model for the woman's hand (left one). When I was young my mother had a flowers shop. Sometimes she used to take me to nurseries to buy flowers. The flower growers keep their flowers in refrigerator-rooms. I really liked visiting in those rooms: The air was cold and had the scent of freshly cut flowers and plants. And in the dark, next to the walls there was a marvelous variety of colors and shapes. For me it was magical. I used to stay there until my nose froze or my mother had to go. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  20. You're funny. No, the shelve holding the yellow tulips is lower than her. The horizontal line that is below her waists is a shelve that is above her head, and placed closer to the viewer than she is. It might seem like the two shelves are connected because the lines cross in the bottom left corner, but they are not connected. She was able to get in because it is above her head, and doesn't block the way back. You are looking at the woman from an angle of about 45 deg above her head, slightly above the shelve I am talking about, and that's why the shelve looks like it crosses her waist. If you look at the highest shelve next to the wall (where the ice is) it is in the hight of her head. Well the shelve that crosses below her waists is higher than that shelve. And yes, it is intentional to have her enclosed that way. And yes, there is resemblance to the painting you were talking about: Woman in dark Garden.
  21. Of course: if two people are forced to fight each other to the death under gun threats, they would both me justified in killing the other person, and the blame would be with the person holding the gun. The points I was trying to make with that example are three: 1) People need to be judged individually in order to figure out who is morally responsible for the actions of the government and who isn't. A moral evaluation of a "population" will never be accurate, and therefor should be avoided. 2) When someone is holding a gun against you, no moral assessment is needed: shot to defend, ask questions later. That is why fighting an army is always justified, but targeting civilians is not. 3) Whether or not a person is morally responsible has to be determined by his proper hierarchy of values. We should not expect a man to sacrifice his family, for example, to prevent an immediate harm to citizens of another country, and we should also not expect him to sit and do nothing. It took me a while but I understand the responsibility from passivity now. I would like to talk more about #3, because the issue of proper hierarchy of values in situations like living under dictatorship, war etc, and the proper action that need to be taken is not entirely clear to me. No one here yet talked about what makes a man morally responsible for his government, I think I am the first one who touched on the way to approach it, and allowed judging a real-life man's choices. You (Marc K) did talk about responsibility from passivity, but did not include the wider context under which a man's actions should be judged (to determine whether he is guilty or not). I think we should make a distinction between moral responsibility, and moral guilt. A person is morally responsible of making sure that his labor would not support evil acts. THIS is, in my view, the "responsibility from passivity". If a man stops paying taxes and go live in the woods, he is not longer responsible for overthrowing his government, because he doesn't contribute a thing to it's existence. The fact that a person has a certain moral responsibility doesn't make him morally guilty. He will only become guilty if he wouldn't make the right choices. Moreover, just because a person is paying taxes to his evil government, does not automatically mean he is guilty: We have to examine the rest of his actions to determine that. If the person is a member of a secrete organization that wants to overthrow the gov, and we would kill him to "stop him from paying taxes" then we would not be acting in our best interests. This also relates to your answer "Yes they are: he should always exercise his rights." as an answer to my statement that what a man should do in all the situations I described (his country attacking another one, his country allowing slavery, overtaxing etc) is not unanimous. What I am interested in is an analysis of a concrete situation, from two aspects: what are the values involved for that man, and what should be the action to achieve them. That is why the answer to "what should a man do in different situations" is not unanimous. Of course I agree that he should always exercise his rights", but that was not what I was asking. Since nobody answered my question about the north Korean, Maybe someone would like to answer my question about a Christian Lebanese citizen: In the last, say, 5 years: what should have been the actions of that man, who has a wife and 2 kids, lives in Beirut, has a successful factory (long term actions, no need to go in to his daily routine...), and what are the values that should have guided his actions, and what is the proper hierarchy of those values? Another major question that crossed my mind is: what is the difference between a dictatorship that limits your freedom in all aspects of life, and a dictatorship that gives relative freedom to it's own population, but who violates the right of only a certain group of people (Nazi Germany and the Jews), in terms of the values of that man that are denied? (in one case his own life is at stake and on the other case the right to life of other men is denied). Should his actions be any different in these cases? It is implied in the following quote as I will explain after it: bold emphasis is mine. Since the article offers no way of distinguishing between complicit population and non-complicit population, yet offers to target civilians as a military tactic, I conclude that the article suggests that "They are all guilty, simply because they live there". It is also clear from the fact that the article supports the mass killing of Germans and Japanese, without first examining their individual "complicity". Their "complicity" is justified based on the country they live in. I'm referring to Myron's suggestion to target civilians as a military tactic, I am referring to KendallJ's opinion that there is no difference between achieving a military goal while killing civilians or while avoiding it (assuming they both bare the same risks). But, you are right, I was not faithful to the ideas brought up here, and I was misrepresenting them. They did not suggest to "kill them all" systematically, just part of them, and KendallJ did not suggest killing civilians as a preferred strategy, but simply said that Victory is above all and anything goes in achieving it. I apologize for misrepresenting their views (seriously, not sarcastically). Well then do you agree with Blackdiamond's views? Our discussion now is not about what is, but about what ought to be. Are you suggesting that a government is only obligated to defend the rights of it's citizens, but not of foreigner's? I think this would be a death strike to tourism.
  22. The glass shelve in front of her is above her head, and closer to the viewer than she is. Since we are looking at the room from above (in an angle of about 45 deg) it looks below her waists. The shelve itself doesn't reflect light, only the tip of it, because that's the kind of glass shelves that I am familiar with: The kind that only the tip is not see-through. Another detail that is hard to notice is the ice formed on the shelve in the top left corner, next to the air conditioner. Usually flowers are kept at a really low temperature... As for "sky of gold": The thing that is connecting the buildings is a bridge. As for "Celebrating life": it's one of my favorites too
  23. Thanks Cnqwst. Those are glass shelves. if you look to the sides you'll see flowerpots placed on them. The one that crosses the woman's body below the waist simply has nothing standing on it, so only the edge of the shelve is visible. I hope someday that I will have a scanned version of this painting. What you see now is a photograph done with a digital camera. The result is pretty good but the problem with it is that it makes the lines of the paintings less sharp, and fine details get lost. I'm working on getting a better photo of it. once I have it I'll give the link here...
  24. Marc K. , thank you for the link to that thread. It helps a lot because this is one of the things in the basis of this argument. I read Ayn Rand's words about "The Morality of War and Civilian Casualties", and I have several problems with it. First of all, it is too short, and doesn't cover up everything that needs to be covered up, as I will explain shortly. Secondly is about responsibility from passivity. A person is responsible from passivity only if they had a way of objection that did not mean the annihilation of their supreme values. In each case the answer to what a rational person should do depend on the proper hierarchy of values that a Rational person ought to have, and on the options of action that are open to that individual. For example: No one should ethically "compel" a man to watch his family get hurt if the government is threatening him to either "fight for the army or have your family killed". To not neglect the long term context of this (a government and a war are not started overnight) I will say that this hypothetical person was very active in a movement that planned to overthrow the government. Now, the consequence of this is an innocent man who is fighting in a bad army, for a cause he despises, to preserve a higher value for him. While I would not hesitate to kill him if he was fighting against my country, I would not say that he is morally responsible. I am aware that I took a very extreme example, that is not very likely, but this example should be considered nonetheless, when we discuss moral responsibility, for better understanding of it. It seems to me that some people here have the attitude of "They are all guilty, simply because they live there". That is not true, and children are the most simple example of this. In the case of a dictatorship, Ayn Rand considers the actions of the citizens as follows: "If some people put up with dictatorship—as some do in Soviet Russia and as they did in Germany—they deserve whatever their government deserves." However - she doesn't say what does it mean to "put up with". Obviously, overthrowing a dictatorship would mean a risk to that person's values. Since Objectivism is not expecting a rational man to act against his proper hierarchy of values, the question that needs to be asked is what are the values that are at stake (or can be gained) with each action that a person is taking, and what is the proper choice between those values. Or in other words what should be considered as "passivity" or "putting up with it" and what should be considered a self sacrifice? Can anyone give a concrete example of what a citizen of North Korea, who has a family and no other specialities other than being a writer do? At what point will his actions be considered as "putting up with it", and at what point can we say that he is doing enough and he is not morally responsible? And what are the values involved (for a rational man in this position)? As for the article being too short, and too general: There are many different cases of violation of rights by a government, and the article is very general, and does not consider the fact that there is a variety of situations: Given the fact that a man's country is attacking another country, what should a rational man do? Given that a man's country is allowing slavery, what should a rational man do? Given the fact that a man's country is giving away money for spreading a certain religion, what should a rational man do? The answers to all these questions is not unanimous, and should be considered individually, and according to the context. In any case different values (for that man) are involved, different rights are violated, in different degrees, and the context for such hypothetical rational person can be different too (He might be married with children or single, his workplace and the people he know and his abilities to object can vary etc). Even if we are talking about the violation of right to life of citizens of another country, we cannot logically generalize the answer to all of the different situations possible by concluding "All citizens of a country that allow aggression are guilty guilty guilty and let's kill them all" (and please correct me if I'm wrong in interpreting that this is the meaning of targeting civilian populations as a military tactic). For example, the citizens of Lebanon: The money they pay to the government is not going to fund weapons of the Hesbollah. Hesbollah is like a foreign force among them, that differs greatly in ideology and lifestyle from a big part of the population. Should we target those people, who are capitalists, freedom lovers, Because they allowed their government to allow Hesbollah to function in their territory? Or should we try to use them to defeat Hesbollah, which they would be happy to do? This example clearly demonstrates that a blind "They are all guilty let's kill them all" attitude is dangerous and inefficient. Instead of killing the population, a better way would be to use them as a fighting force against their government. How come no one here has thought of this option? The other question that I have, if we acknowledge the fact that innocents in war do exist (children), is why should we not make an effort to avoid hurting them? If we put a limit to what a person can do in self defense in a society, why shouldn't we put this limit in case of individuals of different countries? (by that I am repeating an old question of mine which I haven't got an answer for yet).
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