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Underground Railroad and Incest
NateTheGreat posted a topic in EthicsI basically have two questions. Often when asking theoretical situations, opponents of Objectivism concoct some absurd hypothetical and impossible situation and the altruist connotation of selfishness to somehow prove it's a bad thing. I have a question today, and I'll be citing a legend that could have actually happened and would like to get your take on it. You're a slave escaping through the Underground Railroad and you're in a group. Unfortunately, a baby is crying and will not stop crying and you fear the people nearby will hear and wonder what is going on. The only way to keep the baby from crying is to kill it. What do you do? Approaching this from what I know of Objectivism, I can see both angles to this. 1: Killing the baby. While the baby is not using force, or even the broader negation of the mind, (lying, fraud are two examples I can think of that don't precisely fit under force) it does fundamentally attack one's highest value: life. Life simply would not be worth living as a slave, which is why Ayn Rand obviously escaped to the United States. Since this baby threatens one's value life and because to keep the baby alive you must sacrifice yourself, it is perfectly moral to kill the baby. Questions arose from this: If you accept this, doesn't it mean that if one stands in the way of your values, you may treat them as simply an obstacle in your way to be hurdled over? Isn't this an example of "sacrificing the individual for the greater good"? How could an Objectivist support this? Objectivism is founded upon the value of life. How can it be appropriate to kill? 2: Not killing the baby. Basically the questions from before. You're using initiating the use of force against the baby, while the baby has done nothing to harm you. Oism also protects individual rights, therefore it's completely inappropriate to kill the baby. Obviously I'm wrong in my thinking on either one of these, so if someone could clear it up for me it'd be appreciated. QUESTION NUMBER 2: How does Objectivism rationally come to the conclusion that polygamy or incest are immoral, while being gay or lesbian is moral?