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Morality of killing a politician who's violating rights

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Is it moral to kill a polician who works to violate peoples' rights?

I suppose the proper answer to this question would involve extremity of action. In fact, context does matter when assessing a situation and deciding whether or not to apply a given conclusion. If she endorses simple (conservative) democrat policies, not true Socialism, then retribution a la death isn't a justified course of action. If, however, she endorses containment units, oppression through expression in all forms life, artificial population control methods, etc., then I'd argue that death might be preferable.

Now, if the subtext of your question were, "Why should certain punishments exist," I'd be happy to discuss.

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Is it moral to kill a polician who works to violate peoples' rights?

It is not legal or moral for any person to murder another person, it makes no difference if the victim is a politician.

Assassination is non-objective, to say the least. If a politician is making non-objective and irrational excuses for bad laws the answer is not to abandon objectivity. Nor is self-defense an excuse when there is no immediate life threatening physical harm or threat of such harm to act against.

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A politician that does not respect individual rights is not a politician, but a mobster. Kill 'em all.

So throw away the politician's right to be tried against an objective standard?

So you do not respect the individual rights of the politician?

So you too are a mobster.

I'll get my gun.

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It is not legal or moral for any person to murder another person, it makes no difference if the victim is a politician.

Assassination is non-objective, to say the least. If a politician is making non-objective and irrational excuses for bad laws the answer is not to abandon objectivity. Nor is self-defense an excuse when there is no immediate life threatening physical harm or threat of such harm to act against.

Would you say it would be improper for Germans in the 1940s to kill Nazi politicians?

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Whole lot of context dropping going on here. In 1940 the average German citizen had no political recourse left. Therefore assassination of Nazi's would have been moral, a moral imperative IMO.

In the USA in 2011 there are plenty of political and legal avenues open to counter someone who is bent on violating your rights.

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Is it moral to kill a polician who works to violate peoples' rights?

If you think it is you should probably go live in a 3rd-world, chaos-ridden country. People do not deal with other people like that in civilized society.

Rand had made it quite clear in her writings, numerous times in fact, when violent action is permissible and when it is not. Others have elaborated on this properly already.

Yea, I suppose us Objectivists can just sit by while evil does it's work. :rolleyes:

Yeah thats exactly how you stop evil, by creating it yourself.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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Would you say it would be improper for Germans in the 1940s to kill Nazi politicians?

What Zip said. When the Gestapo start coming for people then self defense and extralegal defense of others is moral.

There may be parallels to draw between the present and Weimar Germany, but not between the present and the Third Reich.

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I don't know about moral, but how about pointless? Politicians are mostly mouthpieces for someone else, whatever the act they're carrying out it's unlikely to stop after their deaths.

Lincoln getting shot didn't affect the results of the civil war. The commies assassinating the Czar didn't bring about the revolution. I don't know much about JFK but I'm assuming that his death did little to hamper his legacy. Rabin's death did not stop the oslo agreements. So on, so forth.

The probable result of such an assassination is the majority uniting behind whatever the dead person was promoting, with the benefit of the assassination serving as the ultimate argument against any and all opposition.

Even within a dictatorship you're likely to lose. Caesar's death didn't bring the Roman Republic back. The USSR didn't exactly turn into a bastion of freedom when they offed Stalin, did it? If those officers had managed to kill Hitler, would it bring about the end of the third reich or would some other high-ranking member take over? In fact, Stalin had only publicly displayed his powers after Kirov was assassinated in '34 - that's well over a decade of unopposed rule. Hitler was the head of a minority party until someone torched the Reichstag. All in all, it would appear that the assassination of a person you're opposed to serves the exact opposite of your purposes. Unless of course you kill someone you agree with.

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No, I'm the "police man", the defender of man's rights, a Ragner.

You are nothing of the sort.

The police man upholds the law - which may or may not be moral.

The defender of rights does not dismiss the rights of the accused.

And I do not know what a "Ragner" is.

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Is it moral to kill a polician who works to violate peoples' rights?

Dude, are you serious right now?

Nobody in this thread will actually try to physically harm a politician in real life, but that does not imply the OP was not joking. People pose questions to themselves, even ones that seem absurd at first glance. Sometimes, "extreme" hypothetical questions help them focus on a single aspect. For instance, notice that the OP did not ask "should one kill ..." but "is it moral to kill". This hints at it being hypothetical. The phrasing suggests that he already knows that only a suicidal person would attempt such a thing, but is wondering whether it would be justified "in theory". It is the mirror image of a similar question that comes up: "what if I could do one major robbery and get away with it, making as much money as I can earn through honest work; would the robbery then be in my rational self-interest?" Typically, people who ask such questions are not planning to act on it: they're merely trying to straighten things out conceptually in their own minds.

Typically, someone asking the question is also assuming that there is a dichotomy between the moral and the practical. He's wondering thus: "It would be impractical to the point of madness to go out and kill a politician; but would it be moral if I could someone get away with it miraculously?" So, let's consider the morality of it. Since this is an Objectivist forum, we can start by rephrasing the moral question thus: "Is it in my rational selfish interest to kill a politician?" However, this does not quite reflect the unspoken assumption of being able to get away with it, so we can re-frame it thus" "Is it in my rational selfish interest to kill a politician, if I could get away with it?" This already takes one into an unrealistic hypothetical. Still, if one plays along with the thought-experiment for a minute what does one find?

Playing along, one finds (as some have pointed out above) that it would be pointless. Assuming a context like the U.S., we're talking about people who are elected into power by voters, and who largely reflect the the views of those voters. The only real long-term way to stop politicians from doing the things they do is to have enough voters who think somewhat like you do. The only medium-term way is to have voters think the way you do on certain issues, even if they have not come around on others. [Of course, if this were Nazi Germany past a certain point, or North Korea, the context would be far different.] Even if we assume that we can have some God-like miraculous power, it would be more practical and moral to use it to change people's minds rather than to harm them.

Back in real life, political change is not an easy route because it implies a change of philosophy, but it is the only one that can lead to any positive outcomes: so one has to choose the extremely difficult route that can get some results over the easier pointless one. So, no, the pointless option is not in one's selfish interest.

It is important to point out that the difficulty of political change does not mean there are no good options left. Far from it. The moral and practical option is to ask: "what are my personal values, and how can I achieve them to my best ability and maximize my happiness across my lifetime?" For example, the woman in this video seems to be enjoying life, despite the political system. Ignorance is not bliss, but nor should awareness be sorrow.

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No, I'm the "police man", the defender of man's rights, a Ragner.

Policemen act inside the law. People who act outside the law are vigilantes. People who murder other people are, well, murderers and/or assassins. One should not drape the preference of expedience over the rule of law with such fine clothing.

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If you cannot understand the reasoning and have not yet read the non fictional works, and need a fictional reference...

I have little doubt that if O'ism allowed for ANY room for such activity, Rand would have made a point of saying so.

Keep in mind that her only "Criminals" in her works either destroyed/stole their own property, or took property - ONLY property - from Governments. NO MORAL CHARACTER in her works ever used force to harm others persons when those persons were posing no immediate threat to themselves or to some other innocent.

Ragnar Daneschold never hurt anyone AFAIK. Francisco Danconina shot at thugs who were shooting at Readeron workers. Dagny killed a guard who was allowing Galt to be tortured - and only after much warning.

If you engage in violence against politicians when NON violent recourse is still available you are not a policeman, you are not a defender, you are not a ranger.

You are a thug.

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Ok, Ragner didn't actually kill anybody in the novel, supposedly, or at lease it was never mentioned, or was too insignificant to mention. That can be merely because Atlas Shrugged was not meant to be a war novel, but don't let that dissuade aspiring "Objectivist revolutionaires" to work towards a better world anyway we each individually can, even if it may come down to using extreme force.

Remember Steven Mallory's assassination attempt on Tohey? Remember how Roark didn't seem to mind, like it was besides the point? Remember how Mallory's unkept room was compared to a battlefield?

Remember at the end of We The Living, who dies? Is that justifiable?

Give me liberty or give me death.

Edited by Dingbat
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...don't let that dissuade aspiring "Objectivist revolutionaires" to work towards a better world anyway we each individually can, even if it may come down to using extreme force.

What you are suggesting is not compatible with Objectivism.

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