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knast

"In Our Name"?

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There can be five types of people under a dictatorship.

By contribution I mean economical contribution.

1) Those who support its philosophy and contribute to it - Legitimate Targets.

2) Those who oppose its philosophy but still contribute or are forced contribute

to it - Legitimate Targets as they are supporting evil.

3) Those who oppose its philosophy and work to destroy it - They would welcome

help of any kind.

4) Those who oppose its philosophy and do not contribute to it by working on a

farm, etc - The best option for them is to stay as far as possible from urban

areas and military centers.

5) Those who oppose the dictatorship but are forced in captivity - They too would

welcome help of any kind.

Thus nearly all of the people killed in bombings either support a dictatorship and/or contribute to it and we should not hesitate from bombing them if necessary.

It is either them or us.

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GC, you make a valid point. The Unwilling citizens of a dictatorship are not immoral, and shouldn't be condemned in that regard. But you are missing the other side - they *are* after all supporting your enemy, and indirectly working towards your destruction.

Their moral status is actually in between moral and immoral; it's amoral. Their moral status is like that of machines which make the bombs for the enemy - they didn't choose to contribute to evil, thus they aren't immoral, but they *are* contributing to evil and working towards your death, and thus deserve no consideration from you about their existence other than mere expediency.

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There's no contradiction. Yes, I would drop the bomb in order to save American lives. I would not do so, however, merely to "punish the enemy."

What if punishing the enemy saved American lives?

As for the idea that people give a dictatorship sanction by not fleeing, have you never heard of the Berlin Wall? It's not rational to sacrifice yourself trying to escape. It's also not rational to sacrifice yourself in a futile rebellion.

Was it irrational for the citizens of 1776 to engage in a futile rebellion?

It's absurd to say that people are responsible for their government, when they did not freely choose that government and cannot freely oppose it. How can there be responsibility without freedom of choice?

I think it absurd to say people are not responsible for their government. . .

As I explained in post #17:

Rights are moral sanctions to positive action. Meaning, your right to life not only grants you the moral sanction to life, your right to life requires that you take positive action in order to live.

Your right to liberty requires that you take action if you don’t have it. The only thing that can prevent you from being free is force, so in order to be free, that force must be removed. Whose responsibility do you think it is to remove that force?

You seem to be hung-up on the question of responsibility and freedom of choice. We all have freedom of choice, it is part of our nature as men. The basic choice we each face every day is: life or death. To choose death would be irrational, to choose life requires that we do something in order to live. The choice facing those who live under the thumb of a dictator is: freedom or slavery. To choose slavery would be irrational, to choose freedom requires that you do something in order to be free.

There are many ways to fight for this freedom either actively or passively, the easiest and perhaps most rational way is to leave. You can’t be serious with the “Berlin Wall”! How long was the border between East and West Germany?

We could argue about what makes one morally responsible for their government’s actions and what percentage of a given population is truly innocent, but that won’t change the fact that a people are responsible to suffer the consequences of their government’s actions. As you have already implied: it was moral to drop the two A-bombs on Japan.

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There are many ways to fight for this freedom either actively or passively, the easiest and perhaps most rational way is to leave. You can’t be serious with the “Berlin Wall”! How long was the border between East and West Germany?

It is not the length that mattered. The level of security was so high that crossing the wall was extremely risky and many lost their lives in the process.

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It is not the length that mattered. The level of security was so high that crossing the wall was extremely risky and many lost their lives in the process.

Please reread the passage you quoted. I was not talking about Berlin.

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You can’t be serious with the “Berlin Wall”! How long was the border between East and West Germany?

The entire border between east and west Germany was heavily defended. It was the most heavily defended border in the world for a while (even more so than the 38th parallel). Both the US and Russia expected a conventionally fought WWIII to begin along that border. The entire length was covered by walls, fences, land mines, and hundreds of thousands of East German and Soviet troops. There were 350,000+ Soviet troops alone in East Germany. This is not even counting the East German military. 350,000+ troops is roughly twice what America has in Iraq right now and East Germany was roughly 25% the size of Iraq. Again, this isn't including the East German military. Most of the troops were concentrated along the border to repel an invasion that the Soviets were sure was coming sooner or later. The situation with the Polish and Czech borders was much better, but who the hell would want to go there; they were worse off than the East Germans and they would have just been sent back to be executed anyway.

There was no way out. People were still dying in escape attempts all along the border into the late 80s. Are you suggesting they were morons who could have simply found some farmers field and walked across like going from Canada to America? To suggest that they could merely leave is naive in the extreme.

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No, but it does put a stop to the ridiculous direction in which you were taking it.

As for 'difficult", look up the effects of the East German PPM-2 anti personnel land mine on the human body and let me know if the word difficult really applies here. Some reading on the workings of a police state might also help your understanding of the situation (movies and spy novels don't count).

While I agree with the "thrust of the rest of this thread", and the morality of this type of use of force if necessary, when it comes to assessing other's options in these situations you have no idea what you're talking about. It's easy to say resist, but not so easy to actually do it when doing so will get your entire family executed. While this isn't our problem, so to speak, it should at least temper one's enthusiasm for carpet bombing and thermonuclear weapons.

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Recognizing that people cannot easily flee dictatorships does change the thrust of the thread. Your whole argument rests on the idea that people can freely oppose or escape a dictatorship with little risk. This is simply not true.

Was it irrational for the citizens of 1776 to engage in a futile rebellion?

We could argue about what makes one morally responsible for their government’s actions and what percentage of a given population is truly innocent, but that won’t change the fact that a people are responsible to suffer the consequences of their government’s actions. As you have already implied: it was moral to drop the two A-bombs on Japan.

No, the American Revolution was not irrational. But the pre-revolutionary colonies were hardly a Stalinist dictatorship, and the chances of a successful rebellion were quite good.

I agree that "people are responsible to suffer the consequences of their government’s actions." The fault, though, lies with their governments, not with themselves. Again, it is moral to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves. If mass attacks on civilians would accomplish that, I would agree with it. But I do not think they would.

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No, but it does put a stop to the ridiculous direction in which you were taking it.

Actually I have already made all of my principled arguments and I’m pretty much done with this thread. What “ridiculous direction” do you think I was taking it?

While I agree with the "thrust of the rest of this thread", and the morality of this type of use of force if necessary

You seem to be in conflict with yourself. While I should have said “thrust of my posts” I think you are here acknowledging agreement with it. If so, why the hostility and ad hominem?

You seem not to like my usage of the word “difficult”. Would you have felt better if I had instead said “very difficult”, or are you saying it was “impossible” to escape?

when it comes to assessing other's options in these situations you have no idea what you're talking about.

If there is another option besides resist or comply, please enlighten me.

it should at least temper one's enthusiasm for carpet bombing and thermonuclear weapons.

This is extremely insulting. You are attributing to me the mindset of a mass murderer. Do you think the necessities of war are comparable to the actions of a murderer? Was it moral for the U.S. to drop 2 atomic bombs on Japan to end WWII?

I suggest that you go back and read Posts #17 and #28 since this is where the thrust of my argument and the principles underlying it lies:

If a people are not free it is their responsibility to take action to secure their freedom. Whether it is easy or difficult to escape or resist a dictatorship matters not. Whether one is truly “innocent” doesn’t matter either. When a dictatorship, the people allow to exist, threatens another nation, they are all legitimate targets.

In the future if you want to be taken seriously refrain from personal attacks, insults and attributing motives not specifically stated. Instead you will have more luck being considered rational if you attack the explicitly stated arguments and principles of another by quoting them and showing where they have gone wrong, enumerating principles that contradict the ones you don’t like.

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Your whole argument rests on the idea that people can freely oppose or escape a dictatorship with little risk.

I never said this, in fact I said it was "difficult". Never the less, it does not matter, the people are responsible to take action in order to secure their freedom.

No, the American Revolution was not irrational. But the pre-revolutionary colonies were hardly a Stalinist dictatorship, and the chances of a successful rebellion were quite good.

The point is: American Revolutionaries took action to resist a tyrany and many died doing so. They knew that it was not only their right to do so but their responsibility as well.

If mass attacks on civilians would accomplish that, I would agree with it. But I do not think they would.

I disagree with you here as does Yaron Brook, Leonard Peikoff, and Ayn Rand. Did the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan actually end WWII or not?

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Again, it is moral to do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves. If mass attacks on civilians would accomplish that, I would agree with it. But I do not think they would.

Then by this statement, your objections are those of strategy, and not the basic morality involved.

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My problem is with the wholesale condemnation of entire populations as immoral and worthy of death. Instead of simply saying that we will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves, that it is regrettable but their goverment made it necessary, an attempt was made to say that the people deserved to die because of an uninformed notion about what is possible to a person in a police state.

Of course, it is their resposibility and theirs alone to change their government. But it is not immoral or irrational to recognize the limits placed on people by the existence of a brutal police state and to take that into account when deciding whether or not to destroy entire cities. If it is necessecary, then do it. It doesn't matter at that point whether they are innocent or guilty. If it isn't necessary, or you know it probably won't work, and you do it anyway, or advocate it, in order to punish people without regard to innocence or guilt, that is immoral.

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wholesale condemnation of entire populations as immoral and worthy of death.

Please cite a specific example of where this was said.

Instead of simply saying that we will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves, that it is regrettable but their goverment made it necessary,
This is exactly what Objectivists do say. (Good usage of the word “their” here)

an attempt was made to say that the people deserved to die

Please cite a specific example of where this was said.

because of an uninformed notion about what is possible to a person in a police state.
So you are saying that resistance is impossible. Nice to meet you Mr. Borg. I was going to point out your continued personal attacks as far as “uninformed notion” is concerned but I guess in a way you are right -- I am not nearly as informed about altruist doctrine as you seem to be, nor nearly as swayed by appeals to emotion as you are.

But it is not immoral or irrational to recognize the limits placed on people by the existence of a brutal police state

You are right, it is completely rational to recognize the fact that dictatorial regimes are horrible places to live. It would be immoral to:

take that into account when deciding whether or not to destroy entire cities.
The only thing you would take into account when deciding to nuke a city is if it would end the war sooner, saving American lives.

If it isn't necessary, or you know it probably won't work, and you do it anyway, or advocate it, in order to punish people without regard to innocence or guilt, that is immoral.

I can’t really decipher this. If it is unnecessary and unworkable you’d be irrational if you proceeded. But we don’t have some magic nuke that will only kill the guilty. So if the decision is made to raze a city, the innocent will be punished along with the guilty for allowing their government to become threatening to a free nation.

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Inspector: The difference is that I do not think it is moral to consider all civilians "the enemy" regardless of whether they pose a military threat or not.

I disagree with you here as does Yaron Brook, Leonard Peikoff, and Ayn Rand.

Did the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan actually end WWII or not?

Please give the relevant Ayn Rand quote. I believe Yaron Brook and Leonard Peikoff are going further than she ever did.

I think its debatable whether dropping of the atomic bombs was really the main reason Japan surrendered. Previous conventional firebombings of Japanese (and German) cities killed more people and did more damage than the atomic bombings, yet did not cause Japan (or Germany) to surrender.

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Inspector: The difference is that I do not think it is moral to consider all civilians "the enemy" regardless of whether they pose a military threat or not.

This is completely illogical. You would not consider civilians "the enemy" even if they posed a military threat?????????????????????????

Several quotes are provided by Knast at the beginning of this thread. The following is a Q&A from her speech Global Balkanization:

Q: Miss Rand, as an advocate of individualism there's one point that I find difficulty in figuring out in my own mind, and perhaps you can clarify and that is the statement that it is the prerogative of a free country to invade and attack what you call a slave state or a slave pen or a non-free country. I find this hard to figure out because in the final analysis it is not a nation attacking a nation it's people attacking people, attacking individuals, and they may not want your attack. Could please explain that?

AR: ...I know the source of this statement. It's the idea that nations do not exist, only individuals and if some poor blob in Soviet Russia didn't want an invasion, or he is not a communist, we mightn't harm him. Who do you think permits governments to go to war? Only a government can put a country into war and who keeps their government in power? The citizens of that country. Including the worst dictatorships. Even Soviet Russia who did not elect the communists keeps them in power by passivity. Nazi Germany did elect it's dictatorship, and therefore even those germans who were against Hitler were still responsible for that kind of government and have to suffer for the consequences.

In addition, Ayn Rand said (I am paraphrasing): If the U.S. had attacked the USSR, as they rightfully could have, and she had been killed by a bomb, while it would have regretable, she would understand the necessity of such action. (Perhaps someone else can provide the source).

There is no daylight on this issue between AR, LP, and YB.

I think its debatable whether dropping of the atomic bombs was really the main reason Japan surrendered. Previous conventional firebombings of Japanese (and German) cities killed more people and did more damage than the atomic bombings, yet did not cause Japan (or Germany) to surrender.

Please tell me what you think caused the end of WWII. And after that tell me whether you think Japan would have surrendered if we hadn't attacked their homeland killing vast numbers of civilians.

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