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May countries that do not respect rights be wiped out?

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Ifat Glassman
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To carpet bomb a country, which is what we are talking about here, indisciminate killing - because the change is not comming fast enough is not justified.

Why? There are several people that have expressed the view that it is justified.

My problem with all this is this: People may not have intrinsic value, but they all have the right to life, their life, and the only way to violate that right is through force. Why is it important that we as individuals surrender the use of force in retaliation to the government? Why is is so important that a government have a sole monopoly on force? Why does the government not simply kill anyone that has maimed, harmed, assaulted, stolen or even threatened anyone else?

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Think about the example I gave about the 9 11th people in the ariplanes and what would you decide.

This is a great example. Need I remind you of Flight 93? The did fight back against their captors, and they died doing so. They took responsibility for their lives AND they attempted to defend their country with their lives pretty much knowing that they were going to die either way. This is the same thing I am saying is the responsibility of the North Koreans (or any other country under such dictatorial conditions).

Also, I have little doubt that IF the US government connected the dots quick enough and it had even been possible (since the crashes seemed to be reasonably well choreographed to happen contemporaneous to each other), they would have shot the planes down to prevent a larger loss of American life or a greater threat to the stability of the country. There's little doubt that the lack of free-flowing information to connect these dots significantly pretty much negated the possibility of any such response. Yes, those passengers could very well have had to face "tough luck". In your particular example, this is a no-win situation for the hostages anyway. Die by being shot down, die by being crashed into a building... take your pick. As this relates to oppressed citizens, die fighting for a chance to be free, or die in a slow, miserable existence as a puppet at the end of someone else's strings. Achieving life is not the same as avoiding death.

"Why would you protect innocent americans by law but feel free to kill innocent citisens of an unfree country to prevent the slightest risk your army would have to endure"?
There is a quite simple answer to this. We would protect American lives (even soldiers) in general over Iraqi live is because OUR government's first responsibility is to the lives of the people that make up OUR country. The US government is NOT obligated to Iraqis like it is to the people of America. If we have to go fix their problems, or we have to defend ourselves from their people, they have to live with the consequences of their lack of taking responsibility for their own lives. Iraqi lives are not equal in value to American lives to most Americans or the American government and that is as it should be.

The same holds true in the most any hostage situation. As a police officer, I'm not expected or obligated to die just to save someone else's life. I may have to put my life at some risk and I may die, but I still have the right (and duty) to minimze that risk as much as possible, even if that sometimes means placing the lives of hostages at greater risk.

However, there is a significantly different principle involved between most hostage situations and the oppressed country situation. In any given hostage situation, I can have a reasonable expectation that even if

I choose not to resist, I may have to wait a relatively short period of time to regain my freedom. Also, I have a reasonable expectation that even though the police officers outside probably won't be sacrificing their lives for mine, they will attempt to make some effort to restore my freedom (and the freedom of other hostages) as soon as possible. North Koreans have no such hope. The North Korean government is clearly not fighting to make their people free. It is their government that is their hostage taker. Nor can they rely on other governements or people's to come and risk their lives to improve their lots. It's not a matter of whether it's nice or fair, it's a matter of reality that they must fend for themselves. The consequences of ignoring that reality is the North Korean government you see today.

I prefer counter arguments instead of an arbitrary "Both of your points are fallacious", which has no value to me whatsoever.

That statements that followed were the counter arguments, and thus my statement was not aribtrary (without reason).

"Your position seems to assume that no American has ever had to die to achieve the (relative) freedom and prosperity we have earned today". I have no idea how you came up with that conclusion.
Because you said this;

1) They are under a life threat. you, are free to act against their government

In re-reading this statement, I realize my comment does not fit what you said, but rather what I misinterpreted your statement to say. My apologies. I misread that to imply that we have always been "free" to act against our own government without "life threat".

That said, there is no automatic assumption that we are "free" to act against North Korea without "life threat" to our citizens or our military, however slight.

However, let me pose this question to you; if you suddenly find that you have an attacker holding a gun to your head, do you or do you not think that under that life threat, it is still your responsibility to attempt to save your life?

Edited by RationalCop
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Do you see that the change does not come easy?

Whether the change comes easy or not is immaterial to answering his question "What do you actually to do...etc.?"

To clarify, nothing I have said should be (or could even logically be construed) as promoting the the "hurrying up" of change for the oppressed country by means of obliterating them for no other reason than they have an oppressive government. To the contrary, I have simply addressed the nature of the responsibility of the American government to protect American lives and not risking them for the sake of fixing other countries problems. I would only choose the "carpet bombing" option if the country in question was posing some threat to America.

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You still haven't answered my question though. My question was, and I quote: "Would you say it is ok to blow up the plane to bits (before you knew what would eventually happen with it) because the passangers are responsible for the deeds of the kidnapers, because they did not overthrow them?" You answered my question while knowing the faith of the airplane. About the hostage situation: Again, your answer was irrelevant to the question. The question was is it ok to hurt the hostages to get to the criminals without any attempt to save the hostages' lives? As a policeman, I'm sure you would answer "no". That the hostages are innocent, they are not responsible for the actions of the criminals, and any attempt to rescue them should be made. You would not say that "Well, they are guilty in the bank robbery because they do not oppose the criminals, so let's choose the easiest way to get to the robbers, even if it means huring those people."

And then my next question is: but the situation of citisens of a dictatorship is just the same, only they are citisens of another country. The question is what justifies killing them? (and please think about my example before jumping to the conclusions you already have) if we agree that they are innocent (like we agree that hostages should be rescued and not shot if it means an easier access to the criminals), then why are their lives worthless by default? Why is it ok to choose the easiest way to destroy the Nroth Korea government, if it means killing innocent people? In the individual case, it would be like the example of the busy street when sombody points a gun at you, and you can ither shoot back, with a great risk of hurting other people on the way, or try to defend yourself in other ways, which are more risky, but do not involve hurting those people.

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So if somebody pointed a gun at you in a busy street, and you had the option of shooting back, but with a great chance that you would hit other people on the way, would you justify killing other poeple in the street to save your own life?

Yes.

I wouldn't.
That's because your premises are altruistic.

I would let your ass sit in jail for a long time if you start shooting everyone just to save your own life.

When the Objectivist society comes, you won't be making any decisions about whose a** sits in jail.

Especially if you have the option of running, hiding, calling the police, or calling for help, even if it means greater risk, you should take that risk rather than killing innocents.
Pay attention. I have already stipulated that I would shoot if that were "the only self-defense action available."

As you said, a person in this case would have to prove that this was the only self defense action available. Why, then, does this rule do not apply to citisens of different countries?

Who said it didn't?

I don't get it. why are innocent americans better than innocent Iraquies? why would you protect the first by law, but feel free to kill the later to prevent the slightest risk your army would have to endure?
Because the United States Department of Defense is the UNITED STATES Department of Defense.

No, I wouldn't. I do think that in case that there is no other option available, and we are facing ither annihilation or using the bomb, then use the bomb against the attacking country. (which would be the same as letting free a man who killed someone under a gunpoint, on the individual case). Besides, the bomb is a good method to deter enemy countries from attacking.

You would allow your government to kill innocent people in order to save your own neck? How utterly selfish of you!

I have a simple question: Why? Why are they responsible (if they didnt vote for the government or accept any of their ideas)?
Because each person is ultimately responsible for taking care of himself. It is not the responsibility of others to take care of you.

it's like saying that it is the responsibility of hostage people to oppose their captors (or like saying that the people in the ariplanes on 9 11th were responsible for opposing their kidnapers.

I could not have said it better. If the hostage can't kill his captor, and the captor threatens me, then I'll kill the captor even if doing so risks the life of the hostage.

Would you say it is ok to blow up the plane to bits (before you knew what would eventually happen with it) because the passangers are responsible for the deeds of the kidnapers, because they did not overthrow them?

If a hijacked plane is headed for the Sears Tower, we don't have to wait for impact before shooting it down.

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You still haven't answered my question though. My question was, and I quote: "Would you say it is ok to blow up the plane to bits (before you knew what would eventually happen with it) because the passangers are responsible for the deeds of the kidnapers, because they did not overthrow them?"

First, let me point out something that does not make sense to me in your question. In one part you say "before you knew what would eventually happen with it" and then you follow that with "the deeds of the kidnappers". That latter implies that we DO know that the kidnappers HAVE done something, or we have reason to suspect that they WILL do something. One need not be able to divine the future before one takes action to defend oneself once what appears to be a viable threat has emerged. So, what "deeds" are you referring to?

However, If you wish to continue to use the 9-11 incident (as though it could have been handled differently) let's assume Flight 93 is still in the air, the passengers did not rebel against the hostage takers and the two other planes have already hit the WTC. If Flight 93 is off-course (and really not just off course, but WAY off course as I recall was the case) and not responding to radio communications, the same behavior exhibited by the previous two planes just before crashing into the WTC, then the plane probably needs to be shot down. The likelihood of three planes doing that all in a relatively short period of time and the third plane only doing so "innocently" is probably astronomical. So altough we cannot divine the future and say what will eventually happen if we do nothing, we do know enough to reasonably think that the plane is a threat in some significant way. But, since in the scenario you mention the hostages are American, I would take more care, if possible, in not taking their lives than I would in not taking the lives of Iraqis. Why? Because as an AMERICAN police officer and part of the AMERICAN government, it is Americans that I have assumed a duty to attempt to protect, and the lives of those American hostages are of higher value to me than those of a threatening country full of non-Americans, whom I have NO duty or obligation to try to protect.

Now, all that said, your question is NOT analogous to the oppressed country situation as I explained in my previous response to you, so you can refer to my previous post because I'm not going to repeat that section again. I also don't think you are considering the significant difference between the long term and short term nature of the comparisons you are trying draw. You are attempting to compare a situation of emergency ethics to one of day to day life ethics. The North Korean people are not in the

In my follow up post, I clarified that I would not blow up an oppressive country solely because it was an oppressive country UNLESS it posed a threat to my country. IF it did pose a threat, we would essentially KNOW (again, it's not necessary to know what the outcome "would be") and then I would blow up the country with little concern for civilian casualties. Why? Because their inaction to protect and propagate freedom for their own lives has allowed a force to flourish which now threatens my life and/or the life of other Americans, some of whom I value greatly; because they have allowed their Government to become and/or remain the bad guy, and they have not demanded that it be a force to protect them from bad guys and to protect their individual rights.

the question was is it ok to hurt the hostages to get to the criminals without any attempt to save the hostages' lives? As a policeman, I'm sure you would answer "no".
Then you would surely be wrong, because my answer as a policeman would be, "it depends". Not every hostage situation is the same so that question cannot be answered with a blanket yes or no.

if we agree that they are innocent

"We" don't agree that they are each equally "innocent". You are attempting to compare a situation of emergency ethics to one of daily life ethics. The North Korean people are not in the "lifeboat" as they accept daily to live under oppression, work to support their oppressors, and consistently lose the value in their own lives. If they don't place a high value on their life, you can bet that I'm not going to.

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First, let me point out something that does not make sense to me in your question. In one part you say "before you knew what would eventually happen with it" and then you follow that with "the deeds of the kidnappers". That latter implies that we DO know that the kidnappers HAVE done something, or we have reason to suspect that they WILL do something. One need not be able to divine the future before one takes action to defend oneself once what appears to be a viable threat has emerged. So, what "deeds" are you referring to?

My question was: Before there was any knowledge of what was about to happen (i.e, before the first plane blew up), but assuming there was intelligence that there are wanted terrorists on those planes, would it be ok to kill those hostages, in order to kill the terrorists, because the passengers are responsible for the actions of the kidnapers because they did not oppose them?

Now to concept of responsibility: Responsible can have a moral meaning and a non-moral meaning: it can ither be responsible in the sense of "the cause of something" (like a horican being responsible for ruining houses, or a robber being responsible for a bank robbery because he planned and execute it) or it can be of moral meaning: "a person should be held responsible for their own actions" or "the citisens of a country should be held responsible for the wrongdoings of their government". Notice that in the cases with moral meaning of responsibility I said "should be held responsible", because that statement requires further justification. it does not come automatically like cause and effect, in the case of non-moral responsibility.

A person can be responsible for something in the non-moral sense only if that thing happened as a result of their action. A person can be held responsible for something in the moral sense even if they were not the cause of that thing, but have the option of trying to change it.

For example, I am not the cause of hunger all over the world, but some poeple might hold me responsible for it in the moral sense. I am not the cause of high taxation in Israel, but I may be held responsible for it in the moral sense. Note that just the fact that I have the ability to change something does not make me morally responsible for it's existence: moral responsibility has to be argued and proven, and certainly not determined on the fly because someone "fells like it", be he an objectivist, or anyone else.

Now, saying that a hostage is responsible for the deeds of his kidnaper would be based on the premise that every person is the cause of other people's choices, or that every person has the moral obligation to oppose evil, even it means risking their own lives.

According to this idea, a young woman who is being raped should be responsible for opposing the rapest (who holds a knife to her throat). if she doesnt, then she is responsible for the rape, and if the rapest threatens to kill her if anyone tries to catch him, then we should allow that, just to catch him, because, she should not expect anyone to sacrifice their safety for her, if she didn't oppose him.

According to what Myron Azov said, if that person is not willing to fight that terrorist and risk dying, then he (Myron A) has the right to kill them for that, to save himself.

consider his answer to my question:

"So if somebody pointed a gun at you in a busy street, and you had the option of shooting back, but with a great chance that you would hit other people on the way, would you justify killing other poeple in the street to save your own life?"

Answer: "Yes."

This ides is based on the thought that egoism = no regard for other people's rights, when one is in need of something. And when we combine the tow ideas together (that each person is responsible to deal with their own attackers, and that a person has the right to hurt innocents who stand in one's way of defense) what we get is Anarchy. pure and simple.

I want to summarise the questions that were raised here so we will have a more orgenised discussion:

1) Is it moral to carpet bomb countries that do not pose a threat to your country but that do not respect individual rights? (My answer to this is, that of course not, not just because it would be a terrible waist of money but also because this is simple murder. if we allow this then might as well cancell freedom of speech and point someone to kill everyone who does not support your opinions.

2) Is it moral to attack a country that poses a threat to your country but that the majority of it's citisens are "held captive" by their government , with little possibiity of opposing the government, by:

a) attacking selected targets that will destroy the army and the regime's sources of wealth.

b ) carpet bombing all cities that government members, or other activists are suspected to hide in, to get the fastest and safest result for your country, with no concern whatsoever to the citisens.

Edited by ifatart
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This ides is based on the thought that egoism = no regard for other people's rights, when one is in need of something. And when we combine the tow ideas together (that each person is responsible to deal with their own attackers, and that a person has the right to hurt innocents who stand in one's way of defense) what we get is Anarchy. pure and simple.

This is why I'd like someone to answer my questions.

Why is it important that we as individuals surrender the use of force in retaliation to the government? Why is is so important that a government have a sole monopoly on force? Why does the government not simply kill anyone that has maimed, harmed, assaulted, stolen or even threatened anyone else?

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According to what Myron Azov said, if that person is not willing to fight that terrorist and risk dying, then he (Myron A) has the right to kill them for that, to save himself.

consider his answer to my question:

"So if somebody pointed a gun at you in a busy street, and you had the option of shooting back, but with a great chance that you would hit other people on the way, would you justify killing other poeple in the street to save your own life?"

Answer: "Yes."

This ides is based on the thought that egoism = no regard for other people's rights, when one is in need of something. And when we combine the tow ideas together (that each person is responsible to deal with their own attackers, and that a person has the right to hurt innocents who stand in one's way of defense) what we get is Anarchy. pure and simple.

I submit that forbidding people to defend themselves against a person who intends them harm if such defense risks harming a hostage, is one of the surest ways to bring about anarchy.

More importantly, you really have no position from which to argue against shooting back. You have already defended the possession and use of nuclear weapons with the following argument: "facing [e]ither annihilation or using the bomb, then use the bomb against the attacking country." (Yesterday, 04:56 PM Post #46: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...mp;#entry120409 )

In other words, according to you, one has the right to nuke one's enemy if the alternative is one's own annihilation. Now, unless you entertain the absurd belief that a nuclear bomb poses no threat of death to innocents that may dwell near the nuke's target, you are just as willing as I am "to hurt innocents who stand in one's way of defense."

In short, you have conceded my argument.

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More importantly, you really have no position from which to argue against shooting back. You have already defended the possession and use of nuclear weapons with the following argument: "facing either annihilation or using the bomb, then use the bomb against the attacking country."

You missed the entire point I was making: I'll first repeat what I said, and then explain. I said that if a person killed someone at a gunpoint "If you don't shoot this man, I shoot you" I would hold this man innocent. If, however, a person is facing some danger, and has several options to defend himself, yet he chooses the option that involves killing innocent poeple, then that man is a murderer.

The analogy to this in the case of countries, I said that a country should make any effort to avoid killing innocent people, but if there is no other choice and that country which has been attacked faces ither annihilation or using the bomb then it is moral to use it, just as it is moral for that person in my example to kill when instracted so by a gunpoint.

I am not denying an individual's or a country's right to defend itself (god forbid), However I am saying that killing innocent civilians of enemy countries when other options are available is bad, wrong, unjust.

And if you claim that killing them is justified because they are morally responsible for their government, then you are holding responsible every victim of every crime because they did not oppose. Might as well hold the jews in the haulocast responsible for their slaughter because "they didn't oppose".

If you are claiming that victims of crimes are responsible for the crime commited against them, please justify your stand. If not, admit that you support killing innocents not because they are guilty of anything, but because you are concenred with your own physical safety rather with morality.

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I submit that forbidding people to defend themselves against a person who intends them harm if such defense risks harming a hostage, is one of the surest ways to bring about anarchy.

If so, why do we as individuals have to hand over use of force to the government?

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And if you claim that killing them is justified because they are morally responsible for their government, then you are holding responsible every victim of every crime because they did not oppose.

No matter how many times you say it, repetition does not an argument make; it still isn't true. The situations ARE NOT analogous for reasons I have already explained to you and you choose to ignore. It is not a "package deal" that one's government is the analogous equivalent to the criminals or the hostage takers. Additionally, the above sentence constitutes an "argument from intimidation".

Now, I'm putting my moderator hat on. You have been given significant leeway to argue against Objectivist principles, something typically not permitted outside the debate forum. In essence, you have been allowed to try to present an argument, even though it's outside of the forum rules. From this point on, unless you can 1) present a rationally self-interested argument as to why one should act in the manner you think is morally correct, 2) stop repetitiously drawing fallacious analogies, and 3) stop promoting your altruistic ideas, then I (or one of the other mods/admins) will take whatever action is necessary to accomplish what you choose not to do.

If so, why do we as individuals have to hand over use of force to the government?

There's enough to deal with in this thread without going off topic. If you search for "force" or "initiation of force", I'm sure you will find threads that already exist that cover your question. Additionally, your question is addressed at length in the chapters regarding The Nature of Government and Man's Rights in "The Virtue of Selfishness."

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However, there is a significantly different principle involved between most hostage situations and the oppressed country situation. In any given hostage situation, I can have a reasonable expectation that even if I choose not to resist, I may have to wait a relatively short period of time to regain my freedom. Also, I have a reasonable expectation that even though the police officers outside probably won't be sacrificing their lives for mine, they will attempt to make some effort to restore my freedom (and the freedom of other hostages) as soon as possible. North Koreans have no such hope. The North Korean government is clearly not fighting to make their people free. It is their government that is their hostage taker. Nor can they rely on other governements or people's to come and risk their lives to improve their lots. It's not a matter of whether it's nice or fair, it's a matter of reality that they must fend for themselves. The consequences of ignoring that reality is the North Korean government you see today.

......

I also don't think you are considering the significant difference between the long term and short term nature of the comparisons you are trying draw. You are attempting to compare a situation of emergency ethics to one of day to day life ethics. The North Korean people are not in the

I did respond to what you said: I said that if a gun is held for an hour or for years it is still the same.

As for kicking me out of this forum: As long as my arguments are based on reason, you cannot kick me out. Objectivism is not about agreeing with everything you say, and it is also not about agreeing with every statement that Ayn Rand ever said. Objectivism is about reason, and independent thinking, and not about blindly mimicing the opinions of others.

If you say that my argument are not rational, show me one. Proove what you say!You won't find any.

As for my views being altruistic: since when having a desire not to kill innocent people is altruistic? what is your reason for saying that my premises are altruistic (you gave none)?

As for repeating myself: I repeated myself only because I was misunderstood several times, so I had to repeat what I said to show that. it is not my fault if someone failed to grasp my point.

And in case you havent noticed, I am the one who started this post. if you don't like it, kick yourself out.

And if the true reason you want me out of here so much is because I blame some of you of being immoral, then isn't it too bad for you that you wish to ignore rational claims just because you fear analysing the source of your ideas?

I'm not here to be nice, I say what I think, and I expect rational arguments in response to my ideas, nothing else.

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"Because my life is at stake" is not a good enough justification. "Because your life is at stake" does not justify killing an innocent man [...]

On the contrary, "because my life is at stake" is just about the only justification for killing an innocent man.

If your statement isn't the essence of altruism, then I don't know what is.

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Ifat:

I tried something similar once, I think. If you think you are right, it does not matter, because most of us don't, and that includes that moderators it seems, and it is their forum. Thus, it is their perogative, and responsibility, to remove hostile posts or posters. I do not know if this is the case in this scenario, but I trust it will be handled correctly. Best wishes.

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There's enough to deal with in this thread without going off topic. If you search for "force" or "initiation of force", I'm sure you will find threads that already exist that cover your question. Additionally, your question is addressed at length in the chapters regarding The Nature of Government and Man's Rights in "The Virtue of Selfishness."

This is not off topic at all, I'm pretty sure it's at the heart of it. The discussions on government in OPAR and VOS and some other essays addresses these issues, especially on the morality of killing others while protecting oneself and the fact that the government is not a person, does not act by the same rules as person, must do what it can to protect the lives of the innocent and to only use retalitory force on those that deserve it.

In a hostage situation, if you are a hostage and the police are outside, you have every justification for expecting that the police will get you out of the situation, not that the police will blow up the building to remove the threat and kill you, or that they will blow up the plane. The government has failed its job at that point, the actions it took may have been rational but it has still failed. The individual in a rational society resorts to force for self-protection only if the police can not be contacted in time, if you are going to be killed right then and there, not if you feel threatened or are in a threatening situation. there has to be no other option. The arguments given for this is that if this is not followed, anarchy will ensue. If everyone that thinks they are threatened by someone retaliated by their 'right to preserve their life' things would quickly degenrate. The government is not a person, and it operates by different rules then men, so these arguments that use justification of use of force to kill innocents by the government based on the rights of man do not work, governments have no rights and respond differently accordingly.

A country that does not recognize the rights of it citizens does not mean that the people in that country are all responsible for that government, it means they are all responsible for their situation. If an objective reason can be found to invade that country, a country based on the rights of individuals can do so. But it must have an objective reason to do so, removing a dictator is not reason enough, removing an evil regime is not reason enough. Just because people live under a repressive government does not mean they have no moral right to life, just that the government in place does not recognize that right. We can not say that a society is only a set of individuals then condem all indviduals based on their society and say it's fine to kill any number of them while removing that government.

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On the contrary, "because my life is at stake" is just about the only justification for killing an innocent man.

If your statement isn't the essence of altruism, then I don't know what is.

Hey this was taken out of context. Here is the full paragraph:

"Because your life is at stake" does not justify killing an innocent man, stealing, or violating anyone else's rights (assuming they did nothing to hurt you). I didnt say that you should commit suecide to save the hide of a stranger. I am telling you that anyone who is willing to kill innocent poeple as the first resort to save their own life, is bad (and some other things, that I won't say here, excuse my hot temper). (bold is mine)

She also said:

I said that a country should make any effort to avoid killing innocent people, but if there is no other choice and that country which has been attacked faces ither annihilation or using the bomb then it is moral to use it, just as it is moral for that person in my example to kill when instracted so by a gunpoint.

My view is somewhat similar. I do think that if other options are available they should be used. A country should make any effort to avoid killiing innocent - if possible. Carpet bombing should be the last resort.

I do not think my position is altruistic.

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I think that the easiest and most efficient way to describe when it is morally justified to kill bystandards is as follows:

The killing of 'innocent' (as in wrong-place-wrong-time kind of innocent, and/or pacifist-objectioner innocent) bystandards should not be a consideration in a course of action when, that consideration would interfere or hamper in any way, the removal of an immediate threat to your life in the most efficent way possible in a given situation.

To include that consideration in said context would be immoral as it would constitute a belief/support in a self-sacrificial/altruist morality.

If that doesn't cover all the bases I would greatly enjoy being corrected!

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Hey this was taken out of context.

I don't think so but I don't want to get bogged down in trying to decipher an undecipherable paragraph. We must have differing standards of what "my life is at stake" means.

My view is somewhat similar. I do think that if other options are available they should be used. A country should make any effort to avoid killiing innocent - if possible. Carpet bombing should be the last resort.

I do not think my position is altruistic.

Be that as it may, you are arguing against a position that no one has advocated. No one has argued that carpet bombing should be the first resort. And certainly no one has argued in any case that an immoral country should be bombed except when that country threatens us.

I find that the sides in this issue are easily determined by concretizing the arguments with a real world, historical example:

Were the bombings of Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in WWII, killing whatever number of "innocent" civilians you wish to define, completely moral acts on the part of the US government or not?

edited to add:

I should include Dresden, Berlin and others, you get the point.

Edited by Marc K.
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If an objective reason can be found to invade that country, a country based on the rights of individuals can do so. But it must have an objective reason to do so, removing a dictator is not reason enough, removing an evil regime is not reason enough.

Thanks Lathanar,

That's the first time I have heard that put in a way that I understand and agree with. Good integrating!

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Were the bombings of Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in WWII, killing whatever number of "innocent" civilians you wish to define, completely moral acts on the part of the US government or not?

edited to add:

I should include Dresden, Berlin and others, you get the point.

In the situation at that point in time, yes, we were morally justified to do so. With Japan we knew from their military readiness and amount of fighting required to take the smallest islands what we'd be in for in an invasion of mainland Japan. But we rightly warned them where we were dropping the bombs (not even on the cities but it was either 10 miles or kilometers from the cities) and when, as a show of force and not just mass killing instead of picking an even easier way of simply nuking the Japanese capital. Germany's major threat to us wasn't the numbers of their troops but their production capacity and equipment. With our bombing runs in WWII over Germany we picked out military targets, bridges, infrastructure, factories, things that made their military what it was. We didn't just go through and bomb everything. The accuracy of the equipment at the time wasn't the best so there was collatoral damage but no better means was available at the time. We still aimed for military targets instead of just wiping everybody out.

I think the distinction in the sides of this discussion are summed up in this

I think that the easiest and most efficient way to describe when it is morally justified to kill bystandards is as follows:

The killing of 'innocent' (as in wrong-place-wrong-time kind of innocent, and/or pacifist-objectioner innocent) bystandards should not be a consideration in a course of action when, that consideration would interfere or hamper in any way, the removal of an immediate threat to your life in the most efficent way possible in a given situation.

(emphasis mine)

What constitutes that immediate threat is the difference. To pull a quote from OPAR

In a rational society, individuals agree to delegate their rights of self-defense; they renounce the private use of physical force even in self protection (except during those emergencies that require action at once, before the police can be summoned). If a society is to uphold man's rights, such delegation is essential.

I believe the principle involved in this is that a government is ruled by a specific set of laws and rules it must follow and will not arbitrarily or indiscriminitely do violence, but instead focus punishment on the ones who deserve it and determine how much punishment they deserve. A drunken man waving a gun deserves a night or two in jail, or whatever the law has for a punishment, not for him or bystanders to be shot by the first person who feels threatened, even if the drunk is shouting "I'll kill you all!". If the drunk doesn't shoot anyone and I shoot a bystander while trying to hit him, that's not the drunk's fault, it's mine and I should be punished for it. I do not consider this is to be a pacifistic or altruistic stance, it's is not putting someone else's life over your own.

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A drunken man waving a gun deserves a night or two in jail, or whatever the law has for a punishment, not for him or bystanders to be shot by the first person who feels threatened, even if the drunk is shouting "I'll kill you all!". If the drunk doesn't shoot anyone and I shoot a bystander while trying to hit him, that's not the drunk's fault, it's mine and I should be punished for it. I do not consider this is to be a pacifistic or altruistic stance, it's is not putting someone else's life over your own.

I have to ask, have you ever been tasked with the responsibility of arresting armed suspects before? Based on your statement above, I have serious doubts that you have any realistic understanding of how difficult and dangerous it can be to resolve this type of situation.

Speaking as someone who has to actually deal with situations like this in real life, it is foolish to assume the drunken man poses no threat to your life or anyone else's life around him. In making such an assumption, it may not be altruistic, but it does indicate seriously poor judgement.

I'm going home at the end of the night if at all possible. As a police officer, I am not society's guinea pig used to find out how just serious the drunk is about actually shooting somebody. I have a wife and a son that I love, and I am not going to give that up because some drunk with a gun decides to start posing a threat to me or anyone else. Also, you could be equally liable or at fault for failing to stop the threat as you wait until he actually does shoot somebody before you take some definitive action. If I'm tasked with handling this guy, it may well be his the last time he "gets his drunk on". Yes, if need be, I'll sit through a trial with you in the jury box.

The drunk created the situation in which I may now have to use deadly force, a situation that did not exist prior to the drunk waving a gun around and threatening to kill people. I did not create the situation that now I am tasked with resolving. If I have to shoot him and accidentally hit someone else, the totality of the circumstances will determine what, if any, amount of liability I have incurred, but the drunk is still at fault as well. The level to which the police officer should be held accountable depends entirely on the level to which he is actively negligent or reckless in handling the situation.

Now law enforcement officers do have a continuum of force policy they have to follow, but even that policy allows for lethal force as the first response if the situation dictates it. I do not necessarily have to place myself in greater danger to pursue other potential options if lethal force is a viable option. Such a situation would be what you have probably heard called "Above and beyond the duty". I call it self-sacrifice for the most part. I do not legally have to wait for that person to shoot someone else (or even try to) before I can ( and possibly will ) respond with lethal force.

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You missed the entire point I was making: I'll first repeat what I said, and then explain. I said that if a person killed someone at a gunpoint "If you don't shoot this man, I shoot you" I would hold this man innocent. If, however, a person is facing some danger, and has several options to defend himself, yet he chooses the option that involves killing innocent poeple, then that man is a murderer.

The analogy to this in the case of countries, I said that a country should make any effort to avoid killing innocent people, but if there is no other choice and that country which has been attacked faces ither annihilation or using the bomb then it is moral to use it, just as it is moral for that person in my example to kill when instracted so by a gunpoint.

I am not denying an individual's or a country's right to defend itself (god forbid), However I am saying that killing innocent civilians of enemy countries when other options are available is bad, wrong, unjust.

Since I have already told you twice (posts #45 and #55 in this thread) that I would shoot if that were "the only self-defense action available,” either you are making no attempt whatever to read my responses or you are arguing in bad faith. So I repeat: my shooting at a hostage-taker when that is the only way to prevent my death is no different in principle than your country’s use of nuclear weapons when that is the only way to prevent its destruction.

And if you claim that killing them is justified because they are morally responsible for their government, then you are holding responsible every victim of every crime because they did not oppose. Might as well hold the jews in the haulocast responsible for their slaughter because "they didn't oppose".

If you are claiming that victims of crimes are responsible for the crime commited against them, please justify your stand. If not, admit that you support killing innocents not because they are guilty of anything, but because you are concenred with your own physical safety rather with morality.

I did not make these arguments, so you’ll have to take them up with whoever presented them to you. I did say, “The people of N. Korea are responsible for deposing their own evil government. If they cannot or will not undertake that task, it is the responsibility of any government whose nation is threatened by Pyongyang to eliminate N. Korea as a threat.” That would be no different than your country Israel invading Lebanon to root out terrorists, since the Lebanese people have not seen fit to undertake that task themselves. If Israeli troops unavoidably kill innocent Lebanese civilians on their mission, it is not because they have dropped any concern for morality. Rather, their self-defense may necessarily place certain innocents at risk. We can hardly blame the Israelis for the fact that their enemies are hiding in the villages and homes of innocent people. Nor am I to blame when I shoot back at a man who threatens my life while hiding behind a baby.

Edited by Myron Azov
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If so, why do we as individuals have to hand over use of force to the government?

Government is the primary but not the exclusive provider of defensive force. Even a government that employed one police officer for every five citizens could not expect to be in every place at once. Thus when thugs invade my home, I do not have to wait for law enforcement authorities to arrive before filling the invaders with hot lead. Nor should a rape victim have to get official permission to gouge out the eyes of her attacker.

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I have to ask, have you ever been tasked with the responsibility of arresting armed suspects before? Based on your statement above, I have serious doubts that you have any realistic understanding of how difficult and dangerous it can be to resolve this type of situation.

Speaking as someone who has to actually deal with situations like this in real life, it is foolish to assume the drunken man poses no threat to your life or anyone else's life around him. In making such an assumption, it may not be altruistic, but it does indicate seriously poor judgement.

You are a police officer, are you not? You have received specialized training, rules set up to follow to deal with this situation, correct? Would you rather have you, the police, the government deal with this situation rather than have 10 armed citizens taking potshots?

edit: If I didn't make it fully clear, in my example with the drunk I means me, average Joe citizen, not the police.

Edited by Lathanar
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