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The Morality of Pre-emptive War


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#31    Jinxdom

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:51 AM

No, I wouldn't of because situations like that which he was involved in do not occur because of one man alone.

What I would do is go against him politically to make sure it didn't happen and gather my own support so what he did would not of happened. Now if he tried to kill me because of that action I would try to kill him(Think of it as two people consenting to get in a boxing ring except of a knock out it ends in death) and then I would be coming from the moral high ground.

To understand morality you have to be mentally vigilant. Taking short cuts is when things get complicated.

(Actually not simple :P)

Edited by Jinxdom, 20 March 2013 - 05:56 AM.


#32    DarkHunter

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:25 AM

View Postand then, on 19 March 2013 - 06:42 PM, said:

I just cannot accept the idea that there are no absolutes.  Is there a country or even a culture that exists that accepts murder? Or stealing?  Or rape ?  Think about it a moment.  Any human being any where will rebel against such behavior being committed against themselves or someone they love.  THAT is the basis of morality.  The rest is just self justification for wrong doing.

For murder and rape there was Sparta with the krypteia, ​ basically young Spartan men who passed the agoge and who where marked at potential leaders where sent into the country side during fall with only a knife and a few simple instructions.  Basically the instructions where kill as many slaves as they could at night and steal whatever food they needed.  So that removes murder and stealing form your list.  As for rape in varies African culture it is customary for the husband to kidnap and rape his future wife till she becomes pregnant.  There are many other cultures where murder, theft, and rape are accepted, I admit for the murder and theft I used an extinct culture but I think that still proves the point and I got no doubt I can find a culture today where murder and theft are accepted.  


#33    Jinxdom

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:38 AM

View PostDarkHunter, on 20 March 2013 - 09:25 AM, said:

There are many other cultures where murder, theft, and rape are accepted, I admit for the murder and theft I used an extinct culture but I think that still proves the point and I got no doubt I can find a culture today where murder and theft are accepted.  

Until it happens to them, then it is not so acceptable. It's only "accepted" because the people who it really affects don't have the power or knowledge that it can change. If the balance of power were reversed.... I wouldn't want to be those guys who thought it was acceptable.


#34    Frank Merton

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:40 AM

I think you have cultural norms confused with genuine right and wrong.  The two often coincide, but not always, as your examples show.  Genuine right and wrong have to be determined by considering overall harms and helps to all sentient beings.  One of the axioms here has got to be that all humans have equal footing.


#35    DarkHunter

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:35 AM

That definition of genuine right and wrong doesn't really work. I have no doubt the people who did or do those acts do not consider what they are doing as harmful. Even then how would we define what is considered harmful. The problem is anything that depends on humans is relative.

The problem I have with your axiom about all humans having equal footing is that it requires that humans are equal and I just can't go with that.


#36    Frank Merton

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:29 PM

It is perfectly possible to postulate that morally all humans are equal.  If you refuse to do so you kinda justify things like genocides and infanticide and slavery, among others.

For the most part we know what is harmful.  There are borderline situations, but they are rare enough to be an issue on in theory.


#37    DarkHunter

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:21 PM

I can not see how it is possible to postulate humans being morally equal.  First the problem of morality being relative has not been resolved so it is different to different people and because of this morality can not be equal because it is not the same between people.  Next is the problem of people simply not being equal, it doesn't matter what anyone says, humans are simply not equal.  I don't care, nor does it bother me that this justifies genocide, infanticide, slavery, or anything else that can be mentioned.  Just because something being true may bring up terrible and awful situation does not make it any less true and accepting it to me false just because of those terrible and awful situations is not a good thing.  

Do we even really know what is harmful, the vast majority of people have absolutely no idea what is harmful or beneficial to themselves.  If people had even a basic idea of what is harmful you would not see so much self destructive behavior in all societies.  Another problem with harm is what is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Things that harm the individual can greatly benefit the group and things that harm the group can greatly benefit the individual, so how would we decide what harm is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Some would say morally it is better for the group to benefit and the few be harm and they could justify that with it is better to benefit the greatest amount of people with doing as little harm as possible, others would say that it is immoral for the group to benefit at the expense of a few and they can justify that with no one should be harmed for another's benefit.  This goes exactly back to morality being relative, any maybe to an extent people not being equal in anyway.


#38    and then

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:28 AM

View PostDarkHunter, on 20 March 2013 - 03:21 PM, said:

I can not see how it is possible to postulate humans being morally equal.  First the problem of morality being relative has not been resolved so it is different to different people and because of this morality can not be equal because it is not the same between people.  Next is the problem of people simply not being equal, it doesn't matter what anyone says, humans are simply not equal.  I don't care, nor does it bother me that this justifies genocide, infanticide, slavery, or anything else that can be mentioned.  Just because something being true may bring up terrible and awful situation does not make it any less true and accepting it to me false just because of those terrible and awful situations is not a good thing.  

Do we even really know what is harmful, the vast majority of people have absolutely no idea what is harmful or beneficial to themselves.  If people had even a basic idea of what is harmful you would not see so much self destructive behavior in all societies.  Another problem with harm is what is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Things that harm the individual can greatly benefit the group and things that harm the group can greatly benefit the individual, so how would we decide what harm is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Some would say morally it is better for the group to benefit and the few be harm and they could justify that with it is better to benefit the greatest amount of people with doing as little harm as possible, others would say that it is immoral for the group to benefit at the expense of a few and they can justify that with no one should be harmed for another's benefit.  This goes exactly back to morality being relative, any maybe to an extent people not being equal in anyway.
So if someone raped you or a wife or child, or stole everything you own or slaughtered your loved ones you would not be bothered by this?  You would not feel wronged?  This is the point, not that there is some empirical standard but rather that humans instinctively have a conscience that tells them what is wrong.  I think they call folks lacking that, uh, sociopaths....

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#39    Jinxdom

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:23 AM

View PostDarkHunter, on 20 March 2013 - 03:21 PM, said:

I can not see how it is possible to postulate humans being morally equal.  First the problem of morality being relative has not been resolved so it is different to different people and because of this morality can not be equal because it is not the same between people.  Next is the problem of people simply not being equal, it doesn't matter what anyone says, humans are simply not equal.  I don't care, nor does it bother me that this justifies genocide, infanticide, slavery, or anything else that can be mentioned.  Just because something being true may bring up terrible and awful situation does not make it any less true and accepting it to me false just because of those terrible and awful situations is not a good thing.  

Do we even really know what is harmful, the vast majority of people have absolutely no idea what is harmful or beneficial to themselves.  If people had even a basic idea of what is harmful you would not see so much self destructive behavior in all societies.  Another problem with harm is what is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Things that harm the individual can greatly benefit the group and things that harm the group can greatly benefit the individual, so how would we decide what harm is worse, harm to the individual or harm to the group.  Some would say morally it is better for the group to benefit and the few be harm and they could justify that with it is better to benefit the greatest amount of people with doing as little harm as possible, others would say that it is immoral for the group to benefit at the expense of a few and they can justify that with no one should be harmed for another's benefit.  This goes exactly back to morality being relative, any maybe to an extent people not being equal in anyway.

A little thing called consent. Consent isn't relative. Whoever breaks consent first is the one who is morally wrong. How can that be relative?


#40    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:40 AM

View Postand then, on 21 March 2013 - 01:28 AM, said:

So if someone raped you or a wife or child, or stole everything you own or slaughtered your loved ones you would not be bothered by this?  You would not feel wronged?  This is the point, not that there is some empirical standard but rather that humans instinctively have a conscience that tells them what is wrong.  I think they call folks lacking that, uh, sociopaths....
We instinctively have a conscience that is probably lacking in a small group known as "sociopaths"  This much is I think well understood.What is a "conscience" and where does it come from?  It seems that for the most part the details of what our conscience likes and doesn't like are learned in early childhood and incorporated into our belief systems.  This is why some things can be wrong in one culture and accepted in another.  In other words, the ability to form a conscience is an inherited trait, the details of what that conscience contains is mostly learned.

(There may be some details of the conscience that are instinctive -- this is a matter of debate).

So, can we depend on our conscience -- our feelings -- to tell us right and wrong?  Obviously it is a good starting point, but since some cultures accept some pretty terrible things, we have to say it is not infallible.  We need to go beyond our conscience in questionable situations and think through the harms and benefits, based on a rational system.

Utillitarianism in its various forms tends to work pretty well for this, but Kant's ethics are I think much better.  The Christian concept of love and the Buddhist concept of compassion, when applied rationally and without self-interest, also are helpful.

Edited by Frank Merton, 21 March 2013 - 03:41 AM.


#41    White Crane Feather

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:13 AM

Cultural relativism has no absolutes.

In times past it was perfectly ok to murder your wife if she displeases you and your children and slaves were your property to murder or rape as you see fit.

Slave takeing which also heavily involved rape has been considered a duty.

Eating the flesh of an enemy considered an honor.

Every single vial thing has been considered morally acceptable at some point by some culture.

This is not a prescription for morality merely a description.

Just a quick note on free trade.

If party A assigned a utility value of 10 to party B's widget, and a 5 to its own widget, and party B assignes the same to A's  And it's own. Party A will trade with party B creating 5 extra utility units for both parties for a total of 10 new units of utility in the world out of a simple act of trade. If it were a 1 to 1 relationship the trade would never have occurred. This is the base of free trade.

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#42    Frank Merton

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:26 AM

Because someone says something is right or wrong -- indeed, because everyone says it is -- doesn't change what it really is.


#43    Jinxdom

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:02 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 21 March 2013 - 07:13 AM, said:

Just a quick note on free trade.

If party A assigned a utility value of 10 to party B's widget, and a 5 to its own widget, and party B assignes the same to A's  And it's own. Party A will trade with party B creating 5 extra utility units for both parties for a total of 10 new units of utility in the world out of a simple act of trade. If it were a 1 to 1 relationship the trade would never have occurred. This is the base of free trade.

Ratio of 1 to 1 relating to eye for an eye according to a trade, not actually talking about free trade, simply meaning equal value for equal value. A simple barter between two people, a fair deal. Which was really to enforce that the scales of judgement are in every aspect of life and that the average person can learn morality and ethics no matter where one looks, yet people miss the idea of agreements and consent.  :P

Seriously do not give consent away freely, it is one of the most powerful things you can do,  It can turn 100000lbs of gold into 1 dollar, if you let it. It can make an evil act seem good.

Consent meaning the people the action is done too. Not 10 people saying(Agreeing) it is ok to punch me in face(because I don't agree to it)

Edited by Jinxdom, 21 March 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#44    shrooma

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:40 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 18 March 2013 - 11:47 AM, said:

Morality is the only way to make important decisions, and it is not relative.  We may not be able to discern all the consequences, but generally we can do a good enough job to decide if the consequences are good or bad, moral or immoral.  I think saying we should not use morality is a huge cop-out, an attempt to escape moral responsibility.
.
I agree.
when it comes to killing innocents, raping women, or abusing children, then morality is an universal absolute-
you. do. not. do. it.
and morality is only subjective in the minds of the subhumans who commit the offences that the rest of the world find abhorrent.
as to the question of whether a pre-emptive strike can be morally justified, then yes, it can, provided the justification is a real and present danger, and not an imaginary threat.
after all, who wants to enter an ass-kicking contest with a one-legged man....?

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#45    shrooma

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:03 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 21 March 2013 - 03:40 AM, said:

What is a "conscience" and where does it come from?
.
a conscience frank, is that little voice inside you that says-
'be careful, you might get caught...'
;-)

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