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Alternative Moralities
Posted: 22 August 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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rsonin - 22 August 2007 04:28 PM

First you ough to prove that such a thing exists.

her name is Charley

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Posted: 22 August 2007 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Is this under copyright? If so it should not be posted in its entirety.

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 22 August 2007 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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does not appear to be. ZMag published it online in its entirety without mention of copyright. besides, doesnt fair use apply? also, technically its not in its entirety. just the section of Zinns comment

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Posted: 22 August 2007 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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It’s a sidetrack, but Zinn is wrong, and the US military is wrong, and here is why.

In engaging in some activities it is inevitable that people will die.  This is as true for fishing as it is for war, as true for farming as it is for crime.  But we most certainly make a moral distinction between the person who eats a crab, knowing that someone died or will die trying to get that crab or some other crab, and a person who intentionally drops a bomb on a civilian area.

Once you intend something, you have a purpose, and anything that forms a foreseeable part of that purpose becomes part of your intention.  You may not intend want or desire crab catchers to fall into the ocean and drown, but some will, and if you eat crabs you are accepting that as an inevitable part of eating crabs; eating crabs is your purpose, and everything that must take place in order for that purpose to be realize forms your intention.  You cannot simply separate your desire that no one die catching your crab from the fact that people do in fact die catching crabs.

Now, you could say that the people on the boats voluntarily take on that risk.  But that is irrelevant to the question of whether it is moral for you to supply them with a reason to be out there.  If a man gives you a gun and asks you to shoot him, that does not absolve you of blame if you do.  Crabs are not offered to you for free, he result of a hobby.

You could also say that we can always do away with eating crabs.  But then you would have to deal with farmers being killed on farms, and truck drivers being killed delivering produce, and so on.  Ultimately, you would have to take all the risks on yourself, and involve no one else in feeding yourself, and that is ridiculous.

So, if you intend to eat crabs, you must intend that they be caught, and if crabs being caught necessarily entails people dying, then you have intended that people die.

So, I think Zinn is wrong in distinguishing between inevitable and intentional (and accidental).  You certainly intended to eat crab - so you must intend that crab be caught, and if you intend that crabs be caught you intend that men go out into the sea on boats to catch them, and you accept that some of them will fall into the water and die.  You may not want them to die, and you may regret that they do, but that does not mean that you do not intend them to die, because it is as inevitable and inseparable a part of your purpose as it is for crabs to die.

Similarly, if you intend to bomb a place where civilians may be, and civilians turn out to have been there, and they are killed, then you have intended to kill civilians.  The alternative, if you intend to not kill civilians, is to not drop the bomb.  So, Rumsfeld and Cheney et al. are wrong (and I think deceptive) when they make a distinction between intentional and accidental, because the accidental in their meaning is not accidental in he usual sense, but a necessary result of their purpose (to the extent that their underlins can and do make detailed predictions of the numbers and even geography of civilian casualties before they happen).  You may not “intend” in the sense of “want” to kill a bank guard as part of an armed robbery, but then why did you bring a loaded gun?  If you really didn’t want to kill him, you wouldn’t have gone to rob a bank.  That is why Power is also wrong - she is saying that if you rob a bank with a loaded gun and you kill the guard, well, then he shouldn’t have interfered - it’s accidental, it’s not your fault.  That is wrong.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Right, well the distinction of intentional and accidental goes back a long way in morality. The crime is usually fixed in the intent; that’s what makes first degree murder more heinous than manslaughter.

But I do think that Zinn is at least getting at something important when he mentions “inevitable” killing. That’s more like reckless endangerment. I still do not agree that it is tantamount to intentional murder, but it is certainly closer than mere accident.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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yes, there is a difference between intentional and accidental, but not when the accidental has a known inevitable. that is Zinn’s point.

when we saturate Iraq or Afghanistan with bombs we may not know WHO will die but we know it is inevitable. pretending its accidental when you know it is inevitable is a sick joke.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Here, in the criminal code, we have three levels of murder: first, unintentional, with very light punishment. A unintentional crime is to connect the electrical power when someone was still working with wires and kill him.

The second, the ‘preterintencional’ (sorry, I don’t know the translation), it is a kind of, as you Doug says, reckless murder. The subject didn’t want to commit murder, but he/she didn’t care. A typical case is to run streets races. Ant the last is the simple murder, when the subject wanted to kill another human. The punishment for this two last crimes are very similars, because, according to the law, there is not a hughe diference between explicitely looking for killing a person and doing a dangerous act without caring about its consequences. Of course, I don’t think the law is the basis of morality, but I think it is a good place to find the moral consensous in society.

On the other hand, with this ‘reckless muders’ I want to note that it is very dificult to analyze other’s intentions. From ‘outside’ we can only see the behaviour and its consequences. So, I don’t thing it is two diferent if a person wants to kill as many civilians as he/she can or if a person drops bombs on military targets claiming he/she doesn’t want to kill civilians. We don’t know, and we couldn’t know, if the claim is sincere, and the effects of this two acts are very similars.

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Posted: 22 August 2007 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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mckenzievmd - 22 August 2007 01:40 PM

psikeyhackr,

This is the same kind of strawman argument the religious use to claim that without an abjective, absolute morality dictated by God, ...So the Golden Rule is unlikely to lead to the situation you describe because people are highly unlikley to declare random murder, or other socially destructive acts, justifiable or “good.”

I wrote:

So how much other behavior could be rationally excluded simply on the basis that if I should be allowed to do it then everyone should?

I don’t get why you are saying I am putting up a strawman.  I am trying to explain why the golden rule would be logical without resorting to God.  I was simply using murder as an example of behavior to be logically excluded.

psik

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Posted: 23 August 2007 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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the USAF is not dropping bombs by accident. a MOAB is not an accident. White Phosphorus is not an accident (by the way, considering our own constitution says that treaties signed are “the supreme law of the land” it should have at least been noted that the use of WP in Falluja was a major violations of the Chemical Weapons Conventions; not to mention the war being a violation of the UN Charter, making the whole war and occupation a violation of “the supreme law of the land”).

When you knowingly drop a bomb (or fire a rocket or conduct an act of aggression [i.e the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]) that will inevitably kill civilians, that is no accident; to try and say so is a pathetic play on words.

furthermore, look at the example of cluster bombs. The US military (and others) pretend there is a military role for this weapon that is used - and used excessively - but the evidence shows that the overwhelming victims are civilians (more than 95%). So the US knowingly uses a weapon that will not only inevitably kill and harm civilians, but that they will suffer the most! That is no accident, that is intentional. In Israeals last days of its invasion of Lebanon last year they dropped close to one million cluster bombs in civilian areas! Now I wont bother going off on some of the realities of the conflict that went largely ignored in the Western/US press, but where did those cluster munitions come from and how can we say their use was “accidental”?

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Posted: 23 August 2007 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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psikeyhackr,

Sorry, maybe I misunderstood you. I thought you intended to say that the Golden Rule was flawed as a basis for morals or ethics because people can arbitrarily decide that something like murder is ok to “do onto others” and this would lead to social instability. This sounds like the same argument that without God ethics is arbitrary and so such things as murder can be deemed “good.” My point was that saying the Golden Rule is a reasonable basis for ethics does NOT mean that we can arbitrarily declare any behavior to be acceptable, and to say so is to create a strawman. Sorry if I didn’t get your point clearly.

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