• A mass of evil contradicts itself, then what?
    41 replies, posted
Let's say we have a man, akin to hitler, or stalin, or any other totalitarian. Let's say this man is solely responsible for killing (how is irrelevant) 1,000 men, women, and children. To clarify, this man is labelled "evil" [i]after[/i] killing said people. His stature and being is neutral beforehand and irrelevant. He is now deemed an extreme threat to society, and justice must be put upon him. Before he is caught, he sporadically solely saves the lives of another 1,000 men, women, and children. The people he has killed and saved are just "people". They are not any specific race or religion. So now society is at a loss; do they try him and condemn him to justice- or do they let him go? It comes to a point where human emotion is the tiebreaker; but if we choose to damn him to death, does that make us value the death of those 1,000 people over the life of the other 1,000? Does that make us carnal animals only seeking vengeance, or should we stick to the logic of balance (killing 1,000, saving 1,000)?
Just because someone donates $10,000 dollars to charity doesn't mean they can get away with rape. The same idea applies here. Murder is murder. He must be charged. Now what the consequences of those charges should be falls into the debate of punishment vs rehabilitation. In the case of rehabilitation, I don't think saving someone instantly means the subject in question has changed their ways. It's like that article of the rape-trauma consoler who picked one of his patients to rape himself. Just because he helped several other victims through their crises doesn't mean he's innocent or absolved.
A crime is a crime, good deeds do not undo them.
[QUOTE=BlueChihuahua;33709600]Just because someone donates $10,000 dollars to charity doesn't mean they can get away with rape. The same idea applies here. Murder is murder. He must be charged. Now what the consequences of those charges should be falls into the debate of punishment vs rehabilitation. In the case of rehabilitation, I don't think saving someone instantly means the subject in question has changed their ways. It's like that article of the rape-trauma consoler who picked one of his patients to rape himself. Just because he helped several other victims through their crises doesn't mean he's innocent or absolved.[/QUOTE] Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead. The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.
[QUOTE=Amplar;33710617]Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead. The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.[/QUOTE] Oh, so you're saying that it's okay for a police officer who has saved several people to go ahead & murder several others because it all 'balances out.' You also dodged the more constructive second part of my statement. "Oh God, my father murdered Mom...!" "No, it's cool. He stopped a hostage situation last week. We'll let it slide."
[QUOTE=Amplar;33710617]Charity and rape are not in the same. My quandary is hypothetical; it's 1000 people alive for 1000 dead. The idea of it is supposed to show how detached from logic the human collective is; emotion rules us even when logic states the obvious.[/QUOTE] If you're implying that logic dictates that the man has atoned for his crimes by saving the 1,000 people, I disagree vehemently. I think that stance is utterly unjustifiable.
[QUOTE=JohnnyMo1;33712430]If you're implying that logic dictates that the man has atoned for his crimes by saving the 1,000 people, I disagree vehemently. I think that stance is utterly unjustifiable.[/QUOTE] perhaps you are right, but why? why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one. I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability. I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.
[QUOTE=blubafoon;33715333]perhaps you are right, but why? why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one. I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability. I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.[/QUOTE] In the OP's scenerio, we're to judge whether or not there should be consequences for the dictator's crimes. You say upon being released from prison: OP believes there shouldn't be any prison at all. Even if someone believes purely in rehabilitation, it is essential to judge whether this man would commit these atrocities again or if he has genuinely altered his ways. Likewise, just because someone has saved a life shouldn't mean they gain a get-out-of-murder-charges-for-free card. Murder is always awful.
Some of these replies are good, but are skirting around the scenario the OP gave us. In his situation, I agree that 1,000 lives, alive or dead, are still human lives. If 1,000 are killed who would've lived otherwise, that is an atrocity. But if 1,000 live who would've died otherwise, that is an act of heroism and is praiseworthy. As the OP questioned, "...if we choose to damn him to death, does that make us value the death of those 1,000 people over the life of the other 1,000?" The problem is that allowing him to live would be saying that we value the 1,000 living over the 1,000 dead. There isn't really balance since the 1,000 killed aren't the 1,000 saved. If you killed the 1,000 people and then brought them back to life somehow, that would be balance.
If we just do the math, in your logic, the guy killed 1000 people and saved 1000 : -1000 + 1000 = 0 He had the choice not to kill anybody and still save the 1000 ones, which is equal to 1000 lives saved. So he deliberately chose the option in which 1000 persons less are saved (or 1000 more murdered, since it is equal in your opinion). He's responsible for 1000 deaths and he's clearly guilty. Anyway this doesn't make sense, a murderer is a murderer and has to be punished.
This isn't fucking math. If you murdered someone, you need to pay for your actions. It only works if you reverse the harm you have done. For example, if you throw a rock at someones window and then pay to have it replaced. But doing something bad and then doing unrelated good doesn't counter.
The consequences of 1000 murder and 1000 lives saved is definitely not zero sum because comfort in knowing you're not going to be arbitrarily murdered is a moral good in itself. He is harming people's liberty arbitrarily in the most vile sense.
If they're capable of killing 1000, they're a threat to society and need to be fixed.
If that person killed 1000 people for whatever reason and saves 10,000 people, do you think it would be right to kill or punish that person?
And does this take into account of the victim's families? You can't possibly expect them to see the "logic" behind the reasoning that there's a balancing act in play here. Their logical reasoning would most likely be along the lines "Why did it happen at all, in the first place?"
What if instead of killing 1000 people, he just let 1000 people die that he could've saved? That's 1000 death for 1000 lives.
Crime is crime is crime. Perhaps history will see him in not such a negative light in the end, but he must pay.
Saving someone from death isn't the same as bringing someone back to life. You're just preventing their death. You've still deprived someone of their life. If you killed someone, then somehow brought them back to life, then perhaps you'd be prosecuted for [I]attempted[/I] murder, but saving someone doesn't cancel out the fact that you murdered someone else.
Justice is for specific events, not for the combined events of one's life. In the situation given they still must be punished for the 1,000 murders. If you want to reward him separately for the 1,000 saved lives then so be it, but the consequences should be separate.
Well, if viewed through the philosophy of utilitarianism, people are punished not for the act of breaking rules, but for acting in ways that are not beneficial to society. Punishment is solely about the reform of the criminal so his behavior will, in the future, better the society. If a criminal, after doing something heinous, has clearly learned his lesson and is acting in accordance with the best interest of the community, he should be let off. If viewed from a deontological perspective, however, crimes must be punished because they are against the rules - whatever they may be. Punishment is more about retribution, cause and effect - this crime was done, and now justice will follow. Personally, I primarily agree with utilitarianism, but admit that it's much more ideological than practical.
Are you basically saying that if someone kills Hitler they are apparently as bad as him JUST BECAUSE they killed him?
[QUOTE=Bassplaya7;33730048]Well, if viewed through the philosophy of utilitarianism, people are punished not for the act of breaking rules, but for acting in ways that are not beneficial to society. Punishment is solely about the reform of the criminal so his behavior will, in the future, better the society. If a criminal, after doing something heinous, has clearly learned his lesson and is acting in accordance with the best interest of the community, he should be let off. If viewed from a deontological perspective, however, crimes must be punished because they are against the rules - whatever they may be. Punishment is more about retribution, cause and effect - this crime was done, and now justice will follow. Personally, I primarily agree with utilitarianism, but admit that it's much more ideological than practical.[/QUOTE] Supposedly, aside from retribution, people are punished for doing crimes to discourage other people from doing those crimes too.
[QUOTE=Death_God;33730541]Are you basically saying that if someone kills Hitler they are apparently as bad as him JUST BECAUSE they killed him?[/QUOTE] Ever heard of self defense? Killing someone to prevent him from killing someone else is justifiable if it has standing behind it.
A lot of interesting responses.
The problem here is you can't reach a conclusion without offending a certain group of people. However, it is human ethics to honour the dead, so society would most likely disregard the 'balance', and go ahead and hang him or whatever. There are also a lot of circumstances that aren't explained, and it is human nature to piece things together, despite lack of evidence. You haven't explained in detail what the man in question has done, only that he has 'killed' 1000, and 'saved' 1000.
I think he shouldn't be forgiven so easily. A man does not go from remorselessly killing a thousand people to saving a thousand without significant reward - in this case, it's most likely he's saved the thousand because it will bring up this very debate, giving him a chance to be let free. I'm of the belief that people can change, but that change can't be made alone. Unless he's had time to go to a therapist between the killings and being caught, his deeds are most likely entirely egocentric. As such, he was less trying to save the people and more hoping to use their lives as a bargaining chip, showing he hasn't changed and should be "punished" (whatever that punishment may be is irrelevant) accordingly.
[QUOTE=evlbzltyr;33726163] brought them back to life, then perhaps you'd be prosecuted for [I]attempted[/I] murder, but saving someone doesn't cancel out the fact that you murdered someone else.[/QUOTE] If you killed someone and brought them back to life, I'm 100% sure would not be prosecuted for attempted murder. As everyone said, he already murdered 1000. He should be punished, but he should probably not be punished as harshly as if he had never saved the people.
I think it works the same way with a mother killing her son. Just because she gave birth to him doesn't mean it's morally permissible for her to kill him.
[QUOTE=blubafoon;33715333]perhaps you are right, but why? why do we see destruction to have more weight or negative value than protection or preservation has positive value? For example, if I punch a man, but then save him from being hit by a train, chances are he'd forgive me for punching him, so clearly it is possible for a positive act to overwrite a negative one. I think it might be to do with the assumption that, if someone performs a certain act, that they are more likely to do it again than people who have not. like if I had once raped someone, upon my release from prison, I would be labelled me as a rapist and would see me as a particularly high threat, when in reality I am no more capable of committing further forced intercourse than any other healthy human being. sure, having a history of this act shows that I have been willing to do so in the past, but it says nothing about what I am willing to do now - a statistical likelihood is not the same as inevitiability. I think the OP has a point in that there is something rooted in human emotion and experience that makes us give more weight to negative actions and I am interested to find out why this is.[/QUOTE] I think for a lot of people it isn't so much a weighted thing. Whether he saved 1000 people or not is irrelevant to some, it doesnt change the fact that he killed those 1000. Just consider the reverse. Imagine a person saves 1000 lives, then one day pulls a gun out and shoots a child, or it gets out that they abuse their own children. At that point the lives they saved dont mean anything because they have committed an unforgivable crime. I would say it is down to the fact that we need to show authority and make an example out of those who go against the rules. It would make sense to stem from when we were smaller communities with one leader, if someone goes against the leader then it would be extremely important for a strong example to be made out of them to set an image of strength and dominance.
You can't just put more white cards in your deck to balance out the black for the sole reason of being a better person. It doesn't amount to shit because you're doing good actions to justify doing bad ones.
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