the moral calculus of violence


September 27, 2003, 02:00 PM
Worth reading, even if you do have to log in.

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September 27, 2003, 03:12 PM
Very interesting fellow and read. I'd like to read the book.

September 27, 2003, 04:05 PM
3000 pages and the author admits that the *calculus* doesn't even work that it doesn't even answer the question of killing to stop a nuclear holocaust.

A waste of paper and definitely time for both the author and the readers.

September 28, 2003, 01:32 AM
3000 pages and the author admits that the *calculus* doesn't even work that it doesn't even answer the question of killing to stop a nuclear holocaust.

He did not say that it did not work at all - its just that different people using it will often get different results.

I don't see it as a waste at all. There are plenty of people who say violence is never the answer, and some who seem to think it is always the answer.

He set out to see if he could come up with a good system to determine when violence is justified and when it is not.

Plenty of people on here, myself included, think it is 100% ok to shoot someone who is stealing your car.

Some say "thats what insurance is for" but I would counter that my car is older and paid for and if it is stolen, it is a total loss - even if it is insured, I would be lucky to get $1500 for it - yet, I know it is reliable, I know what has been done to it and to me, its worth more than that.

So if someone stole my car now, with no job, no way to replace it, I would be in a seriously bad place. How do I get a job? How do I go sell my consulting services?

Some people will say its just not worth it to shoot someone over just an old car. They are probably right. But that car is food in my sons mouth, and it is dentistry and shots and clothing to him. If I got set back and could not get a job that came up, I might have to raise him in a worse place, where he will have less opportunity and more exposure to dangerous and corrosive influence.

To me, thats worth shooting someone over.

I would definately read the book.

And I agree with what he said - it will not give you all the answers, but it will hopefully slow down your thinking process and make you think about killing.

Think of this - there are lots of things going on in this country that far and away exceed what drove the founders to throw off King Georges yoke and set off as criminals to build a new country.

Yet they say - good men will suffer injustice so long as they are sufferable rather than shed blood (paraphrase). How do we know when the time is right? What injustice will cause us to take up arms? Maybe just against a corrupt sheriff, maybe to depose a despotic judge, or free a man wrongly condemned.

We ought think long and hard on these things and know the answer long before we need to.

September 28, 2003, 02:32 AM
I think it is interesting because this guy is not afraid to look at the issue straight in the eye. It might be a long read, but it is a difficult and important subject. And, importantly, he seems to be taken at least a bit seriously by people who think about thinking.

Many people who thought they had it all figured out about 20-30 years ago by claiming 'non-violence' was the only way to go have had their intellectual and moral highhorses shot out from under them by recent events in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, and East Timor. I think that this guy's work is a reflection of a general intellectual movement away from pacifism and toward a less naive attitude toward violence and the use of force. It is only natural to explore theories about when and where the use of violence might be appropriate.

I might add that the expansion of CCW laws in the US is also a reflection of this change in thought, in my opinion.

September 28, 2003, 09:41 AM
I would definately read the book. I would check it out of the library and not buy it. The Times has a long track record of only giving favorable reviews to leftist literature. They don't give centrists the time of day. (Do you ever recall seeing a NYT review of any of the O'Reilly books for instance?)

As for his moral calculus there is a lot of BS involved. They're doing the same thing with bioethics and the net result in another ten years will be they will solve the Social Security problem by converting excess elders to Soylent Green.

another okie
September 28, 2003, 08:18 PM
Anyone that uses the word "calculus" in that way is a pretentious egghead and I have no desire to read anything he or she has written.

Oleg Volk
September 28, 2003, 08:24 PM
Theft or rape or any other transgression make the perpetrator fair game. The issue isn't property, it is control over your life, actions or over results of previous work. So, on a philosophical level, what keeps petty perps alive is forebearance of their victims -- and the degree of that indulgence should be set by the victim, not by law on behalf of the perps.

September 28, 2003, 08:41 PM
Of course rape and assualt are easy.

He is talking about those, but also the really hard questions. If your race/ethnicity/group is under serious oppression, when is violence justified?

Is it justified to avoid having to use seperate fountains and bathrooms? What about to get access to the best schools or fair housing? Medical treatment?

We talk alot about the ultimate gun owner fantasy of blowing away some horrible serial home invading wife raping baby killer - most normal people do not blink an eye when you talk about shooting those kinds of criminals in self defense.

The author stated that he protested a nuclear plant and nothing happened. He wondered if the nuke plant could kill 20k people, would you be justified in killing 15k people to stop that?

I am not against nuclear power, but I think he raises a damn good point. What if a bio lab at UC Davis developed and loosed a virus that spreads like the cold, but is 100% fatal after 3 weeks? It could destroy the US in, say 3 months. Would you be justified in nuking or firebombing that town? I actually think not, but it definately makes for interesting discussion.

Note that he sounds like he is pretty much a left leaner, but came away with a very firm belief in killing for self defense and RKBA.

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