January 23, 2004

Killing Without Dehumanizing II

Michael Williams agrees in part and disagrees in part with my previous thoughts on taking someone's life.

Michael Williams swings a bit at a straw man. Yes, I believe in a soul that lives after death, as does any conventional christian. But the priceless artwork I was referring to was the body, not the soul. This is the source of all the christian prohibitions against suicide, self-mutilation, gluttony, and other acts that damage the body. If the soul were all important and the body without much value, why not get right with God and off yourself to get a straight ticket to Heaven?

For that matter, if villains are "ones who have surrendered their natural rights by infringing on the natural rights of others" when do they regain their natural rights? When do they regain their humanity? When do they cease to be "goblins"? Without an answer to that you can go straight to execution of sentence, no need for Miranda or trial. I don't actually think that he's serious about that statement, but that it was uttered without due thought as to the implications of surrendering those natural rights meant. Would man traps be legal in his regime? Would an immobilized burglar merit a coup de grace to the back of the head before the 911 call? If he's surrendered his rights, why not?

And such horrible scenarios are where ill-thought out dehumanization eventually leads. It contributes to an atmosphere of moral coarsening, a coarsening that has no natural stopping point beyond visceral horror and rejection at a random point of slide down the ugly slippery slope. And if there is no random point of collective revulsion that turns the tide? That's when you get Rwanda's Tutsi genocide and all the other bloody body piles of the ugly side of human history.

Posted by TMLutas at January 23, 2004 12:00 AM