Laconia incident

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Re: Laconia incident

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Bakustra wrote:Except that the argument I was responding to was that it could not be immoral to attack the submarines, because they were Nazi subs and therefore it was automatically justified to try and destroy them. That's what I take issue with, that's what glorifies dehumanization and excuses atrocities, that's adopting the Nazi worldview while fighting to destroy it. If you don't support that, then we have no disagreement whatsoever.
It was immoral, but justified. The result was a net moral positive, so to say. And no, it's not adopting the Nazi worldview - the Nazi worldview is that other nations should be destroyed simply because they are nationality X and therefore inferior to the master race. It doesn't have anything to do with atrocities - the Nazis killed the Jews because they were Jews, not because the Jews were massacring someone. Are you being that dense deliberately?

Any action in a war is immoral. Because it creates suffering. Killing SS-men is immoral, because they suffer. However, when we're talking about the net outcome, we're saying that killing SS-men is "moral", and by that we don't mean it is a moral as an isolated act in and of itself, but it is moral because it precludes greater suffering and deaths. So either you choose to try and catch me on semantics or take my argument head on. Your choice?
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by PeZook »

Bakustra wrote:PeZook, your entire proposed moral approach is that if somebody is evil enough, then you can disregard considerations of morality in order to kill them faster. This is exactly how the Nazis thought. They believed that undesirables didn't deserve moral treatment because they were evil in some way.
That's not my position, and you're a fucking retard if you think so. You honestly don't realize that I think it's a moral thing to do to attack the submarine because it prevents death and suffering in the future?

Not because it's full of Nazis, and I wrote in one of my earlier posts how I think blowing up an entire city full of civilians to get at one sub would in fact be immoral.

So yes, my view on the situation is, in fact, more nuanced than "RAR ANYTHING GOES TO KILL ONE NAZI", thank you very much.
Bakustra wrote:I will fight until the sun burns out against the idea that you have to adopt Nazi ideology in order to fight Nazis. Now, I'm sure that you will backpedal ever-further from your pinheaded statement. You insisted that any morality should be secondary to defeating the forces of Satan Nazis. Either morality should be considered (and so raping and murdering Nazi POWs is wrong, and so would genocide, and so would killing civilians indiscriminately to damage industry, even if all three are different degrees of wrong) or it should be not, and it would be A-OK to push the "genocide Germany" button. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Goddammit, I never said anything like that. The closest statement to it was that a lot of things become moral if they shorten the war, because thousands of people died every day in fighting and due to outright murder, so it is acceptable to kill people - even many people, as long as it's a smaller number than those who'd otherwise die in the war - as long as it noticeably shortens the war.

So yes, if you could prove that raping Nazis does in fact shorten the war, it would be...well, less immoral, as Stas put it - it creates suffering, but prevents many, many deaths.

Unfortunately the exact opposite is true - widescale, institutionalized rapes and brutality only galvanize suffering and prolong a conflict.
Bakustra wrote:Meanwhile, the problem with using hostages is that it assumes that there was some ulterior purpose besides rescuing survivors, so that you can pretend that the hostages were human shields, rather than being the object of the mission they were performing. The idea that there should not be any temporary truces in war is I suppose defensible (though treating Conrad Hays as evil for his role in the Easter Truce of 1944 is frankly disturbing to me)- but he did not declare that he was immune from attack, nor did he fire at the bomber on its first pass or fire back when it attacked.
Didn't I explain why the situations, while not identical, were similar in the aspects that mattered? Didn't I also propose other scenarios, such as shooting a suicide bomber in a crowd, to satisfy your retarded idea that an analogy should always perfectly match the illustrated situation?
Bakustra wrote:A submarine could go on to kill hundreds, or thousands of people, which is why we needed to kill about 800 right now in order to make sure that it's destroyed! Jesus Christ. Please, present the moral calculus which indicates that the immediate deaths of 1600 people (keep in mind that you cannot ensure how many of the survivors you will kill) is outweighed by the lives saved by sinking the U-Boats in question. Bear in mind that if we judge by effectiveness, the attack failed to significantly damage any of the submarines and helped precipitate the deaths of half the survivors. So incorporate the chances of success into your analysis. What do you say? Would you be willing to put your money where your mouth is?
Before the Laconia Incident, the allies had already lost about 9.3 million tonnes of shipping.

By the end of 1942, uboats sunk 1644 ships (2640 in total during the war) . Since 30 thousand or so Allied merchant mariners died in the war, we can assume 11 people died per ship sunk.

So by 1942, the Allies have lost about 16 400 men directly to submarine attacks. With about 200 uboats in service, that's 82 sailors killed per submarine, but more importantly, 23 000 tonnes of supplies such as ammunition, fuel, spare parts, oil, medical supplies and food sent to the bottom.

So...three boats, that's 246 sailors potentially killed in the future (or more: remember, at that the time Allied losses to uboats were still rising!). 1942 is also the time of major battles on the Eastern Front: it's hard to estimate the exact impact of lost supplies on the war effort there, but one ton of morphine means over 11 million 24-hour doses. Are Russian soldiers and civilians dying in Stalingrad, people being murdered in the conquered territories...worth less than Italian POWs? More? I'd think about the same...

As for chances of the attacks, air-dropped depth charges have killed plenty of submarines before ; A properly executed attacks by a maritime bomber had a good chance of killing or damaging a uboat enough to hold it up in dry dock for months.
Bakustra wrote:Proportional force? The problem is that proportional force can do nothing but endanger the survivors! This is exactly like trying to rescue hostages when all you have are hand grenades. While the police have more finesse they can bring to bear, that means that the analogy is flawed, since the B-24 couldn't attack the submarines without risking the survivors. Perhaps there was no moral way to bomb the submarine. That's something that my system of morals allows.
It can do something, namely sink or damage the uboats. It's too bad the B-24 couldn't have just launched three Harpoons and blasted the subs with minimal loss of life ; It's also too bad we couldn't have dropped a bomb from orbit on the entire Nazi leadership in 1940. You keep ignoring the fact the submarines would've gotten away if left alone alone ; If a guy throws a bomb into a crowd and then has a change of heart and administers first aid, the cops won't - and shouldn't - generally let him go, even if they have to risk injury to people and damage to property to bring him in.
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Re: Laconia incident

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Yet another ghetto edit: In my hurry, I miscalculated - there were FOUR uboats at the site when the B24 arrived, not three.
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.
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Re: Laconia incident

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Bakustra wrote: That's something that my system of morals allows.
Bullshit. You don't have a "system of morals". You have personal opinions and you try to crush any attempt to dispute the validity of those opinions by claiming they are 'morals'. When you grow up you will learn the difference between moral principles and personal opinions. At this time you have demonstrated that you have neither the wisdom or understanding to comprehend that difference.
Simon_Jester wrote:But aside from a few cases of gratuitous bloodthirstiness
I don't think there's been much of that. I can't see much that isn't more or less out of the standard playbook for attacks on submarines. Remember this was a very dangerous enterprise; the casualties amongst the attacking aircraft were pretty high. Partly that was due to the vulnerability of the aircraft; they'd been stripped of everything in order to extend their range. Their fuel tanks were unprotected, the aircraft were overloaded and (in the case of the B-24s) their engines were unturbocharged so they were sluggish. Also, they were usually a long way from home so even minor damage was likely to be fatal. Another factor was that the U-boats were quite well-armed against air attack. usually they had a quad-20mm (which was lethal) and a single 37mm (which was rather pathetic).

Tactics were predicated around that balance of capabilities. ASW aircraft would make a single pass, usually from out of the sun (if the sun was either rising or setting and thus on the horizon, this was really good) strafing the U-boat with forward-firing machine guns. This was vital, if the crew of the U-boat got their anti-aircraft guns working, the ASW aircraft was in a world of hurt . That's why aircraft used for maritime patrol were armed with additional forward-firing weapons. Sunderland flying boats carried four additional .303 Brownings for strafing purposes (the Australians in 10 Squadron actually came up with that idea) while B-24s would carry four or eight .50s in addition to their nose turret. If the submarine stayed on the surface, the crew would drop their bombs on it; if she dived, they had to make an estimate of her course and speed underwater and then drop depth bombs on that position. German defensive tactics also exploited the same balance of capabilities. A primary objective was to lure the ASW aircraft in to close range so the first bursts of 20mm fire would be fatal. If the ASW aircraft could be shot down or crippled, the submarine was out of danger. It would take hours for additional aircraft to appear on the scene by which time the submarine would be long gone. The Germans also played with the idea of "Flak Trap" U-boats that took the ambush idea one stage further. These boats were fitted with two quadruple 20mm guns and two fully-automatic 37mms (some sources suggest these may have actually been 40mm Bofors guns from Sweden) with the very specific intention of shooting down ASW aircraft. In fact this dodge failed since the British recognized the threat early and negated it by using ASW aircraft in packs.

Putting all of this together, the balance of capability between an ASW aircraft and a surfaced U-boat wasn't at all one-sided. Each had to exploit every edge it could find to give it the best possible chance of survival. Decisions taken by both sides have to be seen in that light. Remember, neither could see into the other's mind; all they could go on was the established playbook and the compendium of previous experience that it represented. That's another reason why precedent is so important; another way of saying "precedent" is "this is what has happened before and this is how we dealt with it".
General Trelane (Retired) wrote: In any case, I have avoided discussing the morality/immorality of the bombing run before now, but I think any attempts to label it as immoral must also consider the consequences of allowing the U-boat to escape. For what it's worth, I think it was abhorrant, but if I was in Richardson's shoes, I would probably have sent the same order, "Sink sub".
That's probably a reasonable enough summary. There's an old saying covering that covers this kind of situation. "Doing in one's professional capacity that which one would find abhorrent in one's personal capacity." Given the whole spread of circumstances prevailing at the time, I have to say that Richardson's decisions were correct. One of his fears was that the German U-boats were using the survivors as bait with the intention of attacking ships that came to their rescue. Whether or not that was a reasonable fear can be argued now, but given what he knew at the time, it was certainly plausible since the German propensity for attacking ships picking up survivors was well-established. I don't doubt that Richardson also felt pretty sick about making that decision. It probably haunted him. especially as more details became available, but given what he knew at the time, I don't think he really had much choice.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Let's take a look at what people actually said, earlier in the thread!
Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:YOu do realise that in a Total War scenario, which was the way WWII was fought, morality is practically out of the window? The Nazis showed no mercy to their conquered countries, or their prisoners. So why should they be shown any special treatment? In wars like this, the question that is dealt with in any mission is this: What will save more of my men's lives and kill more of the enemy? Everything else is secondary and frivolous.
PeZook wrote:And of course there's the fact that any action that lead to Germany losing the war faster could be moral, even if it killed fuckloads of people instantly, because while Hartenstein put on his display, the SS was merrily murdering its way through Russia. So a day shaved off the war meant lives saved.
Stuart wrote:It can only be that simple if you ignore all of the surrounding events and the relevent circumstances. A wider perspective that takes into account the circumstances comes to a different conclusion. That would dictate the German actions as being both immoral and illegal. The American actions were entirely legal and there is no moral aspect to worry about. The sub was there, it was a legitimate target, bye-bye.
Both of these glorify dehumanization and justify atrocities by saying outright that killing lots of people "can be moral" as long as it hurts the German war effort and that the Nazis shouldn't receive any moral consideration. Now, if you gentlemen want to back off from these statements, that's perfectly fine, but classifying people into inferiors unworthy of moral consideration in war and others worthy of moral consideration is exactly how the Nazis behaved overall. In point of fact, Stuart's quote indicates that it was impossible for Germans to do anything moral because of their actions in the war.
Stas Bush wrote:
Bakustra wrote:Except that the argument I was responding to was that it could not be immoral to attack the submarines, because they were Nazi subs and therefore it was automatically justified to try and destroy them. That's what I take issue with, that's what glorifies dehumanization and excuses atrocities, that's adopting the Nazi worldview while fighting to destroy it. If you don't support that, then we have no disagreement whatsoever.
It was immoral, but justified. The result was a net moral positive, so to say. And no, it's not adopting the Nazi worldview - the Nazi worldview is that other nations should be destroyed simply because they are nationality X and therefore inferior to the master race. It doesn't have anything to do with atrocities - the Nazis killed the Jews because they were Jews, not because the Jews were massacring someone. Are you being that dense deliberately?

Any action in a war is immoral. Because it creates suffering. Killing SS-men is immoral, because they suffer. However, when we're talking about the net outcome, we're saying that killing SS-men is "moral", and by that we don't mean it is a moral as an isolated act in and of itself, but it is moral because it precludes greater suffering and deaths. So either you choose to try and catch me on semantics or take my argument head on. Your choice?
You say that I don't have to adopt your terminology, and then you insist that I do. I agree fully with your moral argument.

The Nazi worldview separated groups into those worthy and unworthy of moral consideration. People have been arguing that the Nazis should not be accounted for in moral considerations, that instances such as these could not be immoral because the targets were Nazis that undoubtedly did much worse things. Those are things which people have actually said, and which could be extended to monstrosity with ease.

For example, I could use the same argument to justify the morality of bombing an American warship aiding in disaster relief on the grounds that the American armed forces and intelligence services have conducted institutionalized torture with Abu Ghraib, Guantamano, other CIA prisons, that the USA impoverishes and debilitates developing nations worldwide with our support for the IMF, that the USA has shown itself to be unwilling to respect national sovereignty... In short, that American actions are immoral enough that such actions to try and end American hegemony are moral or morally neutral. But at best, you and I would consider such a lesser evil, no? Both of us would probably consider it in most circumstances as a greater evil anyhow. And that is much the same situation, with a legitimate military target.
Stuart wrote:
Bakustra wrote: That's something that my system of morals allows.
Bullshit. You don't have a "system of morals". You have personal opinions and you try to crush any attempt to dispute the validity of those opinions by claiming they are 'morals'. When you grow up you will learn the difference between moral principles and personal opinions. At this time you have demonstrated that you have neither the wisdom or understanding to comprehend that difference.
Simon_Jester wrote:But aside from a few cases of gratuitous bloodthirstiness
I don't think there's been much of that. *snip trivia*

Go ahead and demonstrate this universal system of morality you've got waiting in the wings, then. Morality is an individual decision. My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.

Also, you don't understand what Simon is saying, since he's talking about the individuals in this thread. Or else you feel uncomfortable with that statement and are calling up trivia to distract from that. It's your choice, not only to do that, but whether to address what I am saying, or to snip out this sentence and pretend that arrogance is endearing.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by PeZook »

I didn't say Nazis should not be accounted for in the moral calculus, asshole, and I explained that several times already. How can you possibly go from "The third Reich was systematically murdering thousands of people every day, therefore killing - even many people - to shorten the war (and thus prevent more death and suffering) is not immoral." to "I think you could murder every single Nazi in whatever way you see fit because they are all scum"?
Bakustra wrote: Go ahead and demonstrate this universal system of morality you've got waiting in the wings, then. Morality is an individual decision. My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.
.

This is just a bunch of subjective bullshit based on nothing but your own emotions. Your "moral system" is utterly useless for judging decisions made by individuals in common dillemas that often appear in everyday life, much less in war.

Allow me to demonstrate:
1) killing is immoral
So if I shoot a guy trying to stab my wife, I have comitted an immoral act, and am as bad as any other murderer?
2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral,
This happens every day to more people than I can imagine ; If I was a semantics-whoring asshole like you, I could conjure up situations that take this to ridiculous extremes, like judging all construction site foremen everywhere immoral fucks, because they run a dangerous enterprise. Of course you probably meant something like "Putting someone in danger against his will is immoral", but then we go right back to war. Was the Polish leadership in 1939 immoral for ordering soldiers to fight a superior foe? Were they immoral for executing Nazi war criminals, and endangerig their men to pull these executions off?
3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral
Conscripts agree to that, too?
, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser.
So your worldview does not account for doing things for the greater good? Then it is useless, because we can judge a general who sacrifices 10 000 of his men to defend a collumn of fleeing refugees to be the same as a guy who lines up 10 000 men against the wall and shoots them all for being Jews.

What use, what help in making decisions does your system allow? You probably just go with your gut every time.
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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

PeZook wrote:I didn't say Nazis should not be accounted for in the moral calculus, asshole, and I explained that several times already. How can you possibly go from "The third Reich was systematically murdering thousands of people every day, therefore killing - even many people - to shorten the war (and thus prevent more death and suffering) is not immoral." to "I think you could murder every single Nazi in whatever way you see fit because they are all scum"?
Because you posted similarly to other people who did make that argument, and I'd apologize, but you then decided to be an idiot, so nope.
Bakustra wrote: Go ahead and demonstrate this universal system of morality you've got waiting in the wings, then. Morality is an individual decision. My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.
.

This is just a bunch of subjective bullshit based on nothing but your own emotions. Your "moral system" is utterly useless for judging decisions made by individuals in common dillemas that often appear in everyday life, much less in war.
Show how morality is objective and universal, you half-wit! Morals are individual; of course they're subjective! That's like responding to somebody's praise of the Mona Lisa with "that's just subjective bullshit". So go ahead and provide a universal system of morals, retard. Provide it. Show that it is legitimately universal. Jesus Christ, you've made me legitimately angry with this. Do you really, truly believe this? Are you really that plum ignorant?

Now let's see what you came up with for your universal, objective morality!
Allow me to demonstrate:
1) killing is immoral
So if I shoot a guy trying to stab my wife, I have comitted an immoral act, and am as bad as any other murderer?
2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral,
This happens every day to more people than I can imagine ; If I was a semantics-whoring asshole like you, I could conjure up situations that take this to ridiculous extremes, like judging all construction site foremen everywhere immoral fucks, because they run a dangerous enterprise. Of course you probably meant something like "Putting someone in danger against his will is immoral", but then we go right back to war. Was the Polish leadership in 1939 immoral for ordering soldiers to fight a superior foe? Were they immoral for executing Nazi war criminals, and endangerig their men to pull these executions off?
3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral
Conscripts agree to that, too?
, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser.
So your worldview does not account for doing things for the greater good? Then it is useless, because we can judge a general who sacrifices 10 000 of his men to defend a collumn of fleeing refugees to be the same as a guy who lines up 10 000 men against the wall and shoots them all for being Jews.

What use, what help in making decisions does your system allow? You probably just go with your gut every time.
1) You have committed an immoral act, but not on the same level. Most people would have understood that by looking at what I've said, but apparently that strains your brain overmuch.

2) Jesus Christ, you're just conjuring reasons to attack me now. I don't put that on the same level, and- oh, what's the use? You won't actually respond meaningfully.

3) Conscripts agree to it if they choose to actively fight, yes. If they were legitimately forced under threat of death, then they don't bear that implicit agreement, so I guess we differ in that you have a moral problem with sinking the subs even if there were no survivors, and I don't- wait a second, are you changing your argument around just to attack me? I guess that you're compulsively dishonest.

4) I'm not going to even bother responding to this, since apparently you're either too dumb or too dishonest to acknowledge anything I'm saying. I laid out what I actually believe in earlier. Now, if you were interested

PS: What are your objective reasons for all of what you just said? Or are they "subjective bullshit" as well?
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by K. A. Pital »

If there was a war and America was genociding millions after millions - yes, I would consider attacking American vessels and sinking them, even if they conduct disaster relief operations at a given point in time, a justified course of action, Bakustra. Would you not? Doing something good once erases everything else? That's like saying we should take the side of a serial killer who by chance saved a girl from a fire.
Bakustra wrote:People have been arguing that the Nazis should not be accounted for in moral considerations, that instances such as these could not be immoral because the targets were Nazis that undoubtedly did much worse things.
No. The argument was that destroying Nazi assets helps to end Nazi genocide. Not that killing Nazis is justified because Nazis did worse things.
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Re: Laconia incident

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Bakustra wrote: Morality is an individual decision. My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.
All of which are your own personal opinions. As such they have to be validated and justified, something that you resolutely refuse to do. You dismiss any challenge to your so-called "moral" principles as trivia or legalisms.

At the moment, you are a very foolish, very ignorant little boy who is spouting nonsense on subjects you know absolutely nothing about. You try to hide your ignorance by blustering about morality when your own words and actions prove you haven't the slightest idea what is involved in the subject area. Your quote above confirms that what you call your "moral system" is nothing but your own unsubstantiated opinions. As such, they are worthless. You really do need to grow up.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Stas Bush wrote:If there was a war and America was genociding millions after millions - yes, I would consider attacking American vessels and sinking them, even if they conduct disaster relief operations at a given point in time, a justified course of action, Bakustra. Would you not? Doing something good once erases everything else? That's like saying we should take the side of a serial killer who by chance saved a girl from a fire.
Bakustra wrote:People have been arguing that the Nazis should not be accounted for in moral considerations, that instances such as these could not be immoral because the targets were Nazis that undoubtedly did much worse things.
No. The argument was that destroying Nazi assets helps to end Nazi genocide. Not that killing Nazis is justified because Nazis did worse things.
Your first half is inconsistent with your second half, and I'm saying that I distinguish on the basis of actions rather than assigning morality based on comparisons. Go ahead and explain why your system is universally better. All of you insist on some sort of objective morality. Prove that there is such a thing, and that the system you espouse is such.

But if you want a clarification of my position, then just because, for example, Americans do bad things does not prevent Americans from doing good things. The actions of the Nazis in general do not make the U-boat captain rescuing survivors suddenly immoral, which is what people were arguing. If you agree with that, then go ahead and provide your objective morality that does justify it.
Stuart wrote:
Bakustra wrote: Morality is an individual decision. My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.
All of which are your own personal opinions. As such they have to be validated and justified, something that you resolutely refuse to do. You dismiss any challenge to your so-called "moral" principles as trivia or legalisms.

At the moment, you are a very foolish, very ignorant little boy who is spouting nonsense on subjects you know absolutely nothing about. You try to hide your ignorance by blustering about morality when your own words and actions prove you haven't the slightest idea what is involved in the subject area. Your quote above confirms that what you call your "moral system" is nothing but your own unsubstantiated opinions. As such, they are worthless. You really do need to grow up.
You haven't provided a universal system of morality, you ghoulish jackass. Provide it. At least PeZook and Stas can provide arguments against me, idiotic though they are. All you can do is smarm about how old and decrepit you are.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Stuart »

Bakustra wrote: You haven't provided a universal system of morality, you ghoulish jackass. Provide it. At least PeZook and Stas can provide arguments against me, idiotic though they are. All you can do is smarm about how old and decrepit you are.
I don't have to. you are making the proposition, the onus is on you to either support it or concede you are taking out of your fundamental oriface. I have shown you why certain decisions were taken and the reasoning that led to them. That's all I need to do. You are the one claiming that your personal opinions are unarguable and incontrovertible 'moral' truths. You are the one boasting about having a 'moral system'. Now support yopur arguments with something other than mindless abuse.

In other words, put up or shut up, little boy.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Simon_Jester »

Stuart wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:But aside from a few cases of gratuitous bloodthirstiness
I don't think there's been much of that.
The one that stuck in my mind, and I'd have to dig to find another come to think of it, is:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:An armed warship flying the red cross is a violation of the laws of war, which up through the trials at the end of WW2 was still punishable by summary execution. So the submarine is bombed and then they strafe the survivors in the water to execute them and that's still lawful because the submarine crew was certainly in violation of the sacrosanct nature of the Red Cross.
Which, I have to say, strikes me as gratuitous bloodthirstiness, and as appalling; I really don't know what she was thinking when she said that.

That's about the only thing on the "sink the sub" side of this debate that I find to be as bad (worse than, really) the stuff Bakustra's been slinging around. Which isn't much of a defense of Bakustra, I have to say.

Bakustra wrote:Go ahead and demonstrate this universal system of morality you've got waiting in the wings, then. Morality is an individual decision.
Nonsense, for one of two reasons. You get to pick which one.

If morality is so individual, then the idea that anyone should care your principles are is equally nonsense. If you get to decide for yourself what you think is immoral, then your "moral" preferences are arbitrary. In which case no one else is bound by your arbitrary decisions: Stas and Stuart have as much right to deem it "moral" to do something as you have to deem it "immoral." In which case your efforts to demand that everyone else honor your standards is nothing but petulant foolishness.

In which case your statement here is true. But that truth renders it, like everything else you've said in the thread, totally irrelevant. Your argument vanishes in a puff of logic.

If morality is not individual, and for this purpose it does not matter what the universal moral rules are... well, then your statement is simply wrong. At which point we have to judge your statements on their merits. And they don't really have much of that, because your refusal to acknowledge any of the context surrounding the event is nothing but petulant foolishness.

In which case your statement here is false. Your other statements in the thread are at least meaningful, but still petulant and foolish. Your argument vanishes in a puff of realism.
My moral principles that I used to construct my argument are that 1) killing is immoral, 2) putting somebody in danger of death is immoral, 3) soldiers implicitly agree to risk their lives for their nation and to kill others for their nation, so their deaths in the ordinary course of war are morally neutral, and 4) lesser evils do not become moral because they are lesser. So go ahead and explain how these are invalid.
Because you constructed your argument without reference to the facts. No moral theory can work blindfolded, nor can it work if the moralist chooses to stick their fingers in their ears and go "nya nya I can't hear you!" whenever anyone tries to enlighten him.

Therefore, it does not matter how lovely you can make your personal principles and aversions sound. Not when you're doing it because, in a fit of self-justification, you want to cover the tracks of your own petulant foolishness.
Also, you don't understand what Simon is saying, since he's talking about the individuals in this thread. Or else you feel uncomfortable with that statement and are calling up trivia to distract from that. It's your choice, not only to do that, but whether to address what I am saying, or to snip out this sentence and pretend that arrogance is endearing.
He may or may not have chosen to repeat his earlier statements about sub-hunting tactics in the Battle of the Atlantic as a distraction; to tell the truth I don't really care what his motives were. It seems far more likely to me that he simply forgot about the statement I was talking about- and you can hardly condemn him for that, since you forgot about it too.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

If morality is objective, and you can define my moral system as wrong, then you should be able to present a universalist moral system that everybody can agree on. But there is no system that is universally agreed upon. Consider the premise that killing is immoral, and then consider that many societies consider killing to be moral if it is part of a human sacrifice. You can say that such is wrong. Now, how do you define that? Well, for utilitarianism, you can say that it's wrong because the individual suffers. But in the belief system of societies in which human sacrifice is accepted, the individual experiences the suffering but is generally admitted into paradise. So there we have a conflict, since the concepts involved are generally unfalsifiable, so you cannot really make a statement as to its truth value, and there goes objectivity.

Now, what reason have you to believe that your morals have a truth-value beyond your own belief that they are? The idea that suffering is bad? But physical pain is enjoyed by sexual masochists. Many people enjoy reading or viewing depressing works of art, or indulging in narcotics like salvia that can induce negative emotions. You can construct exceptions, but what is there to make those objective? Perhaps all such individuals are insane, and so should be prevented from harming themselves. If you shift to the idea of unwanted suffering, then you run into the sticky problem of cognition, where we must rely on the subjective communication of individuals... ultimately, what do you have to assure yourself that your morals are objective, that they are true beyond the confines of your mind?

Now, you can argue that this makes discussion pointless (or else insist that I am attempting to force my system of morality on others by presenting it and arguing for why I find this action immoral). But at the same token, people can discuss things that are not objective, and do so all the time, and people can come to agreement about things that are not objective. In other words, though my system of morals is not the same as yours, we can still communicate about them without resorting to some Platonic Form of morality from which true morality derives. In point of fact, my moral conclusions differ from most people's only in the terminology used. Perhaps you have some objective reason to prefer "moral" to "less immoral", then?

Simon, could you explain, for that matter, why deontological morals and virtue ethics are fundamentally wrong as well? The system of morality perpetuated as the True Morality bears some resemblance to utilitarianism, so go ahead and explain what's wrong with the others, at the fundamental levels.

What exactly are the facts that I am wrong about? My conclusions about the morality of the action are that it greatly endangered and killed a number of the innocent survivors of the Laconia, and so was immoral. I also conclude that in the overall context, it was probably the least immoral of the actions available. But I reject reclassification of actions as moral or immoral based on context, because I feel that semantically, it's dangerous to take a situation like this and declare any of the outcomes to be moral at all, since it implies that such is laudatory. But that's a personal preference, and no doubt wrong, because it is not your utilitarianism, which is exactly identical to PeZook's and Stas's and whatever Slade uses for morality, since that is necessary for an objective moral system.

If you wish to argue that it becomes moral for some other reason, feel free to elaborate.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by fgalkin »

Why is everyone ignoring that the "survivors" were mostly Italian POWs being towed towards a Vichy ship (and not, say, Ascension). If for example, this was a trainload of rescued Italian POWs on the Eastern front being repatriated by the Germans, and the Soviets bomb it, would this be a war crime?

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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Simon_Jester »

Bakustra wrote:If morality is objective, and you can define my moral system as wrong, then you should be able to present a universalist moral system that everybody can agree on. But there is no system that is universally agreed upon.
There is also no shape of the Earth that is universally agreed on; look hard enough and you can still find people who think the Earth is flat, or a hollow sphere with the sun in the middle. And yet the Earth is round.

The fact that an objective truth exists does not grant any guarantees that you will only believe things that are true.

Nor does your belief that a statement is false entitle you to deny the truth on the grounds that you don't believe it. You've got to do better than that.
Now, you can argue that this makes discussion pointless (or else insist that I am attempting to force my system of morality on others by presenting it and arguing for why I find this action immoral).
On the contrary, you are not "attempting to force" a system of morality on anyone. You are whining because others do not adopt a system of morals that leads them predictably to the same conclusions you jumped to.

An attempt to force a system on someone will generally have more substance than repeating the same premises over and over, as if a moral code could be reduced to syllogisms. You aren't doing anything that would qualify as a credible attempt to convince anyone, in my opinion. You're just engaged in petulant foolishness because you aren't willing to consider the possibility that you misjudged the situation. That perhaps you weighted the issue wrong, or ignored some things that might matter.

Instead, you argue to the last ditch that no, these things you overlooked really don't matter. The numbers can't be right, the people who have made a more extensive study of the problem must have somehow been corrupted by their knowledge so that their opinions can be dismissed.
Simon, could you explain, for that matter, why deontological morals and virtue ethics are fundamentally wrong as well? The system of morality perpetuated as the True Morality bears some resemblance to utilitarianism, so go ahead and explain what's wrong with the others, at the fundamental levels.

What exactly are the facts that I am wrong about? My conclusions about the morality of the action are that it greatly endangered and killed a number of the innocent survivors of the Laconia, and so was immoral. I also conclude that in the overall context, it was probably the least immoral of the actions available. But I reject reclassification of actions as moral or immoral based on context, because I feel that semantically, it's dangerous to take a situation like this and declare any of the outcomes to be moral at all, since it implies that such is laudatory.
If this is all that it is to you, a question of semantics, then you should have made that clear a long time ago. If your entire argument hinges on a desire to avoid saying that "pursuing the least-bad course of action in a given situation is right," then you aren't really saying anything about the Laconia incident at all; you're raising a philosophical hobbyhorse in a practical discussion.

Separately from that, I would argue that notions like "the least-bad course of action is still wrong" undermine the very concept of right and wrong, because they turn right and wrong into ideas that can only be applied in a limited number of situations. Most real decisions difficult enough to require real philosophical effort are the ones where you have to choose a least-bad answer because that is all that is on offer.

Cases of a choice between kicking puppies and distributing food to orphans are rare, and such choices are so obvious that there's no real need for philosophy to address them. Philosophy is useful only when the choices are hard... which often means a choice between two undesirable outcomes.

A philosophy that revolves around something like "least-bad is still bad and must never be called in any way 'right'" is therefore largely useless. It shudders away from situations where it could be of use, refusing to consider the issue seriously and insisting that there must be a happier solution. It's more appealing to people who like to keep up the purity of a black and white worldview from a nice safe armchair than it is to people who have to make actual decisions.

Of course, if all you want to do is make the kind of decisions made from an armchair, fine... but don't pretend to have insight into situations that aren't resolved from an armchair.

So basically, if you are accurately presenting a philosophical system that you apply consistently, then fine. Your choice. It's internally consistent, after all. But it's also useless; you've destroyed your own ability to exercise judgment about complex or unpleasant situations. At least, so long as you retain that powerful aversion to accepting least-bad actions.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Thank you, Simon, for snipping away the philosophical problems which I raised with utilitarianism. Let me go over this again. How can you, for example, prove that a moral system incorporating unfalsifiable premises is true or false? Let us take a religion which incorporates a paradisical afterlife. Such is an unfalsifiable axiom of the moral system. How can you disprove said religion, assuming that it makes no falsifiable claims about the world? That is what I mean by the lack of objectivity in morality- even if you can construct a moral system that makes no use of unfalsifiable axioms besides the default assumption of objective reality, then you still cannot prove or disprove the ones that don't. Your objective system (and this is not to say that utilitarianism is objective) still cannot be said to the only true system, unless you use Occam's Razor to determine truth rather than tendency.

Utilitarianism still relies on basic axioms. One such is the concept that "harm is bad". This is axiomatic under general conditions, and the most common "proof" has been to say that it is bad because humans and other life-forms instinctively avoid harm. But the number of people that have committed suicide speaks against that, and defining them as mentally unbalanced is again axiomatic (since more people than just the clinically depressed kill themselves). But if you have some way to remove the axioms from utilitarianism, please share it, and I would be glad to acknowledge an objective system of morality.

I'm not sure what you think I'm arguing. I argue that it was an immoral decision to bomb the U-boats while being almost certainly the least immoral of the two decisions available to the crew. That is apparently inconsistent with the facts, but the only way in which it could be that I can imagine is if you go with consequentialism, which is hardly what you are arguing for!

You insist that one must either declare things to be good or bad. I reject that binary approach at its deepest level, which is to insist that I am crippling myself morally because, well, because I don't celebrate the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I believe that one can make difficult decisions without relying on cognitive dissonance to translate the morally suspect action into a moral action, acknowledging that making the decision to kill hundreds of thousands is not a good one, but the best of bad options. In other words, I feel that the import of avoiding the celebration of mass-murder is somewhat greater than the import of avoiding ever feeling guilt for our actions and decisions. I acknowledge that this is not a fair description of your position, but you have not offered that courtesy to me. Insert a lengthy diatribe about your moral system cripples you mentally here, if you like.

Your belief is that we must pick a decision as moral rather than least immoral because to do otherwise is to abandon our ability to make hard choices. But first of all, right and wrong are distinct from moral and immoral. Consider picking from a set of positively moral decisions. You would say that the right decision is the best one, right? Or, in other words, the most moral. Right and wrong are relative descriptors. I prefer to reserve moral and immoral as absolute ones for clarity, and more importantly, so that we can recognize the disparity between the ideal and the real, distance ourselves from the just-world fallacy, and take responsibility for these actions. Consider the individuals who excused the harm they did to Native Americans via boarding schools and the Dawes Act by saying that it was for the greater good. I believe that this mindset is something that must be fought, and feel that my terminology is better for that than converting immoral actions to moral ones. Now, why do you disagree? Or do you agree?

You also didn't explain the fundamental problems with deontology and virtue ethics, such that utilitarianism is better. If you like, I will drop that, but recognize that such an explanation is fundamental to objective morality.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Samuel »

Let us take a religion which incorporates a paradisical afterlife. Such is an unfalsifiable axiom of the moral system. How can you disprove said religion, assuming that it makes no falsifiable claims about the world?
It claims that something exists, which means it is part of reality and something we can deal with via logic and reason.
But the number of people that have committed suicide speaks against that, and defining them as mentally unbalanced is again axiomatic (since more people than just the clinically depressed kill themselves).
You're an idiot. Death is not the worst harm that can befall individuals, just one kind of harm.
I reject that binary approach at its deepest level, which is to insist that I am crippling myself morally because, well, because I don't celebrate the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Except we don't. We say they are justified, and explain them as a means to an end, not something good in and of themselves (in this case eliminating Japanese military resistance to the invasion of the home islands).
Consider the individuals who excused the harm they did to Native Americans via boarding schools and the Dawes Act by saying that it was for the greater good. I believe that this mindset is something that must be fought, and feel that my terminology is better for that than converting immoral actions to moral ones.
So your saying... people shouldn't force others to do things for their own good? Like seat belt laws? Just because someone was wrong in appraising the situation doesn't mean the ethical system they used was wrong.
You also didn't explain the fundamental problems with deontology and virtue ethics, such that utilitarianism is better. If you like, I will drop that, but recognize that such an explanation is fundamental to objective morality.
Deontology is self-evidentally wrong. Actions are good or bad because they adhere to rules... but why are the rules good or bad? Virtue ethics is useless because you can't see individual's characters.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Samuel wrote:
Let us take a religion which incorporates a paradisical afterlife. Such is an unfalsifiable axiom of the moral system. How can you disprove said religion, assuming that it makes no falsifiable claims about the world?
It claims that something exists, which means it is part of reality and something we can deal with via logic and reason.
Show how it is falsifiable, then. It claims that when people die, they go to a paradise that does not interact with the world in any way. Show how this can be proven or disproven, and then you can go on to disprove religion.
But the number of people that have committed suicide speaks against that, and defining them as mentally unbalanced is again axiomatic (since more people than just the clinically depressed kill themselves).
You're an idiot. Death is not the worst harm that can befall individuals, just one kind of harm.
Christ almighty, it was an example, of how utilitarianism relies on axiomatic principles. The most common method I've heard for defining why harm is bad is because it is avoided by individuals. What's your reasoning as to why suffering is negative?
I reject that binary approach at its deepest level, which is to insist that I am crippling myself morally because, well, because I don't celebrate the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Except we don't. We say they are justified, and explain them as a means to an end, not something good in and of themselves (in this case eliminating Japanese military resistance to the invasion of the home islands).
You don't, but there are plenty of people who react in such a way and view it as a thing to celebrated, and as a good act. That's what I mean- the actions have become insinuated as positives into the collective psyche.
Consider the individuals who excused the harm they did to Native Americans via boarding schools and the Dawes Act by saying that it was for the greater good. I believe that this mindset is something that must be fought, and feel that my terminology is better for that than converting immoral actions to moral ones.
So your saying... people shouldn't force others to do things for their own good? Like seat belt laws? Just because someone was wrong in appraising the situation doesn't mean the ethical system they used was wrong.
I bolded a word for you, since your amazing brain couldn't conceive it. Explain how seat-belt laws harm people.
You also didn't explain the fundamental problems with deontology and virtue ethics, such that utilitarianism is better. If you like, I will drop that, but recognize that such an explanation is fundamental to objective morality.
Deontology is self-evidentally wrong. Actions are good or bad because they adhere to rules... but why are the rules good or bad? Virtue ethics is useless because you can't see individual's characters.
Why is suffering bad in utilitarianism? Why is virtue ethics "useless", seeing as it attempts to encourage specific behaviors in individuals? Bear in mind that the previous arguments rejected consequentialism as well, so you can't use that against it.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Formless »

Samuel wrote:You're an idiot.
Samuel wrote:Virtue ethics is useless because you can't see individual's characters.
Not to step on your toes since I agree with most everything else you say, but these two statements are directly contradictory. If you cannot know a person's characteristics, you cannot claim to know that Bakustra is an idiot. But his behavior says otherwise, and our language contains so many words to describe personality traits for a reason. Just saying. Change the grammar around to focus on the subject doing the decision making and utilitarianism becomes a virtue ethic: "a good person is compassionate and philanthropic, and thus seeks happiness for the greatest number of people and alleviates suffering in the greatest amount of people".

Funnily enough, this means that Bakustra cannot hide behind Virtue ethics to escape the logic of "the lesser evil" unless he wants to admit he has a different set of values than the rest of the people in this thread. It would also require him to say what he does consider virtuous in a military officer faced with situations like in the OP and why. Show that he actually understands some kind of moral reasoning rather than asking "what if I wasn't a utilitarian? Then what are you going to say, huh?" like that hasn't crossed anyone's mind.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Formless wrote:
Samuel wrote:You're an idiot.
Samuel wrote:Virtue ethics is useless because you can't see individual's characters.
Not to step on your toes since I agree with most everything else you say, but these two statements are directly contradictory. If you cannot know a person's characteristics, you cannot claim to know that Bakustra is an idiot. But his behavior says otherwise, and our language contains so many words to describe personality traits for a reason. Just saying. Change the grammar around to focus on the subject doing the decision making and utilitarianism becomes a virtue ethic: "a good person is compassionate and philanthropic, and thus seeks happiness for the greatest number of people and alleviates suffering in the greatest amount of people".

Funnily enough, this means that Bakustra cannot hide behind Virtue ethics to escape the logic of "the lesser evil" unless he wants to admit he has a different set of values than the rest of the people in this thread. It would also require him to say what he does consider virtuous in a military officer faced with situations like in the OP and why. Show that he actually understands some kind of moral reasoning rather than asking "what if I wasn't a utilitarian? Then what are you going to say, huh?" like that hasn't crossed anyone's mind.
Formless, you're a real sweetheart, you know that? I was feeling tired, run-down, sniffly, and all that jazz, and then you step in to brighten up my day. At least Simon, for all that I fault him for his fear of subjectivity, understood that the difference was one of semantics over the terminology of what to classify the lesser evil as, even though I feel that the semantics are fairly important. Even Samuel grasped it, I think. But you didn't. You just puked all over the thread, and god help me but a grin is spreading across my face right now.

I'm not actually a virtue ethicist or a deontologist, but I don't have the arrogance necessary to declare all other systems of morality inferior and useless, so it may be hard to recognize that I'm a utilitarian (although if this pattern keeps up it'll become more futilitarian than anything). So if given a situation like that in the OP, I probably would choose to order the bomber to attack the subs, seeing as I understand why the officer did it, given the choices available to him and the information he had (and I'd probably do it even with the full information). I'd like to think that I wouldn't, however, succumb to cognitive dissonance and make it a triumph of moral character rather than a horrific choice in a horrific situation, but the funny thing is that certainty is only possible in hindsight.

Never change, Formless. Never change.
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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Formless »

Bakustra wrote:I'm not actually a virtue ethicist or a deontologist, ... So if given a situation like that in the OP, I probably would choose to order the bomber to attack the subs,
Congratulations, you have officially admitted you are here to hijack the thread. This thread can officially be done, and you can go fuck yourself for wasting everyone's time.
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by K. A. Pital »

Bakustra wrote:Your first half is inconsistent with your second half, and I'm saying that I distinguish on the basis of actions rather than assigning morality based on comparisons. Go ahead and explain why your system is universally better. All of you insist on some sort of objective morality. Prove that there is such a thing, and that the system you espouse is such.
I don't subscribe to "morality based on comparisons", idiot - only on the basis of actions (hence why I said the Nazis and a man in prison are totally different - the latter is not actively perpetrating crimes in the very same moment). I am weighing the lives of people against, gasp, the lives of other people. The case might be not so clear cut with something else, but a submarine is a war machine. The only way it could not kill more people is if it is destroyed somehow right after the rescue mission. What is not clear here?
Bakustra wrote:But if you want a clarification of my position, then just because, for example, Americans do bad things does not prevent Americans from doing good things. The actions of the Nazis in general do not make the U-boat captain rescuing survivors suddenly immoral, which is what people were arguing. If you agree with that, then go ahead and provide your objective morality that does justify it.
Sorry, but I never said the sub captain did anything immoral. What I said is that destroying the submarine was justified. That's all.
Bakustra wrote:But the number of people that have committed suicide speaks against that
It doesn't. Utilitarianism relies on majority trends. The majority of people are committing suicide? No? Obviously not - the suicides are a small percentage. Ergo, it doesn't "speak" against anything.
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Bakustra
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Bakustra »

Stas Bush wrote:
Bakustra wrote:Your first half is inconsistent with your second half, and I'm saying that I distinguish on the basis of actions rather than assigning morality based on comparisons. Go ahead and explain why your system is universally better. All of you insist on some sort of objective morality. Prove that there is such a thing, and that the system you espouse is such.
I don't subscribe to "morality based on comparisons", idiot - only on the basis of actions (hence why I said the Nazis and a man in prison are totally different - the latter is not actively perpetrating crimes in the very same moment). I am weighing the lives of people against, gasp, the lives of other people. The case might be not so clear cut with something else, but a submarine is a war machine. The only way it could not kill more people is if it is destroyed somehow right after the rescue mission. What is not clear here?
Bakustra wrote:But if you want a clarification of my position, then just because, for example, Americans do bad things does not prevent Americans from doing good things. The actions of the Nazis in general do not make the U-boat captain rescuing survivors suddenly immoral, which is what people were arguing. If you agree with that, then go ahead and provide your objective morality that does justify it.
Sorry, but I never said the sub captain did anything immoral. What I said is that destroying the submarine was justified. That's all.
Bakustra wrote:But the number of people that have committed suicide speaks against that
It doesn't. Utilitarianism relies on majority trends. The majority of people are committing suicide? No? Obviously not - the suicides are a small percentage. Ergo, it doesn't "speak" against anything.
I'm going to start off with a little experiment.
Stas Bush wrote:Ergo,
Thank you for admitting you enjoy puppy and kitten sandwiches for lunch each day! See, what I did there is take a small segment of your post and attribute some random bullshit that has little to do with what you were saying so that I can argue with you further! It's glorious, isn't it?

We don't disagree with whether the destruction of the submarine was justified or not, but you keep insisting that I disagree, for some no-doubt perverse psychological reason. Well, if you have a need to argue, then I suppose I can play along for a little bit. What I was referring to were the posts by individuals earlier in the thread which you snipped out of my post, and without which my post makes no sense. Since the people in question were declaring that the sub's destruction was justified because the captain's actions were immoral, I responded.

If you feel that utilitarianism isn't ideally universal, then we don't disagree there either and you're inventing stuff. If you do, then you snipped a tiny fragment out rather than deal with the overall question of how you can remove the axiomatic basis from utilitarianism. Hardly good form, that.
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Samuel
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by Samuel »

Bakustra wrote:Show how it is falsifiable, then. It claims that when people die, they go to a paradise that does not interact with the world in any way. Show how this can be proven or disproven, and then you can go on to disprove religion.
I didn't say it was falsible, I said it was part of reality. And it obvious does interact with reality because people go there when they die. That requires interaction by defintion.
Bakustra wrote:I bolded a word for you, since your amazing brain couldn't conceive it. Explain how seat-belt laws harm people.
How about taxation?
Formless wrote:Not to step on your toes since I agree with most everything else you say, but these two statements are directly contradictory.
You don't understand- virtue ethics has a persons character independent of their actions.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/
An honest person cannot be identified simply as one who, for example, always tells the truth, nor even as one who always tells the truth because it is the truth, for one can have the virtue of honesty without being tactless or indiscreet.
Formless wrote:a good person is compassionate and philanthropic, and thus seeks happiness for the greatest number of people and alleviates suffering in the greatest amount of people
Except than poor people can't be good because they can't be philanthropic. Also, compassion and philanthropy personal traits are seperate from actually helping people- I have little doubt anti-vaccine activists have those traits for instance.
Bakustra wrote:but I don't have the arrogance necessary to declare all other systems of morality inferior and useless
They aren't useless (most people use rules of thumb for example), but they are inferior- that is what it means when you prefer to use another ethical system instead of Virtue or Deontology.
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K. A. Pital
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Re: Laconia incident

Post by K. A. Pital »

Bakustra wrote:We don't disagree with whether the destruction of the submarine was justified or not, but you keep insisting that I disagree, for some no-doubt perverse psychological reason. Well, if you have a need to argue, then I suppose I can play along for a little bit. What I was referring to were the posts by individuals earlier in the thread which you snipped out of my post, and without which my post makes no sense. Since the people in question were declaring that the sub's destruction was justified because the captain's actions were immoral, I responded.
You did try to argue with me, however. As for your arguments with others, why should I care?

You attacked my prior argument simply because I said destroying the submarine was a moral action. You tried to ramble how all choices in this situation are immoral. That's true. I simply called the least immoral choice moral (and like I said before, most actions in a war are immoral, however we judge some as "moral" simply because they are the best choice under the circumstances). Your argument was a semantic nitpick.

Actions have no morality outside the circumstances that created them. Morality is relative. Murder is bad. Murder of SS-men is good. Not an absolute good, but the best choice available, and considering that it greatly decreases suffering, we can call it "good".
Bakustra wrote:If you feel that utilitarianism isn't ideally universal, then we don't disagree there either and you're inventing stuff. If you do, then you snipped a tiny fragment out rather than deal with the overall question of how you can remove the axiomatic basis from utilitarianism. Hardly good form, that.
Utilitarianism can be applied universally. I never said it is ideal (the whole concept of the greater good in utilitarianism means making an optimal, not an ideal choice, not "zero suffering" but "less suffering"). Although if you follow it to a logical conclusion, consistent decrease in the amount of suffering until there's zero suffering is, technically, an ideal, but utilitarian goal.

I'm not sure why you chose to attack utilitarianism as a system. Utilitarianism would show the actions of the sub captain (at this particular time) as moral - after all, he tried to save survivors (a) and he could have succeeded (b) - his action would only be immoral if he knew the sub was going to get blown up along with all the survivors. It does not matter if the application is universal or not.
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