On 25-Jan-04, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Let me give a clearer example. Suppose I say that I believe it is a
> good and noble thing for the strong to oppress the weak, even to the
> point of killing them; and that if I were in charge I would promote
> this moral position in schools, through the media, and with changes
> to the criminal law, so that eventually it becomes accepted as the
> norm. How are you going to argue against this? You can't point out
> any errors of fact because I haven't made any empirical claims
> (other than the trivial one that this is what I in fact believe).
> You may try to point out the dire social consequences of such a
> policy, but where in the above have I said anything about social
> consequences? Frankly, I don't care what the effects of my policy
> are because I consider the destruction of weaklings in as painful a
> manner as possible of the greatest importance, and if God is just, I
> believe that I will go to heaven for having stuck to my moral
> principles. I know that many people would be horrified by what I
> propose, but I am certainly not the only one in history to have
> thought this way!
> The point is, you cannot argue against my moral position, because I
> don't present any arguments or make any claims. All you can do is
> disagree with me and state an alternative moral position.
True. But I can point out to people that 'weakling' is a relative term
and that you may well conclude they are weaklings in the future. I
will remind them that they loved and cared for some of those killed
as weaklings and this caused them much grief. I would ask them
whether they have any reason to agree with your theology. I would
suggest that we band together and kill you before you kill someone we
It would be easy for us, if we do not learn to understand the world
and appreciate the rights, privileges and duties of all other
and peoples, to represent in our power the same danger to the world
that fascism did.
--- Ernest Hemingway