Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
This god will not perish shamefully

By mirleid in Politics
Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 03:12:32 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)

It's late at night and the apartment is silent. Outside, a light rain falls, easily mistaken for fog. You set down your voice recorder, clicking it on, a slight raise of the left eyebrow the only sign of asking for permission. The interview starts.


"How did you find me?" the old man says.

"Easily enough. You never actually went into hiding; you just blended back into the population. It was just a case of taking my time and making the right friends"

"You do understand that, by the unfortunate virtue of having gotten this far, you have significantly inconvenienced me. As much as I enjoy my current occupation, I'll have to relocate, and ask my friends to not be so trusting in the future."

"Well, it couldn't be avoided. One way or the other, somebody, some day, would get this far. I think that, in a way, I have done you a favour; you could be facing an assassin's gun, rather than a voice recorder"

"An assassin's gun?" says he, visibly amused, "why would somebody go through the trouble of assassinating me, creating a martyr in the process? Surely that would be counter-productive. I am harmless, defanged: leaving me alone is best for all concerned"

"I wouldn't say that you're defanged, as you put it. You've weaponised rhetoric, to the point that you could be considered to be carrying Weapons of Mass Destruction wherever you go. Look at the way you've incited and encouraged people to commit mass murder and genocide..."

"That's where you're wrong" he says, wry smile on his crinkled face "I have never incited or encouraged people to kill. I merely...er...sponsored ideas providing a symbolic reference system in which they felt comfortable and justified doing it"

"That's a bit blasι, isn't it? How can you distance yourself from the fact that people, under your ultimate command, have maimed, raped and killed thousands? Surely you must take responsibility for that outcome?"

"Young man, you are sorely mistaken. First of all, would you deny that people are responsible for their actions? Assuming that you don't -for, if you do, you're merely wasting my time- then the people that actually committed those acts must bear ultimate responsibility. I have never issued orders to indiscriminately kill anybody; I have ordered people to be moved elsewhere in the country. If the commanders on the field, while in the process of executing those orders, actually chose to allow their men to kill, maim and rape, then, that is surely their responsibility, and they should stand trial for what they've done."

"How can you claim that? You said it yourself: you created a...climate...under which it was acceptable to carry your orders in the way in which they were."

"Well, the...climate...you speak of was created by simply reminding people of who they were, where they'd come from and pointing out that where they were going was up to them. I never said: hate A or B. I said: A or B have no place living together with you because they do not share the same values. This is the reason why all civilized societies incarcerate criminals, or commit people with psychiatric disorders: you don't want to share your life with them because they will not abide by the same rules"

"But...the rapes, the systematic killing..."

"I thought that, at this point, we had come to the conclusion that individual acts were the individual's responsibility..."

"That is why I used the word systematic. This implies organization, infrastructure..."

"And you'd have a point there, if it weren't for one item that you're carefully leaving out: those abuses were perpetrated by the military, which is an organization notoriously geared toward inflicting death and destruction. So, what did you expect? History is rife with instances of abuses committed by military forces tasked with resettling civilians; there will always be My Lai events."

"But a number of those abuses were committed by non-military personnel..."

"Yet again you have defeated your own argument: how can I be responsible for what is done by members of an organization that has a chain of command I am not a part of? This discussion is futile: as you can see, I am not easily moved by the moral responsibility argument. I firmly believe in personal responsibility, and ultimately, that's the crux of the matter: all the cases of savagery that you can bring to the table were committed by individuals; I was not one of those individuals; ergo, I am not culpable"

"Would you then deny that those events are logical and necessary consequences of the vision that you put before your people?"

"No, not at all. I wrote about that, even, and I clearly outlined the necessary outcome: I demand and I want just as God rightfully wants/ The immediate abolition of all things/ Without a purpose and with no beauty/ Without a purpose/ And no soundness. Either we, as a nation, would stop existing -as is the case today- or we'd act in a decisive manner to prevent that from happening. I presented my case for decisive action -which, I might add, did not include atrocities- to the public at large; they decided how to act, and followed on it by doing the deeds. It's just a shame that they gave in to some of the basest human desires and instincts, for it tainted our fight and goals and gave our enemies tools with which to destroy us. Obviously, that's without us launching into an analysis of the motives of the people that decided to help our enemies, rather than us. I suppose being a public victim of brutality helps your cause, but it's not sufficient, as the Darfur events have shown; hence, motivations and hypocrisy. "

At this point, you don't know what to say. The interview, for which you worked so long and hard, seems to have become an exercise in futility, for there seems to be no way in which you can reach some sort of meaningful communication with the man in front of you. He seems to sense this, and says

"Defeating, isn't it? Not at all what you had envisioned: maybe you came in expecting me to be apologetic, and deny that any and all acts of brutality committed by my side actually took place;" - chuckles, as if highly amused - "what a rude awakening."

You sit in silence for a period of time, the result of not having anything to say to the man in front of you. His eyes continue to show amusement, tinted with a little bit of contempt, as if he were expecting a worthy adversary and found you wanting.

"It's late, and even though I am an old man, I still need my sleep, which, before you ask, is deep and sound. I'd leave you with a question; how you answer it is, I believe, central to garnering an understanding of the matters we've discussed: if all those killings you spoke of had been committed in an orderly and smooth way designed to minimise human suffering, would you, and all like you, be any less willing to name us monsters?"

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Also by mirleid


Display: Sort:
This god will not perish shamefully | 56 comments (50 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Something about poop and incense? (1.50 / 2) (#1)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 01:26:37 PM EST


[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

Fascinating... (none / 0) (#2)
by mirleid on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 03:05:56 PM EST

How the hell did you come up with that? Pray tell, the thought process alone must be a sight to behold...

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
someone posted some fiction awhile ago (none / 0) (#4)
by GhostOfTiber on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 07:34:27 PM EST

that involved poop and incense, and it's been the new gold standard of the fiction section in my book.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
[ Parent ]

Must have missed that gem... (none / 0) (#10)
by mirleid on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 04:03:21 AM EST

...also, I am sectioning this to Politics, not Fiction...

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
it's both really (none / 0) (#7)
by rhiannon on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 11:15:57 PM EST

personal and group, people are individuals and can choose to make their own decisions, and also act predictably in large groups. Those who choose to influence the group should be held responsible, or at least tortured.

-----------------------------------------
I continued to rebuff the advances... so many advances... of so many attractive women. -MC
W H A T ' S W I T H A L L T H E S T O R I E S ? (none / 0) (#11)
by Hiphopopotamus on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:01:21 AM EST


_________________

I'm In LOVE!

It's just to piss you off.[] (none / 0) (#12)
by mirleid on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:11:17 AM EST



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
I T ' S W O R K I N G (none / 0) (#13)
by Hiphopopotamus on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:21:39 AM EST


_________________

I'm In LOVE!
[ Parent ]

G O O D.[] (none / 1) (#14)
by mirleid on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 09:29:01 AM EST



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
S W A L L O W A C O C K $ (none / 0) (#15)
by Nimey on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 12:14:28 PM EST


--
Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
Reaches the wrong conclusion (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by BottleRocket on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 12:51:31 PM EST

You have created a dialogue where the inescapable outcome is that no one can be held accountable for war crimes. This is bullshit for many reasons, but for simplicity let's just sum it up by saying that there's a reason attack dogs must be kept on a leash.

Your interviewer is exactly as you describe in narration: contemptible, not the worthy adversary that we would hope for.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

Exactly the opposite... (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by mirleid on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 01:04:27 PM EST

...the old man specifically says that people that commit war crimes are to be held accountable. He just refuses to accept the concept of moral responsibility for other people's actions (in a set of circumstances in which there's no command issued to actually commit a war crime, which would exclude the holocaust and other assorted acts of collective barbarism).

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
semantics (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by BottleRocket on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 02:26:48 PM EST

There's no point in his saying that he's not holding a gun to anyone's head if he's sure he can get someone else to do it for him. This is a man who murders using influence instead of weapons. In my view this makes him no less culpable.

If some violence had happened through short-sightedness or unforeseen consequence, that would make him merely incompetent, but this is a man who understood what form his orders would take, and is therefore responsible for their outcomes.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

[ Parent ]

I agree with this (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by livus on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 08:15:53 PM EST

"to command" is only a subset of "to cause"

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I think you're missing the point... (none / 1) (#22)
by mirleid on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 05:24:25 AM EST

He specifically states that he ordered the resettlement of a segment of the population, and that the crimes he stands accused of were committed by the military while in the process of executing those orders. There's nothing in the text that indicates that he incited hatred towards the group being resettled, he merely pointed out the differences between that group and his constituency. In short, his point is that the crimes that were committed did not stem directly or indirectly from his orders; they were committed because the people that were executing his orders decided to.

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
I don't think that I am missing anything. (none / 1) (#25)
by BottleRocket on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 10:36:15 AM EST

Which are you defending? The ethnically-selective resettlement or the rape? You are the one who created this imaginary dialogue, and in it you make it a point that the old man had gone into hiding. Did you mean to suggest that he somehow went into hiding by accident?

What is clear to me is that genocide took place under this commander's tacit approval; in fact, it is clear that he encouraged it. I can't see how I've missed the point here, but please enlighten me.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

[ Parent ]

I am not defending anything... (none / 1) (#26)
by mirleid on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 11:25:26 AM EST

I am merely making the point even though the old man is responsible for creating a thought framework in which ethnically-selective population resettlement is acceptable, he did not issue any orders to kill, maim and/or rape anybody. From that point, I ask the question of why would he be held responsible for those abuses, rather than the people that actually committed them.

Furthermore, he did not give his tacit approval to anything; he very clearly states that people that committed those acts should be prosecuted, and he even uses language like "giving in to the basest human desires and instincts", which clearly signals his disapproval for what happened.

In this light, what I am questioning is whether your clear statement on the old man's culpability stands to scrutiny.

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
He'll say anything to deflect responsibility (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by BottleRocket on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 11:43:56 AM EST

His inaction is direct evidence of connivance. If he truly believed that the people who committed those acts should be prosecuted, he could have done it himself, or at the very least, done something to prevent further occurrences. Genocide doesn't happen all at once, it goes on for years.

Maybe he made up a new kind of genocide that can happen overnight! Stop kidding yourself. There is no excuse for his misuse of power, and to say otherwise is to expose yourself as either indolent or malicious.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . ₯ . . . . . € . . . . . § . . . . . £
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

[ Parent ]

Also, this was totally crappy (none / 1) (#31)
by Hiphopopotamus on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 03:15:08 AM EST

and I didn't read it, even after a good long boring day at work.
_________________

I'm In LOVE!
[ Parent ]

Now you're making assumptions (none / 1) (#32)
by mirleid on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 05:41:24 AM EST

You're assuming that he had the opportunity to actually do something about it, and, more importantly, that he knew about it (leaving aside for the moment the fact that he might have actually tried to do something). Also, you assume that he was some sort of absolute ruler, capable of making something stop by uttering a single word; in short, that assuming that he knew, he would have had the power required to stop it happening.

My point here is that, even though your comments are valid, they tend to escape, via making assumptions and presuming intent, the narrow definition of the problem that I tried to present.

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
doesn't follow (none / 0) (#36)
by livus on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 08:18:35 PM EST

"you assume that he was some sort of absolute ruler, capable of making something stop by uttering a single word"

there's nothing in BR's post to imply that the old man would have to stop it suddenly or absolutely - quite the reverse in fact, as he points out that genocide doesn't happen overnight but rather takes time.

The claim that the leaders of genocides "don't know" what happens seems disingenious to say the least. I think it's reasonable to assume that this person had  not only motive, but also means and opportunity to know.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

He's not claiming ignorance... (none / 1) (#37)
by mirleid on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 08:52:21 AM EST

...he pretty explicitly states that he knows what happened. I think that there are two issues at stake here:
  • Would he actually be capable of stopping it happening by decree? How would he enforce such an order, when the forces committing the attrocities are the same forces that would be expected to stop them? As such, what would an attempt to stop it happening accomplish, other than compromise the leader's position?
  • Stating upfront that it wasn't the case in this instance, if there was a law that stated that rape, killing and maiming of individuals belonging to a certain minority was allowed, would an individual carrying orders under that legal framework be guilty of a crime?


Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
the decree still doesn't follow (none / 0) (#41)
by livus on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 06:01:18 PM EST

According to you he didn't even create it by decree so why do you think he'd have to try to end it by decree? What about other means?

To address your other point, you'd need a clearer definition of both "a law" and "crime". Your question is basically:

If there was a law enacted in a country that said you could do X then is doing X a crime?

Juridically speaking, this depends on a number of factors, including what other laws predate and are not extinguished by the law in question, the legitimacy of the creation of the law in question, the existence of transnational and international laws, and possibly the citizenry of the person performing X and of the victim.*

However I'm not convinced you mean "crime" in this context.

*for example, under NZ law, NZ citizens can be prosecuted for performing certain acts - namely, sex with children - even in countries where those acts are legal.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Ok (none / 1) (#47)
by mirleid on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:12:37 AM EST

By crime I mean "punishable by the applicable and relevant body of law in place in the jurisdiction where the event took place".

So, rephrasing the question in less ambiguous terms:

Can a specific action be considered unlawful, and thus potentially causing whoever committed it to be prosecuted in a given jurisdiction, if that action is not punishable under the current, lawful and legitimate body of law applicable in that jurisdiction?



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
No, it can't. (none / 0) (#50)
by livus on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:58:05 PM EST

But I'm curious as to what you have in mind here.

Usually retrospective prosecution happens when either the body of law under which the action happened is not considered legitimate.

For example if the law is imposed by a non-elected body or where imposing a law contravenes extant laws  

I note that there are also cases where the international community debates that "the applicable and relevant body of law" can actually be decided unilaterally within a soveriegn nation - but these issues are not necessarily resolved. The ICC is a case in point. The USA/Guantanamo is another.

I should note that ethical responsibility and legal responsibility are two separate things (unless you subscribe to the idea that anything legal = moral and vice versa, but if you do, this is an unusual belief).

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Conspiracy? (none / 1) (#55)
by Pentashagon on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 12:17:33 AM EST

When a mob boss suggests that somebody should be "taken care of" or "dealt with" it's pretty obvious what their true intentions are, even if they say "I detest the use of concrete shoes and baseball bats and guns, and definitely would not approve of killing anyone" in court.

Specifically, performing a mass "resettlement" implies the need for force (violence) to coerce the people who aren't cowed into leaving, and the implicit theft of whatever everyone leave behind. What, exactly, is a call for resettlement but a call to larceny, burglary, and kidnapping on a massive scale? In the best case land and houses will be stolen and people transported against their will, at the worst everything including the lives of the resettled people will be lost. So I think "conspiracy to commit kidnapping", "conspiracy to commit burglary" and "conspiracy to commit assault" are the minimum charges for anyone who successfully incites a resettlement against a specific group of people.

Being charged with conspiracy to commit a crime often warrants a sentence similar to one for actually committing the crime. I think the rationalization is that the legal system recognizes that many (if not most) people are barely more than simple social automatons, easily coerced into actions by their peers and superiors.

[ Parent ]

False dichotomy (none / 1) (#30)
by livus on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 09:58:27 PM EST

"I ask the question of why would he be held responsible for those abuses, rather than the people that actually committed them"

Since when is it either/or?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Is it your assertion, then... (none / 1) (#33)
by mirleid on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 05:44:20 AM EST

...that moral responsibility weighs as much as actual, direct responsibility stemming from a concrete action?

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
I'm saying your binary is overly simplistic (none / 0) (#35)
by livus on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 07:57:41 PM EST

The old man in your story also performed concrete actions.

Furthermore, now that you have made some sort of  distinction between "moral responsibility" and "direct responsibility" then you need to explain further before I can answer what you mean about how much it "weighs" - weighs in what sense? What do you mean?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Basically... (none / 1) (#38)
by mirleid on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 09:05:06 AM EST

Let's take a scenario like the one described in the piece, whereby there's a leader that creates a popular consensus (via rhetoric, propaganda, whatever) whereby it is ok to resettle members of a given minority. The establishment of that consensus has unintended consequences, in the sense that individuals belonging to the majority feel empowered to commit abuses against members of the minority, above and beyond what is permissible by law; they do not, however, get systematically brought to justice because there's a generalised pattern of abuse against the minority practised by the very forces that are tasked with upholding the legal system.

You could argue that the leader is ultimately responsible for the consequences of the consensus that he created. However, he wouldn't have been able to create that consensus without active participation of a large majority of the population, and he certainly never made changes to the legal system to allow attrocities against a specific minority to become legal. As such, when determining who is responsible for a single, individual death of a member of the minority, which weighs more: the fact that the leader created the consensus (which would imply that he is morally responsible for all that happened) or the person that actually pulled the trigger (as in, whoever actually did the deed)?

Establishing a parallel: can you blame Lenin for the Katyn massacre?

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Aha (none / 0) (#42)
by livus on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 06:10:14 PM EST

so when you say "which weighs more" are you talking about moral weight?

In this case we need to throw out your earlier distinction between "moral responsibility" and "direct responsibility."

It seems to me you're talking about (and in some cases conflating) four diferent things here:

  1. actions
  2. direct outcome of actions (i.e strong concrete responsibility for outcome)
  3. indirect outcome of actions (weaker concrete responsibility for outcome)
  4. moral responsibility for outcome

In your particular way of thinking, intentionality  seems to play a large part in apportioning moral responsibility.
Interestingly,  you yourself have now introduced a new rule into this - there's no hint above that the consequences are specifically "unintended" as you now claim. In the story, you more or less try to absolve him of intentionality, which I suspect is the sticking point. Anyone over the age of about 10 can see that forced "relocation" justified by a rejection of people as "other" is going to be necessarily violent and destructive.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
No new rules (none / 1) (#48)
by mirleid on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:21:45 AM EST

The "unintentional" part was just to simplify the argument. I am prepared to debate the point either way. So, let us look into the following scenario:

You're walking down a corridor, and at the end of the corridor there's a steep flight of stairs. There's two people at the end of the corridor, standing, but you're lost in thought and their presence does not register. Now, one of them tells the other one that he always found scenes of people falling down stairs in old Charlie Chaplin movies quite funny. If the other one sticks his foot out and trips you, who is culpable for the outcome?



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Needs more context (none / 0) (#51)
by livus on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:04:34 PM EST

Has the Chaplin-lover "sponsored ideas providing a symbolic reference system in which [the other person] felt comfortable and justified" in tripping me up?

Moreover, although they didn't directly order me to be tripped up, have they at some point "ordered people to be moved elsewhere in the [stairwell]"?

Have they, in fact, denied my right to peaceful occupation of the corridor on the grounds that said at some point that "[livus has] no place living together with you because they do not share the same values. This is the reason why all civilized societies incarcerate criminals, or commit people with psychiatric disorders: you don't want to share your life with them because they will not abide by the same rules"?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

One more question (none / 0) (#52)
by livus on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:05:54 PM EST

is the Chaplin-lover well acquainted with the foot-tripping person and their habits?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Hang on (none / 0) (#54)
by livus on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:16:58 PM EST

I think I'm confused by what you're asking because you and I are working with very different definitions of "moral responsibility".

If you're atually asking do I think the Chaplin fan helped cause the accident then yes I do.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

What if he'd pay for it? (none / 1) (#56)
by Pentashagon on Sun Aug 10, 2008 at 12:27:43 AM EST

You're walking down a corridor, and at the end of the corridor there's a steep flight of stairs. There's two people at the end of the corridor, standing, but you're lost in thought and their presence does not register. Now, one of them tells the other one that he always found scenes of people falling down stairs in old Charlie Chaplin movies quite funny. If the other one sticks his foot out and trips you, who is culpable for the outcome?

If the the second person (being told to trip you) is violently psychotic and suggestible, it's also the fault of the person telling them to do it. Or if he pays the person to push you ("I'd honestly pay $1,000 to see someone fall down the stairs like in a Charlie Chaplin movie!"). When a reasonable person has reason to believe that a certain outcome will result from their actions, they should be held responsible for it. There's nothing inherently wrong about telling someone to do something wrong, unless of course you know that they will actually do it if you tell them to. This obviously requires a subjective judgment of both the initiator and the responder to determine whether each understood their role in the final action, and to what degree. The insanity defense is already used to subjectively determine what responsibility an individual has for his or her own actions. Basically it becomes a matter of coercion/conspiracy on the part of the person instigating a criminal action.


[ Parent ]

oh, and to answer your question (none / 0) (#43)
by livus on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 06:15:02 PM EST

it seems ludicrous to me that I should be supposed to choose only one of a number of contributing people to "blame" for the death of any particular individual at Katyn.

Or objects, for that matter - for the logical extension of your argument would be to "blame" the bullets rather than those who pull the trigger!  

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

I agree with you, it's not either/or (none / 1) (#49)
by mirleid on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 08:25:57 AM EST

I'd just like someone to quantify precisely what part of the blame can be apportioned to the old man, vis-a-vis the lack of causation (but not correlation) and the existence of free will on the part of the executors of the abuses.

Btw, and I apologies if it is a little frustrating, but I am leaving out exactly where I stand on this matter so as not to "taint" any of your responses.

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
I still think you're thinking in those terms (none / 1) (#53)
by livus on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:13:52 PM EST

insofar as you're making it sound like blame is some sort of pie that can be neatly carved up and apportioned.

Do you think that assigning responsibility (or "blame" if you like) in one quarter somehow lessens the responsibility in another quarter?

You still haven't established a lack of causation, for me. Do you really believe - or expect me to believe - that ideology does not cause social change or influence individual behaviour?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Not quite true (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by livus on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 09:56:39 PM EST

he claims that everyone should expect this of the military, and yet he specifically ordered them to carry out the order.

You might as well argue that you're not responsible if you deliberately ask a convicted pedophile to babysit your child.

The order is also highly euphemistic - a bit like ordering an omlette and claiming you didn't ask them to break an egg.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

False Premise. (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by sudogeek on Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 04:46:29 PM EST

Dr. Radovan Karadzic aka Dr Dragan David Dabic, human quantum energy expert and alternative medicine guru, was no passive philosopher of the Bosnian Serb Republic. His direct control was never more clear than when, in 1994, Karadzic ordered Mladic resign as commander of the Republika Srpska forces after the army lost control of two western Bosnian towns (link). The order was ignored by Mladic and Karadzic had to back down a few days later, confirming Mladic's position and his (Karadzic's) ultimate command of the army.

There is no doubt Mladic was more proximately responsible for Srebrenica, but the blame cannot escape the commander in chief.


You're an arrogant, condescending, ignorant dipshit. - trhurler

Some similarities with Karadzic, granted, but... (none / 0) (#23)
by mirleid on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 05:26:27 AM EST

...this does not directly relate to him. I just decided to use some excerpts of his poetry because I think that they clearly illustrate intent.

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
The blame cannot escape... (none / 0) (#24)
by mirleid on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 07:34:59 AM EST

Well, if that's the case, then do you think that Richard Nixon should have been tried for war crimes, as he was the commander in chief when the My Lai massacre took place, and, furthermore, that that massacre stemmed from an executive-sanctioned individual elimination program (the Phoenix program)?

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Yes. (none / 0) (#28)
by sudogeek on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 12:41:14 PM EST

(Godwin's Law warning.)

Just like Hitler could not escape (posthumous) indictment for the "final solution" which was arguably Reinhard Heydrich's program, Nixon, Karadzic, and Bush cannot escape the blame for the actions of their underlings given a defined chain of command. Of course, who gets charged and tried depends very much on who is the victor. If Germany had won WW2, no doubt Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris would have been in the dock for his bombing campaign of population centers and the fire bombing of Dresden.

You're an arrogant, condescending, ignorant dipshit. - trhurler
[ Parent ]

A hole (none / 0) (#34)
by Sgt York on Thu Aug 07, 2008 at 03:23:28 PM EST

A key argument of the old man is
how can I be responsible for what is done by members of an organization that has a chain of command I am not a part of?
This position is blurred in some nations, but it's explicitly defined in many others. In China, Iran, the US, and Russia the chief executive (Prime minister, President, etc) is named explicitly as the commander in chief. In most countries the de facto position of CIC falls on the head of the cabinet or the Parliament, namely the chief executive.

This makes the CE part of the military chain of command, and responsible for the actions of those under his command, and that argument goes out the window.

As for the final question, it depends on what killings you're talking about. For example, the Allies in WWII killed a very large number of civilians in their bombing raids, due to inaccuracy of bombs, overkill, poor intel, etc. The Axis killed a large number of people by rounding them up and executing them because they needed scapegoats. Both are horrible for the people involved, but only one has the intent required to make it truly evil. I don't care if the people are killed in the most humane way possible; it's the intent, the desire to kill or hurt another that makes it evil.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

Check the previous sentence (none / 1) (#39)
by mirleid on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 09:11:01 AM EST

"But a number of those abuses were committed by non-military personnel"

The reference to the chain of command that he is not a part of refers to the chain of command in organizations like militias and para-military outfits that would have, in the context of the piece, also have committed abuses.

Also, what you're then saying is that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were evil and war crimes, in the sense that civilians were specifically targeted in order to (it's alleged) bring the war to a swift close without requiring an invasion of Japan?

Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Evil, yes (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 10:40:51 AM EST

All killing is evil, even capital punishment (IMHO).

War crime is redundant.

I (personally) am convinced that the dropping of the bomb was, at the time, the apparent least of an array of evils. It was a reasonable choice given what was known at the time. 60 years later, new information may have come forth, but that still wasn't available at the time.

I think that the intent of dropping the bomb was to bring the war to a rapid close with the fewest number of lives lost. And while it's still a bad thing, it's the least horrible of what could have been done. It was not "Kill them all!", it was "Kill as few as possible, and end this before the Russians get in on this and take a piece of Asia, too."

I missed the part about the paramilitary groups, though.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Out of interest (none / 0) (#44)
by livus on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 06:39:09 PM EST

would you differentiate in any way between killing in a society that had democratically agreed to sanction killing its citizens (eg in theory at least, the USA) and going in and killing in a society that had democratically banned killing its citizens?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#45)
by Sgt York on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 06:45:45 PM EST

Both are wrong. Higher law and all that (Caution: Religious tangent down that road). Killing is justified when it is done in self defense situation. But even then, it's still not right, just justified. Like I said, I think even the state sanctioned killing of people itself is wrong.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

no cultural relativism for you, then. (none / 0) (#46)
by livus on Fri Aug 08, 2008 at 07:26:18 PM EST

to be honest I'm not even sure where I was going with that - your comment on war crimes struck me though, and I started wondering why I think there's some kind of difference between killing your own citizenry and going off and killing someone else's.

Hmm it's probably not around the killing though, but about issues of sovereignty.


---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

This god will not perish shamefully | 56 comments (50 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!