In an earlier article, I had opined ...
=== Jeff Says ===
"Obviously you can make an argument that no athlete owes his original club loyalty - or in fact anything at all. The club was acting exclusively in its self-interest when it prepared the athlete for stardom, right? (Wrong.)
You can make similar arguments that a Soldier owes his country nothing; the Army was acting exclusively in its self-interest when training, paying, and feeding the Soldier, right? (Wrong.)
You can make arguments that nobody owes anybody anything. People in fact do make these arguments. How many blogs are going to discuss "loyalty" with respect to Felix? It's a dirty word, seen as an unfair indictment of those who made different choices.
Hopefully we re-think the concept of Virtue when we have our first child."
=== Nathan Says ===
Coming from the perspective of someone who accepts the following as part of his world view:
- The principle of non-aggression
- Virtues exist (corollary to that, evil acts and ideas exist as well)
- Any idea taken to sufficient extreme can be abhorrent
I'd be interested in exploring the idea that my worldview is wrong in some way. 'Enlightened self-interest' is mentioned in the article and is associated with a sneer. The idea is put forward that the Army is not acting exclusively in its self-interest when training, paying, and feeding the Soldier.
This may not be the appropriate forum, but could you expand on these premises? I'd genuinely like to explore this.
=== Jeff Says ===
Second topic - Non-aggression.
Nobody, not even Buddhists, believed more fervently in non-aggression than did first-century Christians - most of whose leaders passively went to their executions for simply speaking what they believed.
But all of those first-century Christians believed in government, in the enforcement of civil behavior -- by force when necessary. If thugs tried to carry off a maiden, a Christian solider would have drawn his sword to protect her.
Is it your premise, Nathan, that government, police, military, etc., are unnecessary? Do you believe that the Allies should have picked up guns against Hitler?
As a Christian myself, and a believer in loving my enemies, I'm going to walk away from a fight, if it's only my ego at stake. But I'm not going to allow people to throw my daughter into the back of their van; I'm going to use physical force to prevent her being sold into slavery.
Could you define your term "non-aggression" in the context of when, or if, a good man should use physical force to prevent evil?
=== Nathan says, re: non-aggression ===
To me (how's that for being relative) the principal of non-aggression means that aggression against another person is inherently illegitimate. If someone were to initiate force against you, that is wrong. At that point, it would be acceptable to defend yourself.
If the thugs were to attack me, I would have no moral qualm defending myself. In your example, it would be okay to defend the maiden against the thugs, the thugs are initiating force against the maiden with the intention of doing evil and she does not have the means to resist.
To be fair, I'm still trying to come to terms with the idea of interventionism in this worldview (maiden example included), so my argument for or against WWII is not on solid ground at this point.
I have heard it said that the logical conclusion of this worldview is anarchy because a government can only survive by initiating force but I have not come to terms with this idea yet. Exploring anarchical ideas certainly has been thought-provoking, though! A society based solely on voluntary interaction is something I've been quietly reading up on while I try to evolve my worldview.
=== Jeff Says ===
(Appreciate the discussion Nathan. I was braced for a less-productive debate, but I see that you're interested in an idea exchange.)
1. So that we're not talking past each other ... right off, it seems we are at least 98.888% agreed on the baseline here. Obviously we both HATE to see physical force used, and apparently we both agree that there are times that a good man is FORCED to use violence against a bad man.
2. Right. That's our problem. In WWII, why would Poland and France not be considered the "maiden" in the analogy, or any smaller country brutalized by a more powerful one?
In law (enter Mojician) when YOU use your gun to defend ME against JOE's knife attack, you are covered under a legal principle that is actually called the "Good Samaritan" principle (Luke ch. 10). Anything I could do myself, you could do for me, if necessary.
What France could do for itself, the U.S. could do for it, if asked to, correct?
3. Notice that we're not talking about interventionism proper. That refers to the situation where the guy being stabbed to death didn't ask for our help.
Does that change the situation inherently? That the altruist IS, or ISN'T, asked for help by the little girl being put into the van?
Or would the Samaritan be justified (even COMPELLED) to intervene based on the atrocity that would be committed if he did not intervene? I'm wondering here what there is about the free will of the victim that changes the situation. Or what about the person who is not in a position to make a choice about whether to be helped or not ... supposing the girl being thrown in the back of the van were drugged and unconscious.
4. Why is physical disincentive not okay, but other disincentives are okay? Is it merely a genteel sensibility, merely that we have become effete, too pseudo-refined to get our hands dirty?
Why are we fine with mocking a person until they break down in tears -- as people would like to see Al Gore or Sarah Palin do -- but consider ourselves above applying a public caning to a rapist?
Our reaction to physical violence may be hypocritical in view of our love for psychic violence. We love to hurt people. We just want to hurt their minds and hearts, not their flesh.
Why, exactly, is it more evolved to wage war against someone's heart than against their flesh?
5. Unless you can demonstrate otherwise - which I'd be fine with! - my position is straightforward.
A good man HATES to use violence - or indeed any other DISINCENTIVE applied to a fellow human being. But! There are times when a bad man FORCES the good man to do so - when the good man would actually cease being good, if he were to do anything OTHER than apply violence.
Enjoying the exchange Nathan! :daps:
Chime in any time Mojo...