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Moral Relativism

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People are still bandying moral relativism about as though it meant something worthwhile. The basic premise is that different cultures have different values, and just because another culture is different does not make it inferior. I've heard this theory rear it's ugly head again recently, and clearly it needs euthanising.

Some examples of the wonder of moral relativism:

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilisations sacrificed tens of thousands of innocent people, yearly, to their gods. It was just a religious thing, purely cultural - to be lain on a stone slab, and have the thoracic cavity opened and the still-beating heart cut out. But for us to criticise that, just illustrates the differences between our cultures and the fact that we don't understand the religious belief behind human sacrifice.

Feudal cultures believe in the right of royalty and nobility to appropriate material wealth, goods, livestock and even women from those of lesser social station. We'd call this "stealing" and look at it as the more powerful abusing their power to take from the less powerful. But that just illustrates how "stealing" is just a cultural concept anyway.

Nazi German "culture" was extremely anti-Semitic. They had some odd social, philosophical and scientific ideas about why Jews needed to be oppressed and murdered for the greater good, and they certainly didn't mind acting upon them. Of course, we condemn the Holocaust, but that just illustrates that we don't understand the deep-seated Nazi prejudice against the Jew and his genuinely held convictions about the nature of the Jewish people.

In many parts of Africa, female circumcision still goes on. For those who don't know what this is, it's basically when the tribal elders take a pre-teen girl, hold her down and mutilate her genitalia, which will make sex and often even urination very painful for her later in life. We would call it a terrible crime for someone to restrain an unwilling girl and mutilate her genitals, but it's just part of their culture. It's a rite of passage.

Also in many parts of Africa, it's a religious belief that sex with a virgin cures AIDS. To this end, many HIV-positive men have been abducting and raping small children, infants and babies, often so young that the actual act of intercourse causes irreparable physical damage or death. But it's part of their culture. They are acting on a genuinely held religious conviction.

Moral relativism appears to be a great outlook at face value. It preaches tolerance and understanding of all. However, that quickly turns ugly when you realise that to tolerate and seek to understand all means that you must tolerate and understand murderers, rapists, thieves and perpetrators of the darkest acts known to man. To embrace moral relativism is to say that you have no morals and no ethics, because you accept that every act or thought conceivable is fine by you as long as it forms part of somebody's culture - and as culture is so hard to define, it basically means that you have absolutely no standards and no morals.

I say that it's wrong to deliberately take an innocent life (for instance). This is an absolute and I don't see how exceptions can be made. My culture believes in this. Any culture that does not, is inferior to mine. I will stand by that.

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If what the West stands for is the respect for and preservation of human life and dignity, the protection of innocents, and preservation of individual freedoms, then yes, the West is the "Moral God" and I would be happy if it forced its will on inferior cultures. So would they, once they had experienced it. Afghan women certainly want a dose of Western culture. Do you know any? I do. I also know several Iraqi and Iranian dissidents. They all wish that Western ethics and a little Western culture would supercede their own.

The reason for the next 9/11 will be people who don't subscribe to the above morals and believe that killing the innocent is just dandy. The blame will rest with them, and also with you, and all the others who are determined that murder go unpunished and cultures of hatred and death be encouraged.

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Left Libs and their tree hugging addicts that permeate the media believe that history holds no lessons. They believe that nothing matters, except that all things are relative and nihilism in any form is to be extolled.

In short the Liberal wags teach you that:

-Success is due to luck, exploitation, or thievery

-Cultural differences do not impact a societies success

-Multi-culturalism is necessary to relativise society

-History is unimportant -- a new Post modern world has emerged

-Capitalism and helping the poor succeed through the accumulation of surplus value [a concept Marx understood but did not fully grasp], is a negative.

-War is obsolete, all people are good, conflict is to be avoided only thru discussion

In summary it is a bunch of mindless twaddle.

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Dear Mr. Read,

I whole heartedly agree with your original post about moral relativism. The only thing I would nitpick about, is that last sentence. Certain aspsects of one culture may be superior, in a relative way, but that does not make the entire culture superior. I think we'd all see the value in coverting to buddhism if that were the case.

Ethical relativism carries exactly the same pitfalls, yet far too many countries cling to it. Multi-culturalism, while serving to temper relativism, is only flawed because the gov't wastes money to promote it, when it should and can stand on it's own merits. I think the same should go for Quebec. I think it was Eugene Fossey who said," No one can deny Quebec is a distinct society. So is Newfoundland".

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the fact that you dont even factor in the desperate poverty of these supposed evil cultures tells me this whole thread is a excercise in mental masterbation.

when america first started it used blacks as slave labor untill they died. doesnt that mean all american culture is unethical?

no, of course society was primitive then.

just like egypt is a primative society today. its poor, over populated, governed by a corrupt government, and in a nasty part of the world.

thus 99% of it isnt anything to do with ethics, you cant have ethics in hell holes like that, society there is at the lowest possible point.

its easy to be civil when you have all the food water and shelter you need.

SirRiff

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You're missing the point. This is not about poverty and backwardness. I fail to see how human sacrifice, female circumcision or feudal tithing are caused by poverty anyway.

What it is about, is the problem moral relativists have with recognising evil and distinguishing good from bad. They seem to believe there is no good and bad, just different, and that is not so.

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An amendment: I apologize for an error, it was Hugo that started this thread, and I posted "Dear Mr. Read". Sorry for the confusion, I almost always post from memory and I am getting old. (over 36 now!)

To reply to the last post of Hugo, I would like to say that good and bad, right and wrong are relative to humans, and that there is only one absolute. Some call it 'truth', some call it 'existence', and truth is "That which does BE".

Since I have no religious or nationalistic bent, I would only wish to become upon this earth a "Be-er".

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OK, then let's take an action.

For instance, raping, sodomising, torturing and murdering a series of innocent and harmless 6-year-old girls.

Do you think that would be good or bad? If some people think it would be good, does that mean that it is sometimes good, always good, or always bad?

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If what the West stands for is the respect for and preservation of human life and dignity, the protection of innocents, and preservation of individual freedoms, then yes

What West are you talking about? Maybe Northern Europe, but definitely not the US.

The US is the reverse of what you've just described.

the West is the "Moral God" and I would be happy if it forced its will on inferior cultures

That's the one of the most arrogant, intolerant views I've ever come across.

I know a few Iranian Youth. They don't want a force fed US democracy. They don't want western culture to supersecde their own. They want to get rid of the Mullahs because they do not stand for Islam and run the most draconian governments the modern world has seen. While they want a democracy, they do not want a Western democracy. They do not want Western Culture to be their own.

The reason for the next 9/11 will be people who don't subscribe to the above morals and believe that killing the innocent is just dandy.

That's the average American. That is also Enron, the IMF, Reliant Energy, London Eletric.....HMMMMMM ALL western companies! Corrolation? NAAAA!

The blame will rest with them, and also with you, and all the others who are determined that murder go unpunished and cultures of hatred and death be encouraged.

So the millions the US helped to kill shouldn't be avenged? So the US can kill people all it wants, but the second a tiny amount of US citizens die, the violators must be killed in the most horrible way?

Typical right-winger, everyone that supports me is blameless.

History is unimportant -- a new Post modern world has emerged

Actually, that's a right-wing notion. That you and a few others have advocated.

War is obsolete, all people are good, conflict is to be avoided only thru discussion

Um, sure. War now is all but obsolete. The majority on conflicts around the world have no real basis beyond greed and ethnic hatred. There is a way to live without killing each other. Have you thought about that?

What it is about, is the problem moral relativists have with recognising evil and distinguishing good from bad

Since when do pathetic, insifigient ANIMALS get to decide what is right and wrong? Humans are ANIMAlS. Humans have no rights. Does a rat have any rights? Does a sheep? No one gave us the right to decide what is moral correct and what is moral wrong. Stop playing God, if a god even exists.

For instance, raping, sodomising, torturing and murdering a series of innocent and harmless 6-year-old girls.

It may be wrong to us, but that is OUR opinion. IT IS NOT FACT. Opinion and fact rarely, if never are the same. We do not get to decide what is right and what is wrong. We can only believe what we wish to believe, but we will never, ever know what is right or wrong while we walk on this planet.

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What it is about, is the problem moral relativists have with recognising evil and distinguishing good from bad. They seem to believe there is no good and bad, just different, and that is not so.

I dont think i have heard anybody say that some things are not decided to be bad and some things good. they obviously are by any civil society. i certainly dont know why you would think that.

For instance, raping, sodomising, torturing and murdering a series of innocent and harmless 6-year-old girls.

Do you think that would be good or bad? If some people think it would be good, does that mean that it is sometimes good, always good, or always bad?

well for numerous reasons i think a reasonable person would agree that its always bad.

now lets take another action,

secretly financing, arming and training men who participate in, 'For instance, raping, sodomising, torturing and murdering a series of innocent and harmless 6-year-old girls.'

now do you think that would be good or bad? If some people think it would be good, does that mean that it is sometimes good, always good, or always bad?

because you seem to justity the very same actions by proxy wars.

SirRiff

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Well, the west seems to be the ones with common sense. I mean there are people I don't like but I'm not gonna go kill them. In some countries, that would be ok though. These are like God given rights. This can be whatever God you choose to believe in or mother nature if you prefer. I believe many of those morals comes from the God that I believe in. Many of those morals have come into Western Culture from the days when EVERYONE was Catholic, whether they liked it or not. Since leaving Europe and settling in America, we've said that we want freedom to worship God how we see fit. This means what type of denomination we choose is all up to us as in Europe, at least until recently, many countries imposed religions views and practices. Now seeing how good we have it, we see people who don't even have the basic rights in the Middle East for example.

I heard women in the middle east can not show their bodies so the MEN are not sexually tempting.... So why do the women have to dress up? That doesn't sound fair.

I'm not a feminist, but people deserve to be treated equal!

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Equal in your opinion or equal in their opinion? Who's opinion is correct and why?

However, you still haven't answered who gave you the right to decide what is right and wrong.

These are like God given rights. This can be whatever God you choose to believe in or mother nature if you prefer

Bull. Humans have no rights. We are animals. Do animals have any rights in the wild? "Rights" are man's pathetic attempt to make him seem better than the rest of the world's creatures. Now, before you talk about life, liberty and the pursuit of happines, i'll cut you off before you even start.

Life? Does a man drowning in the middle of the Pacific have a right to life? Does the ocean observe his right to life?

Liberty? Liberty is never free. It must be paid in blood. How does paying for something make it free?

Pursuit of happiness is not a right. It is a simple fact of life. Everything has the ability to pursue happiness. Whether or not the find it is irrevelant, a rat to a blue whale can pursue happiness.

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Nova,

You frighten me. You're completely deranged. I do find it fascinating that somewhere along the line in these types of morality debates, the very basic concept of "Are human beings animals?" has to be addressed.

Human beings are not on a par with animals. You mention rats and their lack of "rights". I would point out that the fact that human beings could and would even come up with a concept of "basic human rights" more than a little telling. If you see no difference between yourself and a rat, I pity you. In fact, I pity you anyway. You seem quite steeped in self-loathing. Or possibly teenage angst.

The reason that human beings are governed by morals, ethics and laws while animals are not lies in the fact that human beings are capable of grasping these concepts and following such guidelines in the first place. Those who refuse to are ostracised and/or imprisoned. In short, most human beings recognise another's right to live because they are capable of doing so. Animals are not. Animals prey on the young of other animals because they are easier to kill - they do not, and CANNOT stop to consider what the loss might or might not mean to the parents of the victim, to say nothing of the victim itself. Humans typically are horrified when children are injured or killed and it is only the absolute scum of the earth that would target a child.

I know you may've heard SirRiff on here talking about how strikingly similar humans are to daisies and chimps but there are fundamental differences between humans and animals, regardless of what some cartoons might suggest. These differences are readily apparent even to children. If you cannot pick them out, I suggest you study harder and spend less time regurgitating your commie history prof's political views. :)

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Communist? Doubtful.

Morals? What morals exist today? Ethics? Laughable. Laws, perhaps, but on the basis of punishment, the way animals learn not to do something.

Are you saying Humans aren't animals?

Just because we are at the top of the current evolution scale does not mean we are not animals.

Animals prey on the young of other animals because they are easier to kill - they do not, and CANNOT stop to consider what the loss might or might not mean to the parents of the victim, to say nothing of the victim itself.

....Humans do this ALl the time. There is no difference.

We share 98.9% of our DNA with STARFISH. 99.9% with chimps. Does that .1% make us moral agents?

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You frighten me. You're completely deranged. I do find it fascinating that somewhere along the line in these types of morality debates, the very basic concept of "Are human beings animals?" has to be addressed.

Getting back to this. Deranged because I don't think of myself on a higher plane of existance then the rest of the creatures we share 98-99.9% of our DNA with?

Humans are animals by definition. Unless you'd like to say that language is wrong, and humans are some sort of insect or different classification. Plant Kingdom? Fungi? Protoza?

I would point out that the fact that human beings could and would even come up with a concept of "basic human rights" more than a little telling

The very nature of Humans is of arrogance and greed. People, not wanting to see themselves as "primitive" like apes, want to think of themselves on a higher level. One granted with God given rights. Humans have no rights. Basic rights do not exist anywhere but in the mind of arrogant humans. The three inalieable rights of humans are lies, well, two are and the other is a mere fact of life.

If you see no difference between yourself and a rat, I pity you. In fact, I pity you anyway. You seem quite steeped in self-loathing. Or possibly teenage angst.

I pity you if you think you are better then the rest of the life on the planet. We all evolved from the same thing. Does that make us better? Or simply luckier? Self-loathing? Or comming to terms with the things most people hate to think about because they transcend their current level of thought?

The reason that human beings are governed by morals, ethics and laws while animals are not lies in the fact that human beings are capable of grasping these concepts and following such guidelines in the first place.

Actually, it's just the strongest being who places the rules that are adventageous to himself. That's if you believe in Thraysmacus's definition of Justice. Whether or not people follow rules out of inner belief, or fear of death, they are still being ruled by the stronger.

Animals are not. Animals prey on the young of other animals because they are easier to kill - they do not, and CANNOT stop to consider what the loss might or might not mean to the parents of the victim, to say nothing of the victim itself.

How does that differ from the many humans who commit the same acts?

Are you sure they cannot consider? have you spoken to one recently? (sorry true skepticism is taking hold)

Even though we have our differences, other animals have large difference too, but we still consider them animals.

If you cannot pick them out, I suggest you study harder and spend less time regurgitating your commie history prof's political views.

I bet my school is better then your's. I bet my schools' faculty has earned far more awards then your faculty has. I bet my school has sent more kids to ivys then your's. (unless you go to exeter or andover, but I highly doubt that). In 4 years, 114 kids have went to Ivys. Can you match that? Commuist? If that was so, why does the nation's leading education services constantly award presitgious recognizition to teachers at my school? Why does the name, when brought up thousands of miles away, instantly command respect from the educated?

Why is my school in the top 10 high schools in the nation?

If you're going to insult my on my education, you should know at least a bit about it.

Just to poke more holes in your arugment, there are lot of right-wing moderates teaching with disctintion at my campus. So thus, under your logic, right-wingers are communists?

Go Here If You Think I'm Lying

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secretly financing, arming and training men who participate in, 'For instance, raping, sodomising, torturing and murdering a series of innocent and harmless 6-year-old girls.'

now do you think that would be good or bad? If some people think it would be good, does that mean that it is sometimes good, always good, or always bad?

As I have explained to you countless times, the fact was that America was at war, the Cold War, and had to back some questionable people in order to oppose even more questionable people.

So, a more accurate question would be: is it good to finance and support a group of men who you have reason to believe would rape and murder five little girls in order to prevent another group of men raping and murdering fifty little girls?

America did win the Cold War. If America had not indulged in all those proxy wars, maybe it would not have won the Cold War and we could all live in the workers' paradise of Soviet Communism. As it is, we don't, and even the former Eastern Bloc countries now have a chance at freedom.

Maybe Northern Europe, but definitely not the US.

That would be the Northern Europe such as:

Holland, where 20,000 people have been euthanised without their consent?

Sweden, where crematoria are harnessed for electrical power and your last act on Earth will be knocking a few bucks off the funeral home's hydro bill?

Germany, where you can buy borderline snuff movies but not a copy of Doom, the videogame?

Oh yes, and "all Western companies" are guilty of killing the innocent, are they?

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I bet my school is better then your's. I bet my schools' faculty has earned far more awards then your faculty has. I bet my school has sent more kids to ivys then your's. (unless you go to exeter or andover, but I highly doubt that). In 4 years, 114 kids have went to Ivys. Can you match that?

:lol: You're a riot. Sure, Nova, and my dad can beat up your dad. Whatever. (Oh, and incidently, the word "yours" is not written with an apostrophe ie. "your's".)

Anyway, yes, I'm saying humans are not animals. That's exactly what I'm saying. Whether we share 1% or 99% of our genetic makeup with starfish is irrelevent. Human beings are not starfish. If you think you are as primitive and guileless as any living thing on earth because you share a percentage of genetic material with them, you're ridiculous. Do you think groups of animals get together and debate whether they should or shouldn't attack another animal? Whether killing is right? Do you think naturally omnivorous animals sit around and wonder if they should eat a strictly vegetarian diet based on moral grounds?

Furthermore, I'm not about to get too into this topic since it's been beaten to death elsewhere before you got here but I'd bet my left arm you're pro-choice and we share 100% of our genetic makeup with unborn babies.

You're a nut.

Oh and by the way, I know your education is top notch and all but they've been sloppy with teaching you the basics, my friend:

Humans are animals by definition. Unless you'd like to say that language is wrong, and humans are some sort of insect or different classification.

hu·man ( P ) Pronunciation Key (hymn)

n.

A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.

A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.

adj.

Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans: the course of human events; the human race.

Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.

Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with humans: a mistake that shows he's only human; human frailty.

Having the form of a human.

Made up of humans: formed a human bridge across the ice.

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Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.

oh come on ronda, that means being unique within a broader group. the words "from other" should tip you off humans are classified within the animal kingdom.

we share 100%  of our genetic makeup with unborn babies

yeah well we share ~97%of our DNA with chimps, so should chimps get 97% the rights of humans?

HUGO;

is it good to finance and support a group of men who you have reason to believe would rape and murder five little girls in order to prevent another group of men raping and murdering fifty little girls?

whoa man, stop pretending anybody cared about little girls.

the question should be stated: how bad is it to support and train horrible men without questioning the impact in order to kill other horrible men who you oppose in a struggle for power.

in some cases you could make an argument for it, and in some cases you couldnt. most of the time there is no "moral" or ethical answer. especially when you consider the additional innocents who ALWAYS suffer in silence.

there was no morality involved, just power, and both sides were willing to kill to get it. some people just kill more covertly then others, thats all. some do it in suits some in uniforms.

If America had not indulged in all those proxy wars, maybe it would not have won the Cold War and we could all live in the workers' paradise of Soviet Communism. As it is, we don't, and even the former Eastern Bloc countries now have a chance at freedom.

thats really justifying the ends by the means.

i'm sure we could grind up babies to make an alternate energy source, but there are somethings that can never be justified.

this boogy man talk about communism is unrelenting.

humans went through slavery, the dark ages, the holocaust, WWII, the cold war, and so on and so on. communism isnt going to end humanity, it ist this evil force that people make it out to be. its just oppression like any other that came and went. the world wont end if we all call each other comrade. its not the universal incarnate of evil.

Holland, where 20,000 people have been euthanised without their consent?

uh, were these little kids dragged away and shot in the head like Nazi germany? because european nations have a much different outlook on life, and much life myself, find that ther are plenty of cases for mercy made by family and doctors and society. post the entire report of this mass murder for us. if i'm in a vegatative state, pull the damn plug.

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I saw the movie The Pianist yesterday. I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone. It graphically showed how unbelievably horrible the Holocaust was. Made me sick to my stomach.

Now ask again how we determine which morals are correct?

Many Nazis could not even be considered human......calling them animals would be a compliment.

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yes, I'm saying humans are not animals. That's exactly what I'm saying. Whether we share 1% or 99% of our genetic makeup with starfish is irrelevent.

Then what are we? So we did not evolve from the same thing everyone else did? Even though we share 99.9% of our DNA with Chimps, we are not animals and they are animals? It is relevant. in the grand scheme of genetics, we are animals, actually, we are simply products of billions of chemical reactions.

Did you fail biology? Or simply reject the notions that have existed since the beginning of recorded history?

If you think you are as primitive and guileless as any living thing on earth because you share a percentage of genetic material with them, you're ridiculous.

If you think you're better because of .1% of ur DNA, then you're ridiculous. Primitive and guileless? So the langauge of dolphins and whales is primitive although it does the same thing as ours? Does the clans of apes that resemble our own count as primitive? How about the extremely complex hunting tactics of animals around the world, are they guileless?

Do you think groups of animals get together and debate whether they should or shouldn't attack another animal? Whether killing is right? Do you think naturally omnivorous animals sit around and wonder if they should eat a strictly vegetarian diet based on moral grounds?

Does it matter? Does it make ALL the difference that we have the most complex minds, that we are no longer animals? Killing is right? Ask the right-wing here, they seem to condone genocide without much thought, or any.

Furthermore, I'm not about to get too into this topic since it's been beaten to death elsewhere before you got here but I'd bet my left arm you're pro-choice and we share 100% of our genetic makeup with unborn babies

Actually, you're wrong. You share 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999% of your DNA with unborn babies.

You're a nut.

You're a nut if you think you're better then the rest.

So, we are not animals? We NEVER evolved from ANY animal species, ALL biology classification is wrong?

Definition in biological classification. Humans fit into Kingdom Animalia.

Science Lies, ALL LIES!!! LIES I TELL YOU!! LIES!!!!

Are you a creationist?

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Riff,

in some cases you could make an argument for it, and in some cases you couldnt. most of the time there is no "moral" or ethical answer. especially when you consider the additional innocents who ALWAYS suffer in silence.

Basically, the "rightfulness" of US indulgence in proxy wars and so forth depends simply upon whether or not you are a utilitarian. If so, then it's good, because it's better to back a bunch of men who you think would kill, say, 10 innocents, in order to stop another bunch of men you think would kill 100. 10 people had to die, but 90 who would otherwise have died, lived. This is the rationale by which the Cold War was fought, basically.

this boogy man talk about communism is unrelenting.

humans went through slavery, the dark ages, the holocaust, WWII, the cold war, and so on and so on. communism isnt going to end humanity, it ist this evil force that people make it out to be.

I beg to differ. I wonder how much you can truly know about Communism, and this also illustrates your blind anti-American bias since everything you complain about in the US can be laid a hundredfold at the door of the USSR.

For instance:

If you have not heard of the Great Terror, I invite you to read the book of the same name by Robert Conquest. To summarise, briefly and coldly, 20 million men, women and children, civilians and soldiers, were arrested and either executed or sent to slave labour camps (basically execution by malnutrition and fatigue over a 6-month-period). This is almost 350% of the casualties of the Holocaust.

While the Great Depression was bad in the West, and Russia did not seem to be affected, you should also note that perhaps 30 million Soviet citizens died in an avoidable famine caused solely by the ineptitude and stupidity of the Soviet government, a bare decade before the Depression. Of course, the Soviet government cooks the books like any good Communist would, but these figures have been arrived at by independent outside study.

You may criticise original American involvement in Afghanistan by proxy. You should also be aware that the Red Army was also there, directly, and indulged in torturing civilians and POWs, burning villages and mass executions.

This goes double for every other proxy war. While you moan about US involvement and atrocities committed with American-supplied weapons, know that the Soviets were doing it all a hundred times worse, not just to foreigners but to their own people. Any comparison of US conduct to Soviet in these wars would be of a car stereo thief to a serial rapist and murderer.

For an example of how callously Soviet leadership treated human life, visit the now-available archives of Soviet military doctrine. For instance, when Soviet forces planned to attack West Germany they would deliberately massacre civilians and burn towns and villages to create an exodus of refugees that would hamper the flow of NATO reinforcements to the front. Of course, when the Red Army found its way blocked by civilians it would simply mow them down, as it did in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. By now, Communist tank drivers have lots of practice in running over unarmed civilians.

If you decry racism in America, imagine Soviet society, where Jews were barred from any but the most menial of positions in civil or military life. While you're at it, remember that those cushier positions were reserved for Great Russians. Georgians, Lithuanians, Finns or Ingush need not apply, nor any others in the vast and highly multicultural USSR.

You could complain that you feel that religious feeling runs too high in America, but in the USSR possession of a religious symbol was grounds for imprisonment and to actually be a priest, grounds for execution. How does that strike your idea of religious freedom?

So, Riff, yes, the Soviet Union was an incarnate of evil as much as, if not more so than, Nazi Germany. Do you think the Nazis were not the potential end of the world and not as bad as everyone thought? After all, if you excuse Stalin, Hitler seems like a naughty schoolboy in comparison.

The world might not end if you have to call everyone 'Comrade', but your world would end when you got sent to the Gulag because an essay you wrote in 8th-grade didn't praise Lenin highly enough, or when you were executed because your grandfather picked the wrong side in the Civil War.

if i'm in a vegatative state, pull the damn plug.

How nice. Twenty thousand Dutch were not given the same choice, and most of them were not vegetative at the time. Killing someone without their consent is not mercy, it's murder.

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Basically, the "rightfulness" of US indulgence in proxy wars and so forth depends simply upon whether or not you are a utilitarian.

It also depends if you're the nun who is being knife-raped by U.S.-backed Contra guerrillas.

Is it just me, or is using the Stalinist "ends justify the means" ideal tio justify atrocities committed in the name of preventing atrocities seem a little...well, funny (albeit in a dark, dark way)?

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It also depends if you're the nun who is being knife-raped by U.S.- backed Contra guerrillas.

Sure, but make it personal and you lose all objectivity. No, it isn't nice being knife-raped by a Contra, but I don't imagine it's pleasant being ground to pulp beneath the treads of a T-72 either, or having your extremities and genitalia cut off by a spetznaz team.

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