Making torture and hate acceptable

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Even if the media in the United States speaks of torture as something recent, the truth is that it has been going on for a very long time. These type of barbaric interrogation techniques were widely used in the last century in regions like Latin America. The CIA and the United States trained and promoted torture and state-sponsored terrorism in places like the School of the Americas.

Torture is not only a part of my history, but the legacy of millions of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians who are gripped today by drug wars, violence and poverty.  Matters have got so bad in the underdeveloped world that people are ready to risk their lives to migrate and work for slave wages.

One has to connect the historical dots when looking at undocumented migrants and immigration in general. It’s the same story taking place over and over again: we colonize, enslave, pillage, support dictatorships; we reap the greatest profit by promoting poverty and underdevelopment in these regions.

If you devastate a country’s democratic institutions and make a mockery of human rights, how can you on top of it ask people to live in the destruction you created?

It is surprising, if not incredible, that politicians in Europe still stigmatize migrants and refugees as “welfare shoppers.” Apart from exposing their greed, these types of politicians are making a clear statement: You have no right to opportunity and a better life.

The George W. Bush era (2000-08) not only brought to light the ugly face of USAmerica when it comes to torture and meddling in other countries’ affairs, it has inspired some critics to claim that Hollywood is now condoning it.

I personally have not seen the movie but if one surfs the web, one will find arguments for and against it.

Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian cultural critic, wrote about Kathryn Bigelow’s film, Zero Dark Thirty,  on The Guardian:

”One doesn’t need to be a moralist, or naive about the urgencies of fighting terrorist attacks, to think that torturing a human being is in itself something so profoundly shattering that to depict it neutrally – ie to neutralise this shattering dimension – is already a kind of endorsement.”

Kuvankaappaus 2013-1-26 kello 8.30.39

Even Republican US Senator John McCain, a Vietnam POW who was tortured, has condemned the film.

”The story is torture does not work, it is hateful, it is harmful, incredibly harmful to the United States of America. And to somehow make people believe that it was responsible for the elimination of Osama Bin Laden is in my view unacceptable.”

In the same way some try to sell torture as acceptable is the same reasoning being used to convince us that social exclusion and exploitation of immigrants and visible minority group is fine.

Greedy businesses, and politicians at the service of the latter, reveal to us why matters will get worse before they improve.

Racism, prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion is all about defending the privilege of certain groups at the cost of others.

Undocumented immigrants are welcomed to Europe because it’s profitable in the short-term.

In the long-term, however, such contradictions and values will end up destroying us in the same way we destroyed other countries.

 

  1. Farang

    There are two aspects in torturing, which needs to be separated:

    1: Torturing someone to make him confess. That is absolutely unacceptable.

    2: Torturing someone who is already proven to be guilty, in order to get informaton from him for example of his accomplishes. That is acceptable, if there is 100% proof that this person is guilty of crime severe enough. I’ll open this up a bit:

    Let’s say a terrorist group makes a terrorist attack and kills 100 innocent people. One of the terrorists is captured from the scene and then he is tortured for getting information to capture rest of the terrorists.

    I can’t understand why anyone would object to that. If someone disapproves torture in that kind of situation, he is really a protector of criminals, terrorists, murderers, etc.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I can’t understand why anyone would object to that.

      Of course you can’t. Such understanding would take a healthy degree of empathy and an appreciation of fundamental human rights. You have neither.

      Much as you characterise others as protectors of criminals, terrorists, murderers, etc. your response on this matter characterises you as a candidate concentration camp guard. This pathology goes a long way to explaining your sustained support for fascist policies.

      In the real world evidence extracted by torture, even if reliable, is not admissible in court.

    • Mark

      Farag
      Your ethical reasoning on this issue is as fuzzy and basically corrupted as your usual ethical meanderings on immigration.

      Torture is unreliable, dehumanizes the person AND the institutions and state that uses it, undermines the ethical basis of the justice system, and provides huge momentum towards radicalisation of citizens.

      A state that tortures typically loses sight of when to stop – there is no way of knowing if the tortured person is innocent, telling everything they know, or even telling deliberate lies to waste resources and time.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –Let’s say a terrorist group makes a terrorist attack and kills 100 innocent people. One of the terrorists is captured from the scene and then he is tortured for getting information to capture rest of the terrorists. I can’t understand why anyone would object to that. If someone disapproves torture in that kind of situation, he is really a protector of criminals, terrorists, murderers, etc.

      Farang, your approval of the latter (ie torture) sums up pretty well your democratic credentials. You don’t object to torture because you have never been a victim of it.

      The legal bar has been lowered quite a lot in a state where people are tortured: forget human rights, due process of law, habeas corpus etc. Most likely you’d be living in a country where the rule of force would override that of justice.

      Why do you think we don’t torture inmates in Finland but this happens in other countries?

  2. Farang

    In the real world evidence extracted by torture, even if reliable, is not admissible in court.

    You are not following. I was not talking about evidence. I was talking about information that can be used to find the remaining terrorist.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      You are not following. I was not talking about evidence. I was talking about information that can be used to find the remaining terrorist.

      What is the specific difference between “evidence” and “information” in this context, Farang?

      Evidently you are unfamiliar with the Derivative Evidence Doctrine. Even where effective, your approach results in an untriable case, and without a triable case you have no grounds for presuming guilt. Therefore you never find your terrorist.

      Fortunately our legal system depends neither on your ignorance nor on your perverted intuitions concerning right and wrong, Farang.

  3. Farang

    A state that tortures typically loses sight of when to stop – there is no way of knowing if the tortured person is innocent, telling everything they know, or even telling deliberate lies to waste resources and time.

    You are not following either. I was saying the torture is acceptable to use to person who is already known 100 % guilty, eg. captured straight from the scene where he has been committing the attack.

    • Mark

      Guilt is established in a court of law, not by police officers or government officials, Farang.

      And all of the above would still apply in the situation you mention, such as deciding just how many accomplices, whether the person caught was actually involved, etc.

    • JusticeDemon

      Why bother with a trial when Farang knows that someone is 100 per cent guilty?

      And when the torture victim fingers you as an accomplice, Farang, there will be no need for a trial in your case either.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –You are not following either. I was saying the torture is acceptable to use to person who is already known 100 % guilty, eg. captured straight from the scene where he has been committing the attack.

      Torture is that slippery slope that will force you to do other terrible things like undermine basic civil rights based on human rights.

  4. Farang

    Mark

    Guilt is established in a court of law, not by police officers or government officials, Farang.

    And all of the above would still apply in the situation you mention,such as deciding just how many accomplices, whether the person caught was actually involved,etc.

    So when police capture the terrorist equipped with AK-47 at the scene where he has just shot 100 people to death, you really need a court decision to make up whether he’s guilty or not?

    To you terrorists wellbeing is more important than the safety of innocent people. That’s not really a news to me. In all you discussions here I can see the same. You are against all actions that would ensure safer environment for innocent people.

    • Mark

      Yes. I love how you add details to try to cover up the obvious inadequacies of the argument. But even in the case of an AK47, there is the possibility that an innocent person has taken the gun off a terrorist or picked it up. It is imperative that guilt is established by a court of law. That is a fundamental principle of our justice system, and it is not a principle that you mess around with.

      Once again, you want the police to assume the guilt of someone and to sidestep important checks and balances in social governance and even to justify barbaric behavior. You are a boy when it comes to understanding what provides modern societies with their stability and integrity.

  5. Farang

    What is the specific difference between “evidence” and “information” in this context, Farang?

    For a man of justice, you don’t seem to get it…

    1. evidence is something that proves something and is something that can be used in court

    2. information is something that can be used for example to find someone, even if the information itself has no use in court

    Clear enough?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      evidence is something that proves something

      The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. For thousands of years this was taken as evidence that the Sun goes round the Earth, but was it proof? I would refer you to the trial of Galileo Galilei in 1633 if I thought you could learn anything from it, Farang.

      and is something that can be used in court

      Courts apply rules of evidence to determine the assertions of fact that are admissible in proceedings. A good place to begin learning these rules is chapter 17 of the Procedural Code of Finland.

      information is something that can be used for example to find someone, even if the information itself has no use in court

      USAmerican lawyers use the colourful expression fruits of the poisonous tree to describe this approach, Farang. The probative value and legal admissibility of evidence depends crucially on the manner in which it is obtained. Information derived from unlawful conduct by public officials is inherently untrustworthy.

      The admissibility of evidence obtained from third parties through torture was an important factor when the Finnish Supreme Court denied leave to appeal to Francois Bazaramba in October. We shall see what ECtHR makes of this, but I would not be surprised if the case is reopened.

  6. Farang

    Why bother with a trial when Farang knows that someone is 100 per cent guilty?
    And when the torture victim fingers you as an accomplice, Farang, there will be no need for a trial in your case either.

    Now you are jumping to conclusions, or then you are trying to escape the feeling of being wrong.

    Whatever the torture victim says, can’t be used as evidence. But the information can be used to find the suspects who are hiding. When a suspect is found, normal procedures are taken in place to see if he is guilty or not.

    Is it really that hard?

    Let’s say A, B and C does an attack where they kill 100 people. A and B get away, but C is caught. Then C tells police where A and B are. (notice that at this point it is not assumed that C tells truth). Then police finds the persons. Then it is up to investigation to find out if the persons even actually are A and B.

    I don’t understand why you have so much problems understaning a case, where someone is caught in the act? Why can’t you accept that the guilt is then 100% sure?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      Whatever the torture victim says, can’t be used as evidence. But the information can be used to find the suspects who are hiding. When a suspect is found, normal procedures are taken in place to see if he is guilty or not.

      Under the Derivative Evidence Doctrine, the court will exclude not only the statement obtained by torture, but also everything that follows from it. The prosecution will have to explain how the accused was found, how further details were obtained and how charges were formulated without using the torture information. For example information obtained by torture may not be cited as conferring probable cause for apprehending any person or conducting any search.

      Mark has responded on the importance of the presumption of innocence in a free and democratic society. He is right. Your suggestion betrays the mentality of the lynch mob, Farang.

  7. Farang

    Mark

    Yes. I love how you add details to try to cover up the obvious inadequacies of the argument.

    I have to add more details, because you try to twist all trivial cases to something it isn’t.

    If I say that I talk about a case where guilt is 100 % known, then I mean a case where guilt is 100 % known. It means I am not talking about a case where guilt is less than 100 % know. So why do you need to start giving examples of those cases which I am not talking about?

    If I ask you if you like blue cars, you could just answer yes or no. You don’t have to start talking about blue cars with red stripes. The only reason why you start twisting is that you can’t honestly give your opinion to the original case, because it would reveal that you actually agree with me.

    So I ask you: If you know for 100% sure that person A is a murderer and he has information that would save life of innocent people, would you consider it acceptable to use torturing to get that information?

    Just answer yes or no. You don’t need to say anything like “but you can’t know for 100% sure”, because that is not the question I’m asking for.

    • Mark

      Farang

      YOU HAVE NO IDEA about the precepts of the justice system. Guilt is never 100% known in any sense until a court has proclaimed guilt, and even then it is still subject to doubt, an appeals process, and is still not perfect.

      The whole moral premise you offer rests on a certainty that does not exist in the world. The justice system is instead subject to a long legal process that is supposed to ensure fairness, balance and a high degree of civility. What you suggest is that investigators are given draconian powers that would completely turn that system on its head so that investigators can be judge and jury and impose the most inhumane sentence mankind has ever devised.

  8. Farang

    JD

    Under the Derivative Evidence Doctrine, the court will exclude not only the statement obtained by torture, but also everything that follows from it. The prosecution will have to explain how the accused was found, how further details were obtained and the how charges were formulated without using the torture information. For example information obtained by torture may not be cited as conferring probable cause for apprehending any person or conducting any search.

    You are wrong here. If someTHING (meaning evidence) is found based on information got from torture, it may be excluded. But if someONE is found based on this, and when apprehended police sees that the person matches to surveillance camera photo etc, there is no objection for arrest.

    And even the exclusion of evidence depends on legistlation. For example here in Finland all evidence can be used, even if they have been obtained illegally. That’s a difference between Finland and USA.

    Let’s say a policeman illegally finds evidence A. Evidence A can still be used and the policeman’s illegal actions are prosecuted as a separate case.

    That’s why Finnish justicesystem is better than in USA. It is absurd and in USA a murderer can be set free because of a technicality, even if there is 100 % proof of his guilt.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      The principle of judicial discretion in admitting evidence is stipulated in section 2 of chapter 17 of the Procedural Code of Finland. This is not a particularly strong principle. There is always and inevitably an element of judicial discretion in admitting evidence, both in English and Continental legal systems, and there are no compelling reasons to suppose that merely stating this fact explicitly makes any material difference. The effects of the Derivative Evidence Doctrine are similar irrespective of the legal system, and ultimately the question of fair trial in both systems is a matter for ECtHR.

      The record of Finland in Article 6 proceedings at ECtHR suggests that your admiration for the Finnish system is misplaced. Anyway, we shall see what ECtHR now makes of the judicial discretion that was exercised in admitting the evidence used to convict Francois Bazaramba.

    • JusticeDemon

      I should add here that like all other forms of official discretion, judicial discretion in admitting evidence can never be entirely unfettered. The requirements of objectivity, proportionality and conformity to purpose must be satisfied at least to the extent that discretion is exercised impartially, harmoniously and in a manner that serves the needs of justice.

      This means that types of evidence cannot be arbitrarily admissible in some cases but not in others and that the permitted degree of turpitude in relation to evidence may not outweigh that of the offence under trial.

      Admitting evidence obtained illegally constitutes a judicial blessing for unlawful conduct by servants of the State, and therefore to a breakdown of the rule of law. This leads to a serious moral contradiction, as it must always be at least theoretically possible to enact the principles governing any exercise of judicial discretion into statute. The Derivative Evidence Doctrine represents the strong view that the court cannot apply principles that contradict the rule of law.

  9. Farang

    Mark

    YOU HAVE NO IDEA about the precepts of the justice system. Guilt is never 100% known in any sense until a court has proclaimed guilt, and even then it is still subject to doubt, an appeals process, and is still not perfect.

    You are confusing “guilt” and “guilt on paper”, maybe on purpose?

    Let’s say, you punch me in the nose in front of a police man. Then me, you and that policeman know for 100% sure that you are guilty. After trial you are also officially guilty. Can you see a difference here? We don’t need a court to know if someone is guilty or not. We need court in order to give conviction to the guilty person and set free persons who are not guilty.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Your example is childishly inadequate and misses an absolutely essential principle – justice is exacted by social institutions, not by an individual operating outside those institutions.

      In your example, it may be that you punched first but that this was not seen by the policeman, or even that the aggression was a known but rare side-effect of medication, which significantly mitigates guilt.

      Only a court of law has the possibility, neutrality and resources to discover the full circumstances of an alleged crime. Likewise, it is not enough that justice was done, it must also be seen to be done.

      Your ridiculous suggestion of 100% knowledge of guilt is an attempt to bring moral certainty to a topic that most accept does not involve moral certainty. If a bomber was caught and a bomb was about to go off killing a great many people, then that man’s suffering is usually weighed against the potential loss of life, where the utilitarian argument would be to use any means to reduce the greatest suffering. But this ‘ticking time bomb’ scenario has never been satisfactory to philosophers or judicial minds, though lazy politicians have of course been known to defend this approach. No surprise there.

      The use of torture is fundamentally wrong because it is an escalation of inhumanity. You seem to think that morality is whatever it takes to win a war. You have already lost your morality if this is the case.

  10. Farang

    Mark,

    As you still refused to answer the simple question, I will add more details (which you love), because that seems to be the only way to make you understand.

    Example:
    Mike and Peter commits a terrorist attack and kills 100 people. They do it in front of hundreds of people and policemen. So there is no doubt that they were the ones who did it. Mike runs away, but Peter is caught.

    Now a question: Do you agree that it is 100% sure that Mike is guilty?

    • Mark

      Farang

      You didn’t ask a question that I noticed.

      What you don’t seem to notice is that you are giving a narrative of the events, and in the process creating what’s known as an omniscient narrator, a person who tells the story in a way that they can state the absolute facts of the story. In real life, this is simply never possible. In real life, narrators can only speak about truth based on the facts in their possession and there is no way of knowing if we have all the relevant facts. At the very least, this means that truth statements and important consequences that follow from those are subjected to a process of scrutiny involving several individuals and applying processes and strategies aimed at getting at the facts.

      In this case, one of the ‘terrorists’ might have been blackmailed, with the threat of death to loved ones if he didn’t take part, he might have been told lies to get him to comply, he might have been brainwashed, each of which mitigates the narrative in ways that affect how we perceive guilt. A court is an opportunity where as many facts that might be relevant to a case can be heard. All circumstances can be assumed to have potentialities that can significantly affect how we understand the narrative.

      So, stop approaching life like it’s a story in a book and that things are the way they are just because you, the omniscient narrator, says it is so! In the real world, sensible people understand that things are not always as they appear.

  11. Farang

    JusticeDemon

    The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. For thousands of years this was taken as evidence that the Sun goes round the Earth, but was it proof? I would refer you to the trial of Galileo Galilei in 1633 if I thought you could learn anything from it, Farang.

    Why do you have to be like Mark and twist things? The question here was what is the difference between evidence and information.

    Even if my description about evidence is not clear enough, I made it perfectly clear what the difference was. So why can’t you accept it?

    Your question was not for me to describe evidence as clearly as possible, it was only to make a difference between evidence and information.

    Evidence being something that can be presented in court and information being something that can be used to find something etc. Main difference is that the information as such is not something that is presented in court as evidence.

    So why can’t you just proceed with the discussion and not twist with details which have no value in this discussion?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      Give us an example of “evidence” that is not “information”.

  12. Farang

    JD

    Give us an example of “evidence” that is not “information”.

    Evidence is a subset of information. Meaning all evidence is information, but not all information is evidence.

    This is clear to you since you are not stupid, so why do you keep on going with this? Why don’t you want to proceed?

    By torture we can get informatio that is helpful, even if that information can’t be used in court as evidence as such.

    Like the bomb example Mark said. With torture we can get information to stop the bombs exploding, even while that information can’t be used in court against the person who was tortured. Getting information by torturing is not directly related to evidence, it can be used in other purposes.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You don’t seem to grasp the fundamental problem. The utilitarian argument would only have merit if the premise that we ‘can’ get information is correct. This premise is notoriously unreliable. Some people might give misinformation in addition to truthful information, some people might not have information to give (terror cells are almost always constructed on a ‘need to know basis’), and some people might have been deliberately told incorrect information. All of these possibilities hold true in the real world of torture.

      The moral corruption necessary to carry out torture is like a cancer that spreads through state institutions, which completely undermines the utilitarian argument about the ‘greatest good’. Additionally, stories of torture are like gold to extremist recruiters, thus prolonging and escalatIndeed, consider the additional loss of civilian, American and alliance soldiers, and insurgents as a result of Guatanamo Bay and its flouting of the Geneva Conventions, meaning that jihadists around the world ing conflicts and indeed terror attacks. headed to conflict zones to exact revenge.

      If you had known the total loss of life following two largely failed wars following 9/11, would you have said bringing the 9/11 bombers to justice through ‘any means possible’ was worth it? In purely utilitarian terms, it was not.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      all evidence is information, but not all information is evidence.

      I’m not sure that I agree, but if you are right, then you should be able to give us an example of “information” that is not “evidence”. Can you?

      If that is too easy and you’d like to write an essay, then why don’t you try to explain the criteria that you think distinguish “evidence” from mere “information”?

  13. Farang

    I’m not sure that I agree, but if you are right, then you should be able to give us an example of “information” that is not “evidence”. Can you?

    Still don’t understand where you are getting at, but here you go:
    “Tom is in movie theater” That is information, but that is not evidence.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      “Tom is in movie theater” That is information, but that is not evidence.

      Whether you are trying to say where Tom is or what he does for a living, this is quite obviously evidence that could be germane to a very wide range of assertions. As a statement of whereabouts, it could form part of an alibi. As a statement of occupation, it could indicate possession of certain skills.

      You have not provided an example of “information” that is not “evidence”. Try again.

      Hint: evidence is always evidence “for” something. Information is not.

  14. Farang

    JD

    That discussion of evidence vs. information has nothing to do with this case, so why don’t you let it go?

    The point here was that torturing can be used to get helpful information, not to get information that can be used as evidence in court. So there is no point in arguing about the actual meaning of words “information” or “evidence”, it’s totally irrelevant in this discussion.

    • Mark

      Farang

      And murder can be a helpful way to reduce the number of unemployed, no?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      That discussion of evidence vs. information has nothing to do with this case, so why don’t you let it go?

      Now Farang begins to kick and struggle, as he can see the noose of logic tightening around his neck. Heaven forbid that he might learn something.

      You introduced this distinction between information and evidence:

      1. evidence is something that proves something and is something that can be used in court

      2. information is something that can be used for example to find someone, even if the information itself has no use in court

      Clear enough?

      It is only clear that you are making a bogus distinction at this point, misrepresenting a difference of aspect as a difference of substance.

  15. Farang

    Farang

    And murder can be a helpful way to reduce the number of unemployed, no?

    So, you have no more counter arguments and you have to start throwing insanities?

    • Mark

      Farang

      So, you have no more counter arguments and you have to start throwing insanities?

      I’m glad you think it’s an insanity, because it’s exactly the same logical structure that you are applying to torture – “here is a problem: we need information; what method can we use to get it? Well, let’s start with the most immoral, illegal and evil one that we can think of! Yes, torture will do.

      And my example:

      here is a problem: we need fewer unemployed; what method can we use to get it? Well, let’s start with the most immoral, illegal and evil one that we can think of! Yes, murder will do.

      Your defence of torture appears like insanity to me. Now fancy that!

  16. Farang

    Mark

    Your defence of torture appears like insanity to me. Now fancy that!

    No. I only approve torture against people who don’t deserve human rights.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I only approve torture against people who don’t deserve human rights.

      That would be people who are not human. Extra-terrestrials and artificial intelligences, perhaps?

      In your case, Farang, I’m sure there is also some notion of Untermensch at work, but what is your scientific justification for classifying any person as subhuman? Go on – give us a laugh.

      I’m with Mark on the matter of your sanity in this respect.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No. I only approve torture against people who don’t deserve human rights.

      I guess this piece of text doesn’t ring a bell, then?

        PREAMBLE

      1. Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
      2. Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
      3. Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
      4. Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
      5. Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
      6. Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
      7. Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
      8. Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
      9. …..

      10. Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

      – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

    • JusticeDemon

      Mark

      The date of this document is important. It would never have existed if Farang’s side had won three years earlier.

      Damn those slackers at Norsk Hydro!

  17. Farang

    In your case, Farang, I’m sure there is also some notion of Untermensch at work, but what is your scientific justification for classifying any person as subhuman? Go on – give us a laugh.

    In my opinion a person, who willingly takes a life of an innocent person, doesn’t deserve human rights.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      In my opinion a person, who willingly takes a life of an innocent person, doesn’t deserve human rights.

      Not even a fair trial?

    • Mark

      Farang

      To me that is just a bullshit document.

      Human rights are bullshit?

  18. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Bullshit

    Farang

    Not even a fair trial?

    Ofcourse if trial is needed for determining whether or not he is guilty or not.

    But in cases where guilt is already 100% sure, meaning he is caught in the act, then no trial would be necessary.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      So the criterion for determining whether a trial is necessary is “whatever seems obvious to Farang”?

  19. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Bullshit

    Farang

    Human rights are bullshit?

    There are some good stuff in it too, but there are lot of bullshit, like demanding rights for criminals and stuff.

    That kind of humanism only causes harm to us good people.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      That kind of humanism only causes harm to us good people.

      I would love to hear what you advocate instead of humanism, Farang.

      Is it an objective fact that you are a good person, or merely your opinion?

      My own opinion is that you are an unreconstituted fascist and most certainly not good by any cogent ethical standard.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You are protecting law-abiding citizens better if you treat criminals in a civilised way. There is little chance of rehabilitation of an offender if they are treated like subhumans; you will breed further maladjustment and social and emotional dysfunction.

      The courts now impose financial penalties, community service or deprive a person of their liberty to come and go as they please and to be with their loved ones for varying lengths of time. These are the method that we have chosen, and when combined with proper measures to tackle social deprivation and inequalities, they have been far more effective than any penal system prior to the era of universal human rights.

      You also protect citizens better by not allowing the state to practice evil, for reasons that really should be obvious, but which sadly in your case are not. An institution that practices evil is quickly corrupted by that evil. Honesty and civility in state institutions mean they remain true to their purpose more often.

      The fact that you defend such evil practices is surprising given that you often condemn Muslim extremists for their lack of civilisation, not that you understand the politics of the disempowered in any way.

  20. Farang

    My own opinion is that you are an unreconstituted fascist and most certainly not good by any cogent ethical standard.

    Why? Because I want all people to be safe and be able to live good life? Because I want to get rid of bad people who hurt other people?

    So in your opinion a person who likes to protect innocent people and get rid of bad people, is a fascist? Nice.

    • JusticeDemon

      Answer the question, Farang. Is it an objective fact that you are a good person?

  21. Farang

    Answer the question, Farang. Is it an objective fact that you are a good person?

    Why do you ask stupid questions? It depends on who you ask from. You ask from fundamentalist muslim, then I am not a good person, because I am not a muslim.

    But if we stay on our western standards, then it’s the ultimate truth and fact that I am a good person.

    You only think I’m not good person, because you don’t like me. That makes you a person who doesn’t make fact based judgements.

    For example I disagree with you on most of things, but still I am not letting that affect on the judgment whether or not I think you are good person or not.

    I don’t know you, so I can’t possibly know if you are a good person. Based on what you write here, you atleast want to be good person. Also you can’t know if I’m good person or not, you can only take my word on it.

    Therefore it is stupid to ask that kind of question, because even if I answer yes, you still can’t know if I really am. Therefore no matter what the answer is, you don’t get any information out of it, therefore no point in asking.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      It depends on who you ask

      This concedes that there is no objective fact of the matter.

      But if we stay on our western standards, then it’s the ultimate truth and fact that I am a good person.

      There is breathtaking inconsistency in condemning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as Bullshit and then promptly appealing to “western standards”, given that every single country in the western world has signed that Universal Declaration as an expression and embodiment of its “standards”, and that nearly all of those countries have also made its provisions legally enforceable through CCPR, ICESR and other international human rights instruments.

      Anyway, you have not objectively justified your antecedent, so your claim to “ultimate truth and fact” still boils down to your decision to apply your version of those “western standards”.

      In other words, Farang, so far you are a “good person” merely because you say you are.

      As I indicated already, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reflects a postwar consensus that emerged after the collapse of a murderous political system created by people just like you, Farang. The architects of that system also considered themselves to be “good people” in much the same absolutist way that you do.

      In reacting against the laestadianism of your family and community, Farang, you have adopted many of its essential characteristics and much of its underlying philosophy. Your use of “good” and “bad” as substantive predicates in relation to moral agents (i.e. people) echoes the rigid division between believers and unbelievers that is a defining characteristic of laestadianism.

      Perhaps when you get a little older you will begin to appreciate that moral reality is a great deal more complex than you thought and that human character is more usefully understood as a curate’s egg.

  22. Mark

    JD

    In other words, Farang, so far you are a “good person” merely because you say you are.

    It occured to me recently that Farang is caught up in the power of the ‘omniscient narrator’. He loves stories because they give him the power to tell it ‘as it is’, while being completely oblivious to the fact that real story-tellers know full well their own limitations in ‘creating reality’. A great novelist is actually measured these days by their ability to go far beyond the simple and even childish device of the ‘omniscient narrator’.

  23. Farang

    JD

    There is breathtaking inconsistency in condemning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as Bullshit and then promptly appealing to “western standards”, given that every single country in the western world has signed that Universal Declaration as an expression and embodiment of its “standards”, and that nearly all of those countries have also made its provisions legally enforceable through CCPR, ICESR and other international human rights instruments.

    Couple of flaws there, so I’ll straighten you:

    1. Countries can’t sign anything. Those papers are signed by some person from those countries. By all mean it doesn’t mean that all people from those countries agree with those individuals who have signed.

    2. I don’t consider it a requirement for a good person to protect murderers and terrorists.

    In other words, Farang, so far you are a “good person” merely because you say you are.

    Fail of logic here aswell. I am not good person because I say so. Saying don’t make anyone good person. I am good person based on my actions.

    The tricky part here is that you can’t know that. You don’t know what I do and how I do it. Therefore you have only my word on me being a good person. And you can’t know if it is truth or not.

    That’s the whole point. There is absolutely no sense in you asking me whether or not I am a good person, because most you can get is my word and that is no value at all for you. That’s why it’s all futile of me telling whether or not I’m a good person.

    People who discuss on anonymous forums should keep this clearly in mind and therefore leave out of discussion the persons behind the text. Because that is all irrelevant. Only sensible thing we have is the debate, we can argue about the arguments and opinions and stuff. But there is never any point in arguing about the persons, because we don’t know them and it pays no role in the debate.

    Your use of “good” and “bad” as substantive predicates in relation to moral agents (i.e. people) echoes the rigid division between believers and unbelievers that is a defining characteristic of laestadianism.

    Making difference between good and bad has nothing to do with believing. Ofcourse some religious people might have biased views because they have outsourced their thinking to others.

    I’ll bet if we would list here some fundamental actions by people and then discuss which are good and which are bad, we would most propably agree on almost everyhing. Atleast if it’s kept on detailed enough level.

    Meaning, we can’t debate on whether “a person who has killed someone” is good or bad, because we don’t know the reasons and circumstances. That’s where we need details.

    For example “a man who killed other man so that he could steal his money” we both would consider that bad. But if there would have been one person on Utoya who had killed Breivik to stop him killing everyone, we both would agree that good.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      “Bullshit” or not, UDHR is far and away the most authoritative statement of “western standards” that exists today.

      Those papers are signed by some person from those countries. By all mean it doesn’t mean that all people from those countries agree with those individuals who have signed.

      So what is now left of your original appeal to a “standard”, western or otherwise, as grounds for the ultimate truth and fact that I am a good person?

      You wrote this:

      But if we stay on our western standards, then it’s the ultimate truth and fact that I am a good person.

      Now your alleged standard has evaporated, leaving you with the differing moral opinions of individuals. What you choose to call the “western standard” is merely the opinion of those individuals who happen to agree with you.

      This devalues your antecedent to the point where your argument becomes a trivial tautology: “If we accept the moral standards of people who agree with Farang, then Farang is a good person.” Substitute “Hitler” or “Vlad the Impaler” for “Farang” in that sentence and it’s still true.

      I am not good person because I say so. Saying don’t make anyone good person. I am good person based on my actions.

      At one level this is nothing more than an invitation to go round again. Who or what objectively evaluates your actions, Farang? By what standards?

      Making difference between good and bad has nothing to do with believing. Ofcourse some religious people might have biased views because they have outsourced their thinking to others.

      I called attention to the obvious and highly specific religious character of a world view that uses “good” and “bad” as substantive expressions qualifying individuals. You have presented a world view that distinguishes the “good person” from the “bad person” as if “goodness” and “badness” were defining characteristics of an individual in the same way as “male” and “female” or “married” and “unmarried”.

      This is a distinctively laestadian approach to moral value, and it remains so even without explicit theological and metaphysical underpinnings. It’s quite clear where you found your moral compass, Farang.

      I am good person based on my actions.

      There is another dimension to this observation, and we can expose it by asking whether you are capable of bad actions. Would one bad act make you a “bad person”, or would this require some repetition of your misconduct, or a pattern of misconduct amounting to a habit?

      Similarly is a “bad person” capable of good actions, and what good act or pattern of good behaviour would suffice to make that person into a “good person”?

      we can’t debate on whether “a person who has killed someone” is good or bad, because we don’t know the reasons and circumstances. That’s where we need details.

      Now this is moving towards situational ethics (and maybe even moral realism), but that will eventually require you to abandon the notion of “goodness” and “badness” as substantive characteristics of a moral agent. Are you ready to challenge your laestadianism, Farang?

    • Mark

      Farang

      I don’t consider it a requirement for a good person to protect murderers and terrorists.

      Except for the fact that is part of what makes us ‘good’ in the first place.

      People can commit murder for all sorts of reasons. The consequences are awful, but the idea that you can just close your eyes to the humanity that is involved is both dangerous and morally lethargic. Your basic idea is that ‘evil’ is without humanity, and so no humanity should be shown. You see this not only as a legitimate individual approach to life and obviously CRIME, but also as a legitimate foundation for state actions and policy.

      You give no thought for what that says about the person that dreams up that philosophy, a philosophy that cannot bring itself to accept let alone investigate the damaged humanity that lies behind most of the ‘evil’ in the world.

      You give no thought to the effect of a State carrying out this abandonment of human rights against societies ‘undesireables’ or for the moral consequences for the individuals that are commanded to operate as the inhumane henchman of that state. You don’t seem to realise that to torture and violate the human rights of criminals beyond the boundaries of denying liberty likewise makes a criminal of someone working for the state, even if it were ‘legal’. State sanctioned violence is not ring-fenced from moral consequences, Farang.

      One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Look at how a State like Syria is oppressing its people under the rubric that all resistence to the state, peaceful or otherwise, is a ‘terrorist’ plot, which in your view would justify torture and the complete abandonment of human rights. Indeed, it is ironic that since the US War on Terror, many of the world’s more authoritarian regimes have been oppressing the democratic aspirations of its people under the banner of a ‘war on terror’. That’s what happens when you approach a problem like political aspirations as a ‘good guy vs. the bad guy’ story. That might fit to your masculinist view of the world, but it is a disaster when it comes to state governance.

      Somehow, you are under the illusion that if you treat a section of society as deserving no rights, that you will have a strong state – the exact opposite is true. In fact, the state comes to rely ever more on the tools of fear, intimidation, torture, summary execution and oppression. Indeed, all the tools typically associated with the fascist state!

      Countries can’t sign anything. Those papers are signed by some person from those countries. By all mean it doesn’t mean that all people from those countries agree with those individuals who have signed.

      Countries can and do sign things. They make legally binding commitments, which the rest of the world holds them to. This is just plain reality, so why decieve yourself with sophistry?

      Likewise, in the case of Finland, though this may be a disappointment to you, those commitments were signed by legally elected officials who are REPRESENTATIVES of the people, in a legal sense, meaning ‘recognised as having authority’. The fact that you do not recognise the authority of even basic democratic structures within Finland is typical of a fascist, who only recognises their own moral authority and political ideology as being valid in ANY sense.

      That is why it is a sickness and not a legitimate political philosophy. You have no standards and the sick mentality that has you saying that the Declaration of Human Rights is bullshit and that torture of ‘criminals and terrorists’ even before they have reached a court room is a perfectly legitimate activity of the state shows that you have the same kind of mentality. And it wouldn’t get any healthier if you were ever to exercise those political and moral ambitions to shape Finnish society. It would get worse, significantly worse. Because there would be a backlash – and if the state starts to exercise that kind of violence against its citizens, then a violent revolt against the state is inevitably going to arise. Now your list of ‘terrorists’ suddenly grew a thousand-fold!

      I recommend you read the German social pscyhologist Erich Fromm to get a better idea of the psychological malaise behind fascism, as he experienced it first hand and wrote about it extensively. But I guess you will dismiss him as a humanist, which he was.

    • Mark

      Farang

      I don’t consider it a requirement for a good person to protect murderers and terrorists.

      I come back to this again, because it’s really at the heart of your sickness Farang. It’s an interesting word you use – ‘protect’. Why would a prisoner need ‘protection’? If a person seeks to torture another person, it is the consensus in the West that this is an evil, and so if the state carried this out, then indeed, any citizen would need to be ‘protected’ from the evil. If someone is evil, you don’t say, okay, go practice your evil in the corner and then its okay.

      But you imply something else, too, I’m sure. You suggest that we are somehow ‘for’ the criminals, defending them, their immorality and crimes. You do this as a way to reject our criticism of the evil that you contemplate doing, i.e. torture.

      I think criminals do need defending against a person like you. Not because I consider what they have done as right, but because what you contemplate doing to them is wrong, and ANY victim of your evil should be protected.

      It is not a good thing to say, “okay Farang, you can indulge your evil desire to commit torture, but hey, just focus on the baddies, so that I can sleep at night.” You’ve been watching too much Dexter, me thinks!

      And defending a criminal from your evil doesn’t mean that the criminal does not face justice.

      By the way, I’m not naive about this, Farang. A state must practice some degree of ‘evil’, in order to provide security and to have some kind of deterrent against crime. However, if liberty is the greatest prize of a state at peace with its citizens, then denial of that liberty is the fairest and strongest punishment allowed! Anything that pushes beyond that moral balance and moral contract begins to corrupt the state and its citizens.

  24. Farang

    Likewise, in the case of Finland, though this may be a disappointment to you, those commitments were signed by legally elected officials who are REPRESENTATIVES of the people, in a legal sense, meaning ‘recognised as having authority’.

    No, they represent only part of the people, basically those who voted for them. That is called democracy. Rest of the people just have to obey what the elite decides.

    Like current government in Finland, they don’t represent me.

    And when we add up corruption, it become more interesting and we can see that actually the goverment only represents minority of the people. And that is discrace to democracy.

    So, there you go. That is enough proof that there is no unified “country” which signs anything, just a group of individuals.

    • Mark

      Farang

      No, they represent only part of the people, basically those who voted for them. That is called democracy. Rest of the people just have to obey what the elite decides.

      If this was true, then the other ‘part of the people’ could likewise sign international treaties, no? So why don’t they? Why don’t you get a bunch of your mates and go down to the UN and rewrite your own Declaration of Human Rights and tell them that you are signing this new document on behalf of Finland? Tell me how it goes!

      Corruption and elites? Ah, you have been suckling at the fascist teet, haven’t you!

      That is enough proof that there is no unified “country” which signs anything, just a group of individuals.

      You are living in cloud cuckoo land, Farang.

  25. Farang

    Here’s one fundamental corner stone of my moral:

    A person who willingly takes a life of an innocent person should not be allowed to live free in society ever again.

    Anyone who thinks differently is actually an enemy of innocent people. And it is easy to prove that his kind of people are mentally weak and they can’t even be consistent with their own thinking. Here’s an example:

    Many people thinks that the justice system in Finland is good and it is ok that a person who kills someone spends some time in jail and then is set free. But still these same people would not allow Breivik to be free ever again. This shows that they let their inner feelings take over and they forget the sensible thinking totally.

    If I ask you if Breivik should some day be set free, what do you answer?

    • Mark

      Farang

      A person who willingly takes a life of an innocent person should not be allowed to live free in society ever again.

      I find your use of the word ‘innocent person’ rather disturbing. And who gets to decide innocence and what constitutes guilt? I guess you are saying it’s okay to murder child molestors and rapists? How about a wife beater? What about someone that pushes another person over when they are drunk and that person’s head smashes on the pavement and with fatal results? Life in jail for a push?

      By the way, you have not stated any morality with this statement, only your notion of punishment for crimes. That’s not morality. Morality sets out what is considered right and wrong in terms of actions and conscience.

      Anyone who thinks differently is actually an enemy of innocent people.

      And you would you suggest we do to these ‘enemies of innocent people’, these people who dare to suggest forgiveness is possible?

      I have no idea if Breivik should be free. The key thing is whether he is considered a danger to society, and on that, I am not qualified to speak. If he was to renounce his extremist ideology and work for tolerance, then it’s clear that some good could come from his reintegration into society. But one suspects that the scale of his carnage might be an obstacle to truly facing the full emotional and moral consequences of his actions.

      It is interesting how you have to latch onto the most extreme examples in order to defend your morality. The question is how do you deal with people who are acting with diminished responsibility, recklessness, carelessness, or even simply stupidity? A morality that says take a life get a life sounds like something out of the middle ages. Indeed, it predates Christian morality, which certainly took this topic forward in introducting the notion of forgiveness, compassion, penance and ultimately reconciliation. No doubt you scoff at that stuff and imagine yourself to be far in advance of that kind of ‘naive’ morality, no?

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      Here’s one fundamental corner stone of my moral:

      A person who willingly takes a life of an innocent person should not be allowed to live free in society ever again.

      Anyone who thinks differently is actually an enemy of innocent people.

      You are obviously ready for Joseph Fletcher’s examples. Here are two:

      1. You are sitting in an overcrowded lifeboat in icy waters. There is a rescue ship steaming towards you, but it is still two hours away. The lifeboat is taking on a little more water with each wave, and you are convinced that it will probably sink in less than an hour unless you can lighten the load. If the lifeboat sinks, then everybody on board will certainly be dead from drowning and/or hypothermia long before the rescue ship arrives. The other passengers are too weak and exhausted to assist you. You are the only person on the boat with the physical strength to save everyone remaining on board by heaving some innocent passengers into the sea.

      The choice to act or do nothing is entirely yours. You may choose to uphold your “moral cornerstone” by doing nothing in the hope that the lifeboat will not sink before the rescue ship arrives. However, should you be allowed to live in a free society if you choose instead to act by killing some innocent passengers in order to save the rest, rather than trusting to luck that the lifeboat will remain afloat? Would killing those passengers make you an enemy of innocent people?

      Does it matter whether anyone finds out that you killed some innocent passengers?

      2. You are hiding from the secret police force of a fascist regime that has launched a programme to cleanse the world of the Finnish untermensch. Like everyone in your family, you already have a blue Helena Eronen cross tattooed on your forehead marking you out for summary extermination. The police are searching the house as you hide with your children in a secret attic room. Suddenly your three month-old baby begins to cry.

      The choice to act or do nothing is entirely yours. You may choose to do nothing in order to uphold your “moral cornerstone”. Perhaps the secret police will not hear the baby. Should you be allowed to live in a free society if you strangle the baby in order to save your own life and the lives of your other children, rather than taking the risk that your entire family will be discovered and liquidated, together with the people who have allowed you to hide in their house? Would strangling the baby make you an enemy of innocent people?

      Does it matter whether anyone finds out about your infanticide?

      I would present you with some trolley problems, but going by past experience I now expect you to try your very hardest to avoid facing the basic dilemma that arises for strictly rule-governed ethical systems in the foregoing examples. We can move on to trolley problems when you have demonstrated your ability to reduce a question to its abstract essentials.

  26. Farang

    I find our use of the word ‘innocent person’ rather disturbing. And who gets to decide innocence and what constitutes guilt?

    By innocent people I simply mean a case, where for example Person A kills someone he doesn’t even know, just to rob his money.

    And as opposite if Person A kills someone who has killed his daughter, then this other person is not innocent.

  27. Farang

    Mark

    I guess you are saying it’s okay to murder child molestors and rapists? How about a wife beater? What about someone that pushes another person over when they are drunk and that person’s head smashes on the pavement and dead? Life in jail for a push?

    What is your problem? I very clearly said “person who willingly takes life”.

    Now, why do you give examples which clearly don’t fit in to my statement and ask questions a
    bout it? They have nothing to do with my statement.

    • Mark

      Farang

      What is your problem? I very clearly said “person who willingly takes life”.

      The problem is of your own creation. A desire to find some kind of scapegoat over whom you can dispense justice in a morally absolute way, as if that was how the world just ‘worked’. And yet it clearly isn’t.

      So, all a murderer has to do in a Farang society is claim that they didn’t kill willingly and you will show them what, leniency? Ten years instead of life?

      Your notion of ‘willingness’ is impossible to prove. I guess it then goes to a jury, meaning that the moral foundation is subjective and inconsistent at best and may depend on the lying skills or lack thereof of any defendent.

      Oh how you have wandered far and wide from this original conversation, and all the while dodged the real moral questions, and especially dodged the two key points in this discussion. Namely, how you can possible justify torture of anybody. You have not answered the problem of how we protect people, criminals or otherwise, from your stated desire to torture them for information, which they may or may not have and which you will never be completely certain that you have extracted, and all this long before they’ve ever reached a courtroom, which you clearly see as a time-wasting inconvenience.

      And then the second point, which just adds icing to the cake: The cornerstone of Western society and free and democratic nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which you first think are not ‘universal’, and in the second breath are dismissed as bullshit and in the third breath, all commitments to such international documents by Finland do not count because they were signed by politicians who only represent themselves, though clearly if you were ever to become a politician, you would be quite happy to think would allow you to legitimately scrap Finland’s allegiance to.

      You follow this moral and ethical carnage up by accusing us of being the enemies of innocence and defenders of murderers for even considering that there might just be a small problem in allowing you to torture suspected criminals or for defending the ‘universal’ underpinning of human rights.

      And as opposite if Person A kills someone who has killed his daughter, then this other person is not innocent.

      And this is exactly why I thought your statement was disturbing. You have no problem with people taking the law into their own hands – mob rule. And what if a person just suspects someone was involved in a murder, that’s okay? I mean, you are quite happy to torture people who are only ‘suspects’, so why should other people wait for the courts to do their thing?

      Your notion of justice depends on some kind of ‘ultimate evil’ existing in people, which condemns them and allows you the excuse to dismiss their rights, meaning torture them, murder them and generally abuse them in any way you like. You have said NOTHING about how this evil intention in you is to be reconciled with YOUR innocence, or the evil and corruption that you would happily demand that the Finnish state should practice.

      You simply avoid the difficult questions. But don’t deceive yourself into thinking that people don’t notice, Farang, because they do.

  28. Farang

    The choice to act or do nothing is entirely yours. You may choose to uphold your “moral cornerstone” by doing nothing in the hope that the lifeboat will not sink before the rescue ship arrives. However, should you be allowed to live in a free society if you choose instead to act by killing some innocent passengers in order to save the rest, rather than trusting to luck that the lifeboat will remain afloat? Would killing those passengers make you an enemy of innocent people?

    Throwing them out from the lifeboat is not “willingly taking their life”. This problem can be seen from other angle: I can choose who to rescue, not other way around. It’s the accident and icy water that kills the rest.

    2. You are hiding from the secret police force of a fascist regime that has launched a programme to cleanse the world of the Finnish untermensch. Like everyone in your family, you already have a blue Helena Eronen cross tattooed on your forehead marking you out for summary extermination. The police are searching the house as you hide with your children in a secret attic room. Suddenly your three month-old baby begins to cry.

    This is simple. Only a sick person would strangle a baby.

    Your examples here prove that you have no real argument against my point. Therefore you have to seek for this kind of extremely rare cases so that you could find something to be against at.

    Normal intelligent person understands the difference between murdering someone in order to get his money and throwing someone overboard in order to save lives. It’s very disturbing that in your books the cases aree equivalent. Tells pretty much of your moral.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I expected you to try to evade the moral dilemma by refusing to face the problem, and you did not disappoint.

      Problem 1:

      Throwing them out from the lifeboat is not “willingly taking their life”. This problem can be seen from other angle: I can choose who to rescue, not other way around. It’s the accident and icy water that kills the rest.

      a) You can decide to act or to wait until it is too late to act. Your act will be voluntary (“willing”) in every sense, requiring your decision and your muscular implementation. Please note that an action need be neither pleasant nor easy in order to occur “willingly”. All that is required is that the action occurs if you choose to act and does not occur if you choose not to act. By throwing a person out of a lifeboat in icy seas you are taking their life. The action is not an involuntary muscle spasm, but a deliberate action resulting from a conscious and informed choice.

      b) The passengers are morally equivalent innocent strangers. It does not and cannot matter in any way which you choose.

      c) Circumstances cannot bear the moral responsibility for your choices and your actions. You make those choices and perform those actions in particular circumstances, and the moral evaluation then follows.

      Problem 2:

      This is simple. Only a sick person would strangle a baby.

      This is an ambiguous response to the question, which is whether you should be allowed to live in a free society if you strangle the baby under these circumstances.

      Please also note that the “sick” person saves his own life and that of his other children and of the people who helped them hide. A person who is not “sick” in this way brings about the death of everyone, including the baby. This already suggests that the “sick” person is morally superior.

      This version of the Fletcher problem was specifically designed to get under your laestadian skin, Farang. This is why you are trying to avoid giving a straight answer.

      you have to seek for this kind of extremely rare cases

      You stipulated a principle as a moral cornerstone. As such it should be adequate for all possible cases. If not, then you will either have to admit that some circumstances are fundamentally morally intractable or accept that there is a more fundamental moral standard than your “cornerstone”.

      Counting thirteen to the dozen is a useful principle for bakers, but not for pharmacists and certainly not for engineers and mathematicians. Either you accept that your principle is no more than a useful approximation (a “rule of thumb”, if you like) or you explain how its universal application can never ultimately lead to bad consequences.

      Catholics have a way out of this dilemma, but I’m not sure that you have.

      Normal intelligent person understands the difference between murdering someone in order to get his money and throwing someone overboard in order to save lives.

      What if the motivation for killing someone in order to get their money is to use the money to save many more lives? Is this not the situation when Robin Hood kills the King’s tax collector so that the peasants may keep their grain for the winter? This is one of the key morality tales of the western civilisation that you admire so much, Farang. The essential goodness of Robin Hood is a key component in the psyche of “normal intelligent people” throughout the western world.

  29. Farang

    Your notion of ‘willingness’ is impossible to prove. I guess it then goes to a jury, meaning that the moral foundation is subjective and inconsistent at best and may depend on the lying skills or lack thereof of any defendent.

    Why is it impossible to prove?

    • Mark

      Farang

      Why is it impossible to prove?

      Well why don’t you think about that for a while. How would you go about proving that someone did something willingly, assuming that they state in their defence that they did not do it willingly, but was told to by angels, or the devil, or the gnome in the neighbours garden. How can you prove they were ‘willing’ participants?

  30. Farang

    What if the motivation for killing someone in order to get their money is to use the money to save many more lives?

    Still unacceptable. The victim has nothing to do with the situation like in that stupid sea-example, where the victims were in the situation because of the accident.

    You just try to twist this, because you don’t want to admit that my suggestion is good. You try to find exceptions.

    It still interesting what you do. You try to disapprove my idea based on the rare execptions, which is exactly what some anti-immigration people does. They use the execptions to blame the whole group. Because some immigrants causes problems, they want to keep all immigrants out. You are doing exactly same thing. You try to find some exception and use that exception to dismiss whole idea. You are a hypocrite who uses same actions on your own behalf, which you condemn if someone else uses for something else. Shame on you.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      The victim has nothing to do with the situation like in that stupid sea-example, where the victims were in the situation because of the accident.

      After you have thrown some innocent passengers into the sea the rescue ship arrives and the survivors are saved. The children of one of the dead then bring a civil prosecution seeking damages from you for wilfully causing the death of their parent. You do not deny that you threw their father into the sea, but you claim that “the accident” caused the death. The children then point out that you were also a victim of the same “accident”, but you are still alive. Moreover one reason why you are still alive is that you killed their father.

      Now remember what you said was your moral cornerstone:

      A person who willingly takes a life of an innocent person should not be allowed to live free in society ever again.

      Anyone who thinks differently is actually an enemy of innocent people.

      You are obviously condemned by your own moral cornerstone, but equally obviously this condemnation is not deserved. It follows that there is some higher moral authority than your moral cornerstone.

      Your response to this example is instructive. It resembles the response of Intel in June 1994 on discovering the Pentium FDIV bug.

      Quite simply, your moral principle generates errors of deontic logic. It generates an outcome of “good” when everybody dies and an outcome of “bad” when some people survive. There is no point bleating about how unusual the case scenario is. That merely resembles the initial reaction from Intel that the error would have little practical impact.

      The mere fact that we can detect these errors already shows that a more reliable deontic calculator exists. It is called conscience. To explore the limits and shortcomings of conscience, we must move on to trolley problems.

  31. Farang

    This version of the Fletcher problem was specifically designed to get under your laestadian skin, Farang.

    I didn’t expect you to lower yourself to same level as Mark, meaning that you also now started to do personal attacks against me, because you can’t handle the situation.

    Keep your focus on the issues, not on the persons who you discuss with.

    If I may ask, do you have some personal traumatization with laestadians? And now that you have two “enemies” me and laestadians, you try to combine me as laestadian so you could reduce your enemies as one?

    Why do you see me as an enemy? I am not your enemy, I just disagree with you on some issues and that is what gives us this possibility for debate.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I already explained that your ethical framework is entirely typical of laestadianism. You view “goodness” and “badness” as intrinsic properties of moral agents and you seek to set out hard and fast synthetic principles that relieve the moral agent of the need to make moral judgements by presenting morality as a matter of following rules.

      This approach is hopelessly incomplete without the metaphysical and theological foundations that make up the laestadian worldview. It leaves you unable to explain how bad people can do good things (and vice-versa) and unable to defend your synthetic principles when they lead to intuitively immoral outcomes.

      It is quite clear that you learned your ethical framework by growing up in a community that was strongly influenced by laestadian thinking, but at some point you have abandoned the associated metaphysics. This leaves you in a position rather reminiscent of someone who has used a ladder to climb onto a roof but who has then kicked away the ladder and forgotten all about climbing it. You are unable to explain your point of view or give any account of how you came to occupy a position that provides such a perspective.

      Quite clearly this has got under your skin.

  32. Farang

    How would you go about proving that someone did something willingly, assuming that they state in their defence that they did not do it willingly, but was told to by angels, or the devil, or the gnome in the neighbours garden. How can you prove they were ‘willing’ participants?

    That is easy. If you do something based on your own imagination, then you are doing it willingly and you should be punished accordingly. Mental illness should never be used as an excuse to get away from punishment.

    • Mark

      Farang

      That is easy. If you do something based on your own imagination, then you are doing it willingly and you should be punished accordingly.

      That doesn’t clarify it at all. Since when did people have access to the imaginations of other people? And you didn’t answer the question – if someone claims it was someone or something else in their ‘imagination’ that told them to do it, does that not mean that they are automatically exempt from your life-term punishment?

      Mental illness should never be used as an excuse to get away from punishment.

      What is the point of punishment Farang? What purpose does it serve to punish the mentally ill?

      Do you think that they should be sent to hospital or prison? And when you say ‘punishment’, do you also mean torture, because you never know they might have information about other crimes they might have committed?

  33. Farang

    What is the point of punishment Farang? What purpose does it serve to punish the mentally ill?

    Purpose is to make the world safe to people. If someone is so mentally ill that he could kill innocent people, then his place is not in the society.

    • Mark

      Agreed. But the notion of punishment is irrelevant. It is a matter of constraint where necessary and treatment. Punishing a mentally ill person is an abhorrent concept, as it implies inflicting pain for the sake of it, as retribution, when it serves no rehabilitative purpose.

  34. Farang

    It is quite clear that you learned your ethical framework by growing up in a community that was strongly influenced by laestadian thinking, but at some point you have abandoned the associated metaphysics.

    No. I am a child of an unreligious family. Seems that your logic is failing. You know that I consider religious people lower level than normal people and that’s why you try to put me on that same level. You can’t do that, and that’s what bothers me: I consider you an intelligent person who is well educated and still you think that you could possibly hurt me. I really don’t understand your motives. The only reason I can think of is that you can’t win me in this debate, so you try to side track the discussion to me instead of staying on topic. I have never before saw that happening with you and that’s why it surprised me now, since I thought you were above that.

    My point of view on good and bad has nothing to do with any religion. It is just simply a view that most of the people would share. Bad things are those that are done to hurt people. In your twisted mind you try to turn those things in to something between good and bad, even when there is nothing good about them. If bad person does something good, it still doesn’t make him good. If good person does something bad, it makes the person bad.

    And now, what the discussion has been about, it is very clear that if someone does these bad things like killing people for own benefit, raping people, etc. that person can’t be good. Only a twisted person could say that these persons are good.

    • Mark

      Farang

      And now, what the discussion has been about, it is very clear that if someone does these bad things like killing people for own benefit, raping people, etc. that person can’t be good. Only a twisted person could say that these persons are good.

      It has been a long-standing change in modern society to condemn the actions of people and not the person themselves. This approach developed as a consequence of psychiatrists and psychologists discovering that a great many people were psychologically damaged as a result of having been brought up with exactly the kind of mentality that you are promoting here, where people are described as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as a result of their actions, frequently when those actions were age-specific limitations that could not be altered no matter the moral brow-beating of parents, such as ‘why don’t you think about others? ‘ The consequences have been poor self-esteem, deep-seated insecurity, absolutist thinking, and self-loathing that is then projected onto other people.

      Indeed the fear of being seen to be a ‘bad person’ often leads to obsessions with ‘badness’ and a sense of helplessness in battling against ‘bad’ thoughts; one might struggle with fears that one is capable of doing bad things and that such thoughts are overwhelming. Many perfectly ordinary people have suffered countless neuroses, panic attacks, anxiety and depressive disorders as a result of this kind of rigid thinking and ‘punishment’ inflicted during childhood and our formative years that becomes internalised and acted out as daily internal courtroom dramas, where ‘conscience’ becomes a tyranical and vicious judge who cannot see any goodness in us and threatens to undermine everything good about us. For some, it really is a living hell. Some people respond by shutting down emotionally and simply ‘going through the motions’. But even these people are victims, even if they may be beyond help.

      But times have changed. And people are finding a release from this kind of imposed psychological tyranny and moral straight-jacket. You seem to prefer it the old way and even, in typically neurotic fashion, condemn those with a more informed view of morality and psychology as being ‘twisted’.

      My own ‘twisted’ view is both psychological and philosophical. My philosophical view is that morality is about pain, victimhood and justice (reconciliation and recompense), and that living a life of limitation as we do, morality works to protect us from pain and to reduce the likelihood of becoming victims of other people’s actions, and helps to provide a basis for justice when we are wronged. Morality serves us well.

      However, if morality has any ‘universal’ and permanent meaning, then its meaning must extend beyond human life or even beyond our lifespan. Is the universe as a whole moral or ammoral? And if the universe is ammoral, what does that tell us about our own morality? One factor that I recognize as changing completely my perspective on morality is survival beyond physical death. The reasons should be obvious – if morality is built around pain and suffering imposed by one person upon another that may result in the loss of life, any kind of survival shows this pain to be temporary. If pain is temporary and ultimately we cannot truly hurt each other’s ‘existence’, then morality as a universal, deterministic function does not exist, certainly not in any kind of way that we understand in today’s societies. If there is no survival, then morality is likewise not a universal or determined function. Morality therefore becomes merely a contract that some sign and some do not, and those who don’t, we call bad. But this is still not intrinsic badness, in the sense you seem to imagine.

      That psychologists see morality as a function of actions and behaviour and not an intrinsic part of the individual is consistent with my philosophical view of morality.

      Nevertheless, a morality that describes people in essence as either good or bad, and where there is little room for flexibility, forgiveness for mistakes or reconciliation is a system of psychological tyranny imposed on one’s children and loved ones. The fact that you defend such a system by slurring any critics of that system as being ‘twisted’ illustrates exactly the kind of psychological bullying and manipulation of insecurities that lies at the heart of it.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I am a child of an unreligious family.

      This may go some way to explaining how you can be so unaware of the quite obvious influence of a certain type of religious thinking on your worldview. It is not necessary to be religious in any explicit sense in order to absorb a religious worldview, and this is particularly evident in the realm of moral value. If you are also so incapable of self-reflection that you can honestly dismiss an enquiry into the sources of moral value as “stupid”, then you are unlikely to discover the gross mismatch between your understanding of moral value and your metaphysical and theological position.

      First you say this:

      My point of view on good and bad has nothing to do with any religion. It is just simply a view that most of the people would share.

      The best justification that you can provide for “your point of view” is that you think that it is shared with “most people”. Obviously this is hopeless as a justification for anything. The inquisitors who interrogated Galileo Galilei could have said the same thing about their Ptolemaic point of view. More interestingly, however, it concedes your experience of a confluence of views with others in the area where you live, and especially where you grew up. Your emotional protest at any examination of the sources and consequences of “your point of view” tends to confirm this, especially when the shortcomings of that point of view are exposed.

      And then you promptly say this:

      If bad person does something good, it still doesn’t make him good. If good person does something bad, it makes the person bad.

      Even a first-year undergraduate student of ethics or theology can see that this is fundamentally a doctrine of sinfulness. It is based on a notion of falling away irredeemably from a state of purity or holiness. There is no way to clean the blank parchment once stained. This is a core position of laestadian moral theology. Only Divine grace can restore moral goodness.

      Like it or not, Farang, this is the type of ethical position that you have been espousing. My guess is that you are from somewhere in Northern Finland where there is a strong laestadian movement and tradition. Somewhere like Kemi or Oulu.

  35. Farang

    JD

    This may go some way to explaining how you can be so unaware of the quite obvious influence of a certain type of religious thinking on your worldview. It is not necessary to be religious in any explicit sense in order to absorb a religious worldview, and this is particularly evident in the realm of moral value.

    Ok, now this proves that you don’t even understand what religion means. You thinkg that all viewpoints are either religious or non-religious, even if they have nothing to do with religion.

    People like you think “thou shall not kill” is a religious viewpoint, even if that is just a normal moral thinking.

    There are things like believing in god, which is religious, but most of the things in the world has nothing to do with religion. The are very much in common between religious and non-religious people, it only those small differences that defines religion.

    I am very worried about your attitude that person is defined only by his latest action. So if person is bad and kills people but then he saves someones life, you consider that person a good person. I really wouldn’t like to live in a society run by people who think like you.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      The point is not whether some individual precept like the Sixth Commandment is or can be common to both a religious and non-religious context. It concerns how various precepts and their modes of application fit together to form a consistent moral system (which we might call ethical cogency) and what factual assumptions must be made in order for that system to be considered relevant to human experience (which I understand as metaphysics and moral theology).

      Religious ethical systems presuppose certain assumptions about the factual circumstances of individual moral agents (“the human condition”), and especially about their relationship with an unconditioned Other that is always necessarily greater than the moral agent. This unconditioned Other is essential to any ethical system that relies on absolute moral precepts, not necessarily to serve as a guarantor of their value as precepts, but certainly to resolve antinomies that arise in their application. I indicated above that Catholics have a way out of certain types of moral antinomy, but that you do not. One such resolution is based on 1 Corinthians 13:12 and the notion of conditioned and unconditioned perspective.

      This does not prevent individuals (at least those leading unexamined lives) from espousing absolute moral precepts by proxy without recognising any relationship to an unconditioned Other, any more than it prevents those individuals from expecting to have Sunday off work whenever the scheduling of working hours offers a free Sunday as an option. Such individuals might even consider their expectation of a preference for Sundays off to be justified simply as a “view that most of the people would share”, and offer a similar and corresponding justification for the “self-evidently” absolute character of some moral precept.

  36. Farang

    JD

    Even a first-year undergraduate student of ethics or theology can see that this is fundamentally a doctrine of sinfulness. It is based on a notion of falling away irredeemably from a state of purity or holiness. There is no way to clean the blank parchment once stained. This is a core position of laestadian moral theology. Only Divine grace can restore moral goodness.

    I’m now sure if I’m now mixing laestadians with catholics but I have understood that both of these religious groups can do as much bad things as they like and then they just confess and ask for forgiveness and they they are considered good people again.

    The laestadians are even protecting the paedophiles among them. They just ask for forgiveness and they don’t even report them to police. Same kind of news have been heard a lot from the catholic camp.

    This is just my personal opinion and observation but it seems that among the religious people there are more sickos than among non-religious people.

    • JusticeDemon

      Farang

      I’m now sure if I’m now mixing laestadians with catholics but I have understood that both of these religious groups can do as much bad things as they like and then they just confess and ask for forgiveness and they they are considered good people again.

      This is obviously a very crude parody of Christian moral discourse, but I think that like any parody there is some insight here, at least into a dangerously naïve understanding of penitence and Divine grace. Directly relevant scriptural passages include John 8:1-11, John 5:14, Job ch. 34 and perhaps Jeremiah 31:31-34. On the other hand (and more to your taste, it would seem, Farang), we have Mark 3:28-30, Matthew 12:30-32, Hebrews 6:4-8 and Hebrews 10:26-29. Your local laestadian Minister or Catholic priest may be able to enlighten you further on the specific responses of these denominations to your caricature.

      My personal view is that notions of sinfulness are positively unhelpful in formulating or deciding questions of moral value. Morals cannot be founded on authority and moral value does not require complex metaphysical support.

    • Farang

      Interesting choice of punishing. Tells pretty much of you, as you want to reward murderers and rapists with a holiday. Really reveals your morale.

    • Mark

      Facts, Farang. Their re-offending rate is 16%, compared to rates in the UK of as much as 70%. In other words, society is safer with this kind of system. But you prefer to try to use ‘force’ and punishment, even though it clearly doesn’t work. Think about the victims of those that are released and re-offend. I guess you don’t give a shit about then.

    • Farang

      That is still no excuse to reward criminals. There is also a way to get reoffending rate to pure 0 %. Why don’t you approve that?

    • Farang

      By not letting the offenders ever back to society, they can’t re-offend, thus making re-offending rate 0 %.

      It’s funny how you use a result as a basis to approve some idea, but you don’t approve some other idea which gives not only the same result but even improved result.

      So basically you nullify your approval. You can’t use the re-offending rate as a justification for something, if you don’t accept the usage of same re-offending rate for something else.

    • Mark

      Farang

      You can’t use the re-offending rate as a justification for something,

      Except that you seem to forget that the re-offending rate of 16% is being compared with the current rates of 70% in some prisons (in Finland, 40% within 5 years, 60% within 15 years).

      Your idea would never be accepted by a civilised society. That is why we call your ideas ‘extremist’, Farang, because they are at the extreme ends of authoritarianism and totalitarianism, and even within PS, an idea like that would have very very little popularity.

      Some in PS would call for stronger sentencing, but no-one that I know of has called for true life sentences for all serious crime. And we are not talking about those that are seriously mentally ill and psychotic here, so don’t start using the very few extreme examples to justify a blanket policy that would cover all people who commit a serious offence.

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