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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Red Herrings From Susan Hogarth

It's trivial to deny making a flip-flop if you only quote one half of it.
And of course, still no word from “Murray Rothbard’s intellectual love child" whether she agrees with Dad that parents should have a legal right to starve their own children.  Don't worry, Susan; he's dead.  He can't hurt you any more.  It's safe to answer the question.
Now, back to consideration of Susan's red herring.  Shane Cory was unavailable, so today's distraction from the examination of radical Libertarian principles is -- wait for it -- Harry Truman.  Susan Hogarth wrote:
SH) Obviously you think Truman’s decision was right (SH
No, I just think it was less wrong than his other available decisions.  Please re-read the words "forced choice".  That may be the difference between you and me -- you apparently will sit on your hands unless you have some conveniently high amount of evidence that action can be taken that will leave your hands spotless.  Your world may be monochrome, but the real world isn't.
SH) it is morally wrong to sacrifice others for a goal of your choosing. (SH
As I have patiently tried to explain to you by citing the philosophical literature on the Trolley Problem, the red herring you've introduced here concerns an excruciatingly rare thing: a forced choice between the deaths of different sets of innocents.  The nature of such a forced choice is that, ex hypothesis, innocents will die no matter what.  The only question is how many extra innocent deaths you're willing to watch in order to have clean hands.  Thus I repeat your own charge back at you: it is morally wrong to allow extra innocents to die just to keep your hands clean.  You earlier in fact said that you might "kill one person rather than let five others be killed if I could imagine no alternative", but then you later called the Trolley Problem "stupid" and said that only an "Evil Genius (TM)" could set one up.
Alas, the unique horror of World War II featured more than one Evil Genius.  In August 1944 the leader of  the Rescue Department of the World Jewish Congress forwarded to the American government a request to bomb Auschwitz, even though it was known that doing so would kill innocent Jews.  The request said the "Germans might possibly stop further mass exterminations especially since so little time is left to them".  If the available evidence had suggested that such a bombing would save many times more Jews than it would kill by disrupting the Nazi's extermination infrastructure, would you have still opposed it?
Alex, the prize for Susan is a doubling of her $100 reward for subscribing to all 30 elements of the No 1st Force Pledge.  Doubling zero still yields zero.  However, I'm willing to put you on commission.  If you can get any of our presidential or LNC candidates to fully endorse the N1F pledge, I'll match my payment to them with a payment to you.  Good luck.