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How many people is it okay to sacrifice for world peace?

Houseman

Zealot
Sanctuary legend
Messages
1,058
In a lot of fiction, a recurring character is the villain dictator that want to kill millions of people in order to rule the world. But wait, he has good motives! He wants there to be an end to war, forever. His reasoning is that, if all the earth were united or subjugated under one iron fist, there would be opposing factions fighting over oil or whatever. If everyone is under a single flag, then there would be no more reason for war.

Sounds reasonable, right?

While the good guys might like the idea of an end to war, they disagree with how the villain is going about it, so they stop him.

So, what are the "good guys" doing to end war? Huh? At the least the other guy had a plan. Where will the good guys be when the next proxy war breaks out in the middle east, or when the next genocide happens in Africa?

It's either
1) millions are killed in the wars that the "good guys" want to preserve, or
2) millions are killed upfront, and then never again.

Which is more desirable?

We already have a similar precedent that comes to mind: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in order to stop a war. Many people defend that as a good thing because it worked, and because the benefits outweighed the costs, or so they claim.

You could argue that nothing ever ends, and the dictator's plans have no guarantee of success. There might be civil wars, new countries might establish themselves and fight for independence, there might be terrorists freedom fighters, and humans will continue to be human. There might not be. We don't know. Hiroshima seemed to work. If it didn't, it probably would have been seen in hindsight as a war crime second only to the holocaust.

In terms of a trolley problem it is this:

Duke Dastardly wants to move the trolley to the upper path. The trolley will kill 5 people who are tied to the tracks, and then the trolley will hopefully stop.
If the trolley continues on its path, it will kill an undefined number of people in the future, and it's unknown if the trolley will ever be able to be stopped.
Do you stop him?

How many people is it worth sacrificing to end all war, forever?
 

Arnox

Master
Staff member
Founder
Messages
5,250
If even one person who is getting killed doesn't want it, then option 1. Everyone must be in on it or the crime is an abhorrent crossing of lines. This is how villains are made. There must be lines that cannot be crossed for any reason or else you find yourself justifying all sorts of shit.

The Jackal (Far Cry 2) said:
What is the measure of a man, or of his murder? By what insane calculus can we answer questions like these? Should we even try?
 

Houseman

Zealot
Sanctuary legend
Messages
1,058
If even one person who is getting killed doesn't want it, then option 1
Are you saying you would rather wars continue, rather than have a big mass killing to end all wars? Sorry, I'm unclear.

Either way, more than one person who is getting killed would rather not die, and would rather there not be wars. Civilians die in wars all the time.
 
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Arnox

Master
Staff member
Founder
Messages
5,250
Are you saying you would rather wars continue, rather than have a big mass killing to end all wars? Sorry, I'm unclear.

Either way, more than one person who is getting killed would rather not die, and would rather there not be wars. Civilians die in wars all the time.
But you are putting the choice in my hands, Unless you're saying there is ABSOLUTELY going to be A war, and no matter what option I pick, the same number of lives will be lost. The only difference being that on one hand a million lives will be lost with more wars potentially and on the other hand, a million lives will be lost but it will be the end of wars.

Further, what will happen if I pick the option to have a million people die but have no more war? Does that mean that there won't be any reason to go to war anymore or does that mean that no matter what the injustice, we cannot make war, period?
 

Signa

Libertarian Contrarian
Sanctuary legend
Messages
758
You were listening to Timcast this morning, weren't you?
 

Houseman

Zealot
Sanctuary legend
Messages
1,058
You were listening to Timcast this morning, weren't you?
No, not at all. Just thinking about Armageddon. The biblical kind.

no matter what option I pick, the same number of lives will be lost.
Exactly, so there's no pressure or guilt involved!

The only difference being that on one hand a million lives will be lost with more wars potentially and on the other hand, a million lives will be lost but it will be the end of wars.
Yeah, seems like a pretty easy decision to make, right? Unless you like wars, that is...

Further, what will happen if I pick the option to have a million people die but have no more war? Does that mean that there won't be any reason to go to war anymore or does that mean that no matter what the injustice, we cannot make war, period?
There will no longer be any reason to go to war, because there will be no other nations to war against. So the world will have beat their swords into plowshares. There will be no more need for the tools of war, nuclear weapons and such.
 

Vendor-Lazarus

Arch Disciple
Sanctuary legend
Messages
922
The entire premise of not having any more wars is faulty, and nothing more than a Utopia. Just because you force everyone into one country doesn't mean bad will goes away. Look at the middle-east. Or Africa. Those places actually have wars because they were forcibly joined. This is the kind of delusion I expect to see from identity politics though. Wokeism just saying tolerate each-other (by force). Aryans/Panthers shouting segregation (by force). Religious saying convert the heathen (by force)..
 

Signa

Libertarian Contrarian
Sanctuary legend
Messages
758
No, not at all. Just thinking about Armageddon. The biblical kind.
Funny timing. Tim used that day's news as a jumping off point for talking about the machinations of evil, and how sacrificing people for the greater good is always a terrible bargain. He went into talking about the Watchmen graphic novel too, and how the villain worked in that story.

Your scenario was set up very similarly as if you had heard the discussion and wanted to add your own flair.
 
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