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View Diary: It's a Question of the Golden Rule (81 comments)

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  •  Philosophy 101 (2+ / 0-)
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    RenaRF, GreyHawk

    I think what buzzsaw is asking us to do is draw the line.  Can we?  At what point does the Golden Rule become, as one commenter stated below, a "logical absurdity?"

    The short answer is, you can't draw that line.  The G.R. either applies in all cases or in none, it being, naturally, a "Rule."  Trying to find a middle ground only subverts its own moral imperative.

    Conclusion: its all academic.  And, once again, philosophy dies at the feet of reality.

    I guess the best thing we can do is to keep some men of low moral character around in case of an emergency.

    •  Not at all (3+ / 0-)
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      RenaRF, AaronBa, Cronesense

      Law and morality are filled with all sorts of rules and principles that have exceptions in the right circumstances.

      But as I have stated above, this isn't a diary about whether the GR applies in every and all circumstances. It's a diary about how the GR is applied to captives taken in war pursuant to Article 3.

      •  but then we must decide (1+ / 0-)
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        GreyHawk

        if the article 3 situation embodies circumstances that merit an exception.

        If it is an except-ional case, then we don't need to determine how to apply it to these captives.

      •  As I said... (1+ / 0-)
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        RenaRF

        buzzsaw's arguement is, fundamentally, an academic one.  I'll give you "Law," but morality diametric - or, rather, any specific moral precept (such as the Golden Rule) is diametric - and therefore of little use to human endeavors.

        For the record, I happen to agree with the diarist.  Nevertheless, you can't simply dismiss buzzsaw's point that a selective application of the GR tends to obviate the very principle upon which the GR is founded.

        •  Yes I can argue that (2+ / 0-)
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          RenaRF, AaronBa

          because no one is saying that the golden rule is some ultimate principle of law that always applies to each and every situation and trumps all other rules, domestic and international. What is being said is that the GR has been viewed as a very good principle to apply to the treatment of captives taken in war. In other words, thou shalt treat prisoners of war the way you would want your prisoners of war to be treated. This principle has been codified and elaborated on in Article 3. That's it.

          Buzzsaw simply misunderstood the whole premise of this diary and introduced the red herring that the GR is some over-riding principle of domestic and international law. It's not; nor does it have to be to make it a good principle for how to treat captives in war.

          •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

            Buzzsaw simply misunderstood the whole premise of this diary and introduced the red herring that the GR is some over-riding principle of domestic and international law. It's not; nor does it have to be to make it a good principle for how to treat captives in war.

            It was the diarist who opened up that door in making an appeal to the Christian community who, at least in theory, espouses the principle of "Do unto others..."  You're correct in that the GR is not "some over-riding principle of domestic and international law."  That concept was an interpretation introduced by the diarist, and it happens to be a valid one.

            Buzzsaw's argument, however pedantic, is nevertheless logically sound in that the GR must be applied equitably in all situations in order for it to carry any weight and maintain its moral integrity.  In other words, there cannot be any exceptions to it - violations, yes; exceptions, no.  Now, this only matters if one actually subscribes to the GR, and if you happen to call yourself a Christian and mean it then you are doctrinally bound to follow it or accept that you have acted immorally.

            In the case of buzzsaw's WWII analogy, engaging in warfare - regardless of the stakes or the outcome - constitutes a personal, moral infraction even though it may have saved many lives, resulted in a more just society, and was generally beneficial to the world.  Therein lies your "logical absurdity," and an illustration of the danger of injecting moral religious doctrine into matters of governance.

            You're arguing pragmatically, I am arguing philosophically, and the crux of our disagreement is the intersection of these two incongruent spheres of thought.

            You win.

            •  I disagree with this (0+ / 0-)

              Buzzsaw's argument, however pedantic, is nevertheless logically sound in that the GR must be applied equitably in all situations in order for it to carry any weight and maintain its moral integrity.

              You are saying that until we apply a general rule of law that says all people in all situations must always treat others the way they themselves wish to be treated, that there is no weight and no moral integrity in the requirement for countries to treat POWs the way they would want their own to be treated. There is no logic in this.

              •  No, I am saying (1+ / 0-)
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                Warren Terrer

                that buzzsaw's position - which I have taken up for the sake of argument - has no bearing on the Geneva Conventions, or international or domestic law.

                It is logically sound, but only relevant in the context of self-professed Christians, and anyone one else who is theologically and doctrinally yoked to it.

                Unlike the signatories of the Geneva Convention.

                But I stand by my statement, that the GR, as a component of the Christian Faith cannot be supplicated to anything and still matter.  You violate that edict at your own peril (if your a Christian), even if it’s for the greater good.

                It is that kind of contradiction and hypocrisy which makes religious dogma incompatible with enlightened governance.

                So you see, we are talking about two different things.  My position is irrelevant in the context of this diary.

            •  I also meant to say (0+ / 0-)

              I read the diarist's appeal to the Christian community as simply a lead-in to the diary explaining why the GR has some moral force as a principle, before going to to discuss it in the context of war captives and Article 3; not as a call to open up a general discussion on whether the GR should be the basic rule that we all live by in all situations. The heart of this discussion is the GR as applied in the specific instance of war captives.

              However, I will let the diarist speak for herself on that point.

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