8link48

Why is war morally wrong?

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I know this seems like a stupid question, but bear with me on this subject. Why is it that war is universally recognized as a tragic concept and yet wars are still being fought for "our countries individual pride or protection?" Should war still be accepted even when it could be as an act of self defence or preservation over diplomacy? If religions (such as Christianity) prohibit murder and yet war is still acceptable, then could war be used as a loop hole in religious belifs that murder is acceptable?

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The "Thou shalt not kill" commandment in the Bible basically refers to unlawful killing or killing of the innocent.

Thus it has a "built-in" loop-hole.  All that has to be done to believe that the killing is justified, as in with an enemy combatant,  or that the person is guilty of some crime worthy of death (and the type of crime that fits this has covered a broad range in the past.)

The problem with war is that it is so easy to convince yourself that it is justified.( Those people hold land or resources that are rightfully ours and won't be reasonable and give it to us.)

And in many instances, it isn't a matter of a loop-hole in your religion, as it is actually using your religion to justify the war.

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11 minutes ago, Janus said:

The "Thou shalt not kill" commandment in the Bible basically refers to unlawful killing or killing of the innocent.

Thus it has a "built-in" loop-hole.  All that has to be done to believe that the killing is justified, as in with an enemy combatant,  or that the person is guilty of some crime worthy of death (and the type of crime that fits this has covered a broad range in the past.) 

Nazis, slightly before, and during II world war used different tactics: "Thou shalt not kill" was understood as "Thou shalt not kill human".. Using such (incorrect) interpretation, human can kill somebody who is not human. Then they downgraded some races, some nations, some minorities, to the level "subhuman"...

The same interpretation is used right now by many far-right conservatives, who have no objections for shooting animal for enjoy..

 

Edited by Sensei

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3 hours ago, 8link48 said:

If religions (such as Christianity) prohibit murder and yet war is still acceptable, then could war be used as a loop hole in religious belifs that murder is acceptable?

The bible does 'say' homosexuals shall be put to death.(leviticus 20:13)

Wars do insert a random aspect. Basically in wars humans are killed because they are part of a 'group'.

 

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Seen from an evolutionary/biological perspective, war is fully justifiable. The larger territory the predator flock has, the more prey available, meaning higher chance of survival. For humans however, this has changed after the first agricultural revolution. Since then the territory has been used to grow crops to feed an expanding population. But the main idea of "more territory = more food" has not.

But since the second agricultural (the green) revolution, the one initiated by Norman Borlaug, the need for more territory has gone. So war is no longer evolutionary justifiable. The sole purpose for modern war is political strategy.

Edited by QuantumT

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6 hours ago, 8link48 said:

Why is it that war is universally recognized as a tragic concept and yet wars are still being fought for "our countries individual pride or protection?"

Historically, they are usually fought for political or economic power. That is partly why the European Union has been so successful in preventing further European wars.

6 hours ago, 8link48 said:

If religions (such as Christianity) prohibit murder and yet war is still acceptable, then could war be used as a loop hole in religious belifs that murder is acceptable?

Careful. Not all Christians think war is acceptable.

But most countries have very precise definitions of unlawful killing (eg murder) and distinguish it from things that are allowed during war. Obviously people will sometimes try to push/break these boundaries.

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war is profitible. even a kid can see it. any parent who wants there kid to know how money making works would point this out.

 

and on another point

On 1/18/2019 at 11:15 AM, Sensei said:

for enjoy

hey, hunting has its place. it generates lots of taxes. a lot of hunters help with the environment i know it has helped me value the environment. lots of big predators have been killed so we keep the deer and such from overpopulation. now illicit hunting is bad.(i know i cant change your viewpoint but idk).

Edited by peterwlocke
clearer

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On 1/19/2019 at 12:37 AM, Strange said:

But most countries have very precise definitions of unlawful killing (eg murder) and distinguish it from things that are allowed during war. Obviously people will sometimes try to push/break these boundaries. 

That is the reason for "War on Terror". The U.S. are constantly in a state of war.

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War may be considered as morally wrong, but the manifestation of its methods are a primary instinct for human beings.That desire or urge to kill  present in humans actually exists since the very beginning of our existence - mainly because of the behavior which is now known as self-preserving or  "survival instinct".

It is very clear that the early human was not on the top of the food chain in nature, and so a lot of wild animals threatened his existence. So, in order to survive, he had to kill (to feed himself).

In fact, self-preserving is a universal behavior among all living creatures on this planet, and pain and fear are the integral components of this mechanism. 

Now, the fact that the human began to kill his own kind only meant that, according to his developed cognations, he started to make a distinction between the people around him, comparing himself to them and deciding which people are dangerous for him and endangering his life, and which do not.

In other words, through the evolution of the instinct and the development of the mind, the situation where previously some wild animal represented a threat and the human killed him because of that, now a similar situation has occurred, only in this case the killer's target is replaced with another human being.

This being said, although war is considered to be morally wrong, it still represents an acceptable way of killing. Because from a psychological point of view, the modern and sophisticated man is lying to himself that war is a justified murder because it allows, in those circumstances, to manifest its urges which have been numbed for centuries due to the changed (safer) lifestyle. 

Because the human understands that the majority of people support murder during war, he is also encouraged to manifest his urges in practice, but also because a real life threatening situation. 

There is this impression that the modern human is, in a certain way, "torn apart" between a safer and nonviolent lifestyle and resists to eliminate the people who are a "thorn in his eye", mainly because of the legal punishments for murder. 

Edited by Space Babe

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On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 11:03 AM, 8link48 said:

I know this seems like a stupid question, but bear with me on this subject.

Actually, I have asked some stupid questions myself. Questions, stupid or otherwise, still need answers.

 

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Why is it that war is universally recognized as a tragic concept and yet wars are still being fought for "our countries individual pride or protection?"

Because it is tragic. From back in the day when fields were burned and crops destroyed in order to starve out the opponents, to today when chemical warfare, nuclear bombs, and left-over mines destroy our food sources, animals, people, and our homes, the aftermath is tragic. The people, who lose the war are devastated, and the warriors, who win the war are equally devastated. We send men off to war with parades, give them medals when they come home, then hope they will disappear because they are often broken in both body and/or spirit -- and they are dangerous.

So why do we do it? The simple answer is self defense. We all agree that a person being attacked has the right to defend himself, and most law will extend that self defense to also include defense of a spouse, children, and home. Defense of siblings, parents, other relatives, friends, or even the workplace is not usually included in automatic self defense, so guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge/jury. But countries reserve the right to call it self defense when the country is in danger. So no matter what the reason for the war actually is, politicians will "beat the drums of war", which means that they try to convince the populace that it is in danger. It would be difficult to have a war if no one showed up to fight.

 

Quote

Should war still be accepted even when it could be as an act of self defence or preservation over diplomacy? If religions (such as Christianity) prohibit murder and yet war is still acceptable, then could war be used as a loop hole in religious belifs that murder is acceptable?

Most Christians cite the Ten Commandments, Thou shall not kill, when considering this problem, but that is just a synopsis of the actual law. If you look in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, the Books of Law, you will find there is much more to consider, like the difference between murder, manslaughter, and accidental death, which is clearly delineated in those texts.

Then you must consider that each of the Religions built on those original texts to create church doctrine. I believe it was Augustine of Hippo, who created most of the Christian church doctrine around 400 AD. He was a prolific writer. He justified fighting for "God", which in turn justified the Crusades, witch burning, etc., and it is my personal opinion that his writings helped to cause the Dark Ages. He did not care much for Aristotle's ideas, Science, or rational reason (IMO) and helped corrupt Plato's work into neoPlatoism -- after all, both Aristotle and Plato were pagans. The ironic part of this is that the Crusades actually served to bring Aristotle's and Plato's work back to us, because the "heathens" the Crusaders fought, were smart enough to recognize the value of it and preserved the work.

Aquinas, who was 800 years or so after Augustine, reaped the benefits of time and Aristotle's and Plato's work. He rewrote much of the church's doctrine into something that I find more reasonable and helped usher in the Enlightenment. Although there is much more to this, you can review the war theory part of the information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory

Gee

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On 1/30/2019 at 10:25 AM, Space Babe said:

War may be considered as morally wrong, but the manifestation of its methods are a primary instinct for human beings.That desire or urge to kill  present in humans actually exists since the very beginning of our existence - mainly because of the behavior which is now known as self-preserving or  "survival instinct".

3

How can you say war is morally wrong though?

Is it anyone who participates in the war? Only the attackers? Only the ones who ordered it?

What specifically makes it immoral?

On 1/18/2019 at 2:15 PM, Sensei said:

The same interpretation is used right now by many far-right conservatives, who have no objections for shooting animal for enjoy..

2

Do you mean hunting for food?

Animal control?

Farming animals?

I mean, I find killing animals purely for enjoyment rather distasteful, but it's very rarely the case in this modern day. 

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1 hour ago, Raider5678 said:

How can you say war is morally wrong though?

There are a lot of elements to it. One is that the responsibility and accountability for murdering someone is removed from the actors. Individually, killing is usually considered a taboo and a moral failure on some level. However, war creates a situation the morality is removed from the taboo. Creating a system that removes accountability and morality from an immoral act could be considered immoral in itself.

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9 minutes ago, CharonY said:

There are a lot of elements to it. One is that the responsibility and accountability for murdering someone is removed from the actors. Individually, killing is usually considered a taboo and a moral failure on some level. However, war creates a situation the morality is removed from the taboo. Creating a system that removes accountability and morality from an immoral act could be considered immoral in itself.

If the side that takes the view that killing is intrinsically wrong and necessarily kills in a judicious manner in order to pursue a peaceful future, relatively, they have the moral upper hand.

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3 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

If the side that takes the view that killing is intrinsically wrong and necessarily kills in a judicious manner in order to pursue a peaceful future, relatively, they have the moral upper hand.

That goes toward the just war aspect of morality which partially argues that the end justify the means. That in itself is obviously a topic that intense debate. There are various frameworks that explore these questions and I doubt that one can make simple blanket statement either way. However, I do find the history of the just war doctrine quite interesting. The modern form is for the most part based on a consensus formed after WWII and is codified in part by the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention which cover both, justification for war and conduct in war as guiding principles. One key element, that can be traced back to the 17th century or so are switching the viewpoint or morality of actions from the individual to the states (or equivalent sovereign entities) with soldiers merely being instruments.

However, there are challenges to this principle in modern times. One, is that the nature of war has changed. More and more there are not formal challenges between countries, but e.g. between regular and guerilla forces. So the traditional state centric justification suddenly falls apart. Some would argue that individual actions (e.g. of terrorists) are those who kill and are killed and that they should receive the blame for their participation. But as you can see,  it would change moral responsibility also for regular armies quite a bit. There is also the issue between moral absolutism and relativism (i.e. what can be considered a greater good?). And what the limits are (e.g. is it alright to kill everyone in opposition in exchange for peace?).

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1 hour ago, Raider5678 said:

What specifically makes it immoral?

In my post, I managed to explain how exactly war is considered as "justified" from the aspect of human nature. However, in our modern society there are a variety of values and laws that must be respected so anarchy does not become a thing.

For instance, war can destroy the future of humanity with the improvement of chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. I think that it is highly irrational to jeopardize the faith of all humans because of the selfish reasons for power, control, dominance and politics between two or more countries. Humans should be considered civilized enough to resolve conflicts or to gain political/social goals from a nonviolent approach.  Also, war is not moral because it is not ethical to kill innocent people, and furthermore, violate the international law.

In other words, it's not necessarily about the people who are fighting, or those responsible for the declaration of the war, but rather the cause, that is, the reason for it, as well as the losses and the consequences of self destruction that humanity will suffer because of that war;

Because those reasons are not derived from moral values, but from primary instinct that is originally a trait that is currently present and only manifested in wild animals, who as such, possess no moral or values.

Edited by Space Babe

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11 minutes ago, Space Babe said:

Because those reasons are not derived from moral values, but from primary instinct that is originally a trait that is currently present and only manifested in wild animals, who as such, possess no moral or values.

Typically the justification of war follows the opposite argumentation. It is not a derivative of the nature or actions of the individual but is based on the construct of nations that initiate war. The individual and its nature plays virtually no role. Obviously war is an organized venture that is far remote from the urge to kill. Once the fighting starts it may be different, but then the combatants are put in the situation by the system and not due to their own destructive urges.

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36 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Typically the justification of war follows the opposite argumentation. It is not a derivative of the nature or actions of the individual but is based on the construct of nations that initiate war. The individual and its nature plays virtually no role. Obviously war is an organized venture that is far remote from the urge to kill. Once the fighting starts it may be different, but then the combatants are put in the situation by the system and not due to their own destructive urges.

I agree that war does not manifest the urge to kill alone - that is due to the fact that humans live in a sophisticated society that is far more evolved and advances than the survival laws of nature where the other animals live and fight. 

I have read that there are 8 main reasons for war:

1. Economic gain

2. Territorial gain

3. Religion

4. Nationalism

5. Revenge

6. Civil war

7. Revolutionary war

8. Defensive war

But my point was that war could often be viewed as an acceptable way of killing, although there is much more to that. Like I said, wars do not occur simply because humans have a numbed urge to kill, but because of other causes/reasons motivated by the contradicting interests of two or more countries. 

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4 minutes ago, Space Babe said:

by the contradicting interests of two or more countries. 

And this goes to the crux of the morality issue. It changes the moral system from the evaluation of individual actions to that of the nation/state. By doing such, it removes moral evaluation from the actors except for an agreed set of actions (i.e. war crimes). And from several perspectives that in itself is problematic as it creates a sphere where otherwise immoral actions are sanctioned. 

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7 hours ago, Space Babe said:

6. Civil war

7. Revolutionary war

8. Defensive war

 

These here.

I feel that this is a prime point for being able to say that war in and of itself isn't morally wrong.

 

War is fought for different reasons. 

I'd venture to say a war that if fought over purely gaining excess economic power is morally wrong. But at the same time, a nation that is on the brink of total starvation that starts a war to get land to grow food, which is an economic power, isn't necessarily morally wrong. 

But since both of these are an economic war, yet one can widely be viewed as immoral, and another is not, this is why I don't believe we should be assigning the morality to war itself.

 

We can discuss the morality of motives because ultimately that is on the human side of things. War, on the other hand, is not. It's a situation that you can be in. To me, it's similar to saying drowning is an immoral thing because people die.

It's one thing to be drowning because someone is holding you under water. It's a totally other thing to be drowning because you can't swim. Either way, it doesn't make sense to apply morality to the situation. 

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My own view is that offensive warfare is morally wrong but defensive warfare - depending on how it is conducted - may not be. For war to occur a moral and ethical breakdown of some sort is almost always involved - and when there is deliberate cultivation of resentments and hatred then even defensive warfare can turn unethical fast.

One of humankind's most problematic behavioural issues is that, if we think someone is bad then we can get a powerful kick out of treating them cruelly - and thinking someone is bad and deserves harsh treatment doesn't require us to carefully weigh evidence; just being told they are bad can be good enough. Or that their nation is bad or their religion or their ethnicity is bad. And, having our friends and relatives and others we sympathise with treated cruelly - by people who, by the same measures, think we are bad, or our nation is or our religion or our race - will encourage us to dish out harsh treatment in turn. Beware the righteous, for they can be extremely cruel - and enjoy it, without shame or guilt.

I think that independent courts, that at least try to base their judgements on the evidence, without fear or favour - irrespective of ethnicity or allegiences or social class - have been pivotal institutions within 'free' democracies. I do wonder if we could even have achieved the (still flawed) successful democracies we know and benefit from without the rise of Common Law or other traditions of independent courts. Until international courts are given the resources and authority - and there is willingness of nations to defer to them - we will likely continue to see nations and other groupings turning on each other and intefering in each other's affairs in unethical ways. 

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But can we say all war is the result of an immoral action?

I think yes we can.

This does not mean all parties are behaving immorally. 

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17 hours ago, CharonY said:

And this goes to the crux of the morality issue. It changes the moral system from the evaluation of individual actions to that of the nation/state. By doing such, it removes moral evaluation from the actors except for an agreed set of actions (i.e. war crimes). And from several perspectives that in itself is problematic as it creates a sphere where otherwise immoral actions are sanctioned. 

 

Indeed a moral action is immutable, war is just an excuse.

31 minutes ago, Outrider said:

But can we say all war is the result of an immoral action?

I think yes we can.

This does not mean all parties are behaving immorally. 

 

yes, it does.

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11 hours ago, Raider5678 said:

These here.

I feel that this is a prime point for being able to say that war in and of itself isn't morally wrong.

 

War is fought for different reasons. 

I'd venture to say a war that if fought over purely gaining excess economic power is morally wrong. But at the same time, a nation that is on the brink of total starvation that starts a war to get land to grow food, which is an economic power, isn't necessarily morally wrong. 

But since both of these are an economic war, yet one can widely be viewed as immoral, and another is not, this is why I don't believe we should be assigning the morality to war itself.

 

We can discuss the morality of motives because ultimately that is on the human side of things. War, on the other hand, is not. It's a situation that you can be in. To me, it's similar to saying drowning is an immoral thing because people die.

It's one thing to be drowning because someone is holding you under water. It's a totally other thing to be drowning because you can't swim. Either way, it doesn't make sense to apply morality to the situation. 

1

I'm alright jack seems a scant excuse.

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1 hour ago, Outrider said:

But can we say all war is the result of an immoral action?

Or that people believe an action is immoral.

Many 'external' factors can form your opinion whether you find an action immoral or not.

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

yes, it does.

So it is immoral to overthrow an evil regime?

Will you attempt do defend yourself if attacked?

If your answers are yes and no we just disagree.

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