(or extermination of pests)
Thou shalt not kill?
Who? Me? I'm not going to, but why not?
An unqualified rule against taking human life is too simple. In fact it's simplistic. Regardless of religion, custom or law, there are rationally defensible, civilized reasons to kill people.
Suicide by anyone who knows he or she has had it, period, is the best example, because suicide, the merciful rescue of oneself from the horror of life, is nobody's else's business. And the mercy killing of another, either by providing the means of death or helping him use it, if he needs help, is simply assisted suicide, still nobody else's business.
Killing in self defense, although not nearly so clear-cut, is another example, which, in spite of any god's commandment, is so widely acknowledged to be OK that it's often legalized. And, while no civilized intellectual should endorse any insane supposedly defensive excuse for murder (or slaughter) promoted by religious, political, or business zealots (like beheading anyone who won't convert to Islam, "preemptively" bombing the US State Department's "enemies," or denying health care to illegal immigrants), there are categories of self defense, which, commonly accepted or not, legal or not, are certainly rational.
In fact, there is one blanket excuse for killing in self defense, rarely clarified and probably unacceptable to most people (just because it makes sense), which, as an individual or community self defense measure, though it is seldom necessary to use it as an excuse to kill anyone, does justify the perfectly rational extermination of some people.
Extermination, I said. That is, there are SOME PEOPLE whose killing would be no less expedient than the killing of mad dogs and rattle snakes or the eradication of poisonous bugs and plants, because, not being willing participants in or feeling bound by any social contract, they're dangerous. They do a lot of harm, cause a lot of pain, and themselves wrongly kill other people. They're dangerous, and since they don't keep the social contract, they shouldn't illogically be protected by it.
I am not necessarily advocating anyone's extermination. Don't put words in my mouth and respond to your own words. This essay is an exercise in logic as opposed to religious, tribal, and even legal nonsense. So (pay attention to MY WORDS - NOW) I'm going to say something logical.
To a civilized community, the willful killing of any honest participant in the social contract on which that civilized community is based, against his own will, should (with some exceptions) be considered unacceptable and termed murder, But the killing of dangerous nonparticipants is something else.
Ethical options can't be based on the supposed word of a nonexistent god. And laws shouldn't be, either. All law should be based on a social contract, and that means realistic philosophy (logic) has to come into play.. It's logically certain that the only place in the universe where ethical concepts exist is inside the brains of living sentient beings or in the contracts they make with each other. All questions and answers about what's right and wrong are therefore the exclusive province of living sentient beings. So, as long as each person is still alive and doesn't want to die, to him it's wrong to kill him, and, if he abides by a social contract, it's wrong to every participant in that contract. Personal or community standards may make killing distasteful in any case, but ethics are not cosmically defined. Ethics are an expedient human concept, and when nonparticipants become dangerous or destructively disruptive, perhaps willful bullies threatening weaker members of a community, then community ethics may logically call for their expedient elimination.
Nonparticipants are not legitimate partners in the community, after all, so killing dangerous nonparticipants may be considered as the perfectly logical, ethical and expedient extermination of pests - if not exactly, at least reasonably like shooting rattlesnakes or mad dogs - or pulling noxious weeds.
Again, don't put words in my mouth and agree with your own words. I'm not likely to exterminate anybody or anything except 6-legged and 8-legged varmints that trespass into my apartment. And if, out of defensive desperation, we hold a citizens meeting for the purpose, my nominations for the extermination of human bugs might surprise you.
Capital Punishment Is An Illogical Phrase
Extensive research (or all the research effort I wanted to expend on the subject) has convinced me that NOBODY knows why the word capital is used to describe punishment that results in death. Guesses by lumpen blog-board bloggers should not be taken seriously. But that's OK. My quarrel here is with the word punishment.
The squashed flea has not been "punished;" it has only been exterminated. It feels no remorse for its crimes. The damned thing felt no remorse before it was exterminated, either, and that was certainly part of its crime. And just as squashing it did nothing for the pain already inflicted, it did nothing to erase its previous perversity, either.
However, squashing it did end its potential to bite again. It also ended its damnable arrogance, but that's only in our minds. Which has some value, but, as for the flea, once dead, it's clearly indifferent. It cannot be said to have learned its lesson. Both its potential sharp bite AND its damned shamelessness have been exterminated together. To the flea, if the flea still had a viewpoint, which it doesn't, it has actually been delivered from its own pain (which we don't care about but it must have had some), so we've done it as much good as harm (i.e. neither of either), and its damned shamelessness is just gone, unreplaced by anything - not by humility, regret, a new non-biting friendliness - not by anything.
Sloppy use of English confuses all issues. It may be impossible to communicate with most humans, anyway, but, surely, no kind of confusion helps. And unnecessary, extraneous confusion is surely expendable.
Take, for instance, the case of what's sloppily called capital "punishment." Flea, rattle snake, mad dog, suicide bomber, serial killer, hit man, vampire, or bloodthirsty soldier or cop using his uniform as a license to brutalize and kill - it's all the same. To kill the offender effectively eliminates his offensiveness. But it doesn't punish or penalize him. Once dead, he's probably the only one left at the execution scene NOT suffering. And he hasn't been taught a lesson. Don't let religion or delusions of an afterlife confuse you. Once dead, the flea is indifferent. Of course, along with no longer being dangerous, he is no longer UNpunished, either, but so what? That's in our heads. In reality, he is neither punished nor unpunished. But the threat he posed has been ended.
Vicious and dangerous beasties (including human rattlesnakes and mad dogs) should be exterminated NOT to punish them but to protect ourselves from them by ending their dangerousness. To call their very expedient and justifiable extermination punishment is illogical, and it confuses the issue and all related issues.
The Insanity Plea is Insane
and psychiatrists who argue the concept in court are absurd
Clearly, contrary to law, it's the crazy (insane) or conscience-free killer - the human mad dog who is dangerous to the rest of us precisely because he's crazy - or conscience-free - who should be exterminated, while it's the rational, normally civilized person who kills for a good reason and will never kill again who should be at least considered for amnesty - especially if he killed a human rattlesnake who obviously needed to be killed.
Maybe, on this page, I've gone off your screen, huh? Or maybe I've surprised you by going off an official story screen you secretly know you shouldn't be on but are afraid to object to because the absurd arguments of psychiatrists, which you secretly know are absurd, are routinely admitted and dignified in court by scary judges representing the official establishment that so overwhelms you that you habitually accept all the absurd official stories you're expected to accept.
Or maybe I just exceeded your own chosen objective truth tolerance limit. Well, that's what I keep doing and why you should go on reading this site - if you can read it. If you can't read it, maybe there's nothing to be done about that except to advise you not to contribute to any conversations.
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