On the Virtues of Loving Children - Fluorescent Dreams Wax Cylinders
23rd of August, 2006
9:12 - On the Virtues of Loving Children
In pseudomanitou's LJ, iisaw pointed to On the Virtues of Killing Children by Grim. It's an imaginary dialogue between Grim and "a peaceful, gentle soul" about a virtue for warriors of not caring whether children -- even your own children -- die.
Here's a summary:
Gentle Soul: How can you justify killing innocent children?
Grim: Let us say that there is the possibility we shall kill a child -- but we shall do our best not to do so -- and only the possibility that they will kill our child, but it is their aim. Now, should we try to stop them -- though risking their child? Or should we refuse, and take the increased risk that they will succeed in their murder, since no one dares disrupt them?
Gentle Soul: It is always wrong to take the risk of killing a child, because it endangers the innocent.
Grim: You are wrong. It is best that we bomb without fear. When the enemy seeks to kill our child to motivate us to surrender to his will, is it not because he believes that the danger to the children will move our hearts? He knows that we fear for the children, even his children. It is our love of these innocents that endangers them. If we did not care if our children died, they would not be targets. There would be no reason to target them, because we would not be moved by their deaths.
Gentle Soul: If we cannot love them, without wrongfully endangering them -- what can we do?
Grim: We must pursue war without thought of the children. We must not turn aside from the death of the innocent, but push on to the conclusion, through all fearful fire. If we do that, the children will lose their value as hostages, and as targets: if we love them, we must harden our hearts against their loss. Ours and theirs. We can only do, and pray, that when we are done we may be forgiven.
(Yes, this summary is accurate. Please do read the original article, if you don't believe me.)
Well, I can write strawmen, too!
Why Grim's philosophy requires that no one love their children
Chip: If our nation were to follow your philosophy, should the disregard for children be real, or just be a ruse?
Strawman Grim: It must be true, lest our compassion for our children be used against us.
Chip: And do you recommend that this philosophy be limited to our warriors, or should this philosophy be part of all members of the society?
Strawman Grim: I don't understand.
Chip: Let me ask it this way. If most of the population were not of your philosophy, might they not attempt to interfere? In your philosophy, might not their misguided efforts to save the enemy's children interfere with the battle, possibly causing a fight that could have been won to be lost -- due to the presence of the enemy's children?
Strawman Grim: Ah. Yes, then. I wrote my post, so that this philosophy be part of all the population.
Chip: Fair enough. But are not the initial conditions that caused the battle, the chance that an enemy might attack our own children? If only we could eliminate this first condition, might not we be invulnerable to that kind of attack?
Strawman Grim: What kind of person could say that?
Chip: You yourself said, "It must be... that we pursue war without thought of the children. That we do not turn aside from the death of the innocent, but push on to the conclusion, through all fearful fire. If we do that, the children will lose their value as hostages, and as targets: if we love them, we must harden our hearts against their loss. Ours and theirs." Does this philosophy not demand that we ignore danger to our own children?
Strawman Grim: But I also said, "Love should always rise, above war and fear and death. Love should always be first, and not last, in our hearts --"
Chip: But does not you philosophy say that would leave a terrible threat hanging over us? Could not our enemies use our love for our children against us, in your philosophy?
Strawman Grim: They could. It is our love that is the chief danger to the innocent now -- to our own innocents, and theirs also.
Chip: Therefore, in your philosophy, even non-soldiers must put aside love even to their own children.
Strawman Grim: That, sadly, is so.
Why his philosophy makes for worse soldiers
Chip: Grim's philosophy assumes that protecting children would cause soldiers to become weak and unwilling to fight. I disagree. In your experience, who would be the more vicious fighter -- a wolf trying to catch dinner, or a wolf trying to protect her cubs?
Generic Strawman (because I'm going far beyond what Grim actually wrote): The wolf protecting her cubs.
Chip: Who do a better job: those who merely follow orders, or those with a personal passion for their job?
Generic Strawman: Those with a personal passion.
Chip: And is there a greater personal passion than a person protecting their children?
Generic Strawman: I can think of none.
Chip: Neither can I. When a person thinks that their children are threatened, they will do anything to protect their children: kill, or even sacrifice themselves if it gives their children a better chance.
Generic Strawman: You are truly Colbertian in your analysis.
Chip: And I'm abusing my strawman almost as much as political cartoonists do.
Take care, all.