Tuesday, August 08, 2006

How to justify genocide

Learn here.


  1. I think that applying modern ethical standards to ancient wars is silly. On those days, it was really "slaighter or be slaughtered".

  2. No. I don't claim that is bad now was good then. What I say is that people back then have less options than we do now.

    For example, we would now criticize any air force for bombing whole cities, WW II style. Do we criticize RAF as well, for doing this in 1944? No, because back then they didn't have the option of striking their targets as precisely as can be done now.

    It's not only about what you choose, but also among what options.

  3. No, the analogy is not complete. They justify a wanton destruction of innocents, like in Num. 31 - without any military purpose whatsoever, and then, on purely utilitarian grounds (they couldn't have assimilated infants, etc., so it was OK to kill them).

  4. I'm talking about real history, not about Bible. Of course there was a lot of unnecessary carnage in history of warfare, and we aimed to diminish this carnage as civilization advanced.

    However. I can imagine that in a desert region in the Middle East, two tribes fight for resources. They both realize that the region can support, for example, 100,000 people. Their population combined is 200,000. What do you think, what solution will come to the mind of *both* tribe leaders?

    Killing children makes sense from this POV, because children grow into warriors and it's easier to kill a child than a grown warrior. Ditto women. One women can give birth to even 5 grown men. It is simply more productive to kill her than to wait for her 5 sons to come over and kill you, when they are strong and you are 20 years older.

    All this while knowing that you enemy has the same mentality and will not stop before doing the same to your people.

    (In a nutshell, this is what almost all current African "wars" are all about. Colonialism or not.)

    Those were times before our moral conventions developed. Expecting the ancient people to respect the conventions they knew nothing about... it's silly. It's great that we finally grew up and got the courage to act better even to our enemies. It's how we developed. Progress, no matter what postmodernists say, is good. But when we profit from it, let us do not look with spite on those who did not had the chance to do so.

  5. "I'm talking about real history, not about Bible."

    They're talking about the Bible.

    As for the rest - all I did was to classify it as genocide (and it was, although quite possibly only legendary), and to classify the posting and comment at that link as justification of this genocide.

    Everybody can decide for him/herself whether genocide is bad, good, justifiable, etc. I said nothing about this. ;-)


Please read our Comments Policy