Socio-Economic Cults (Re: Cypherpunk Cults)

John Smith jsmith58 at
Thu Aug 28 15:45:11 PDT 1997

>pick up the shotgun you keep in the closet by the front door and say, 
>I have commited a crime, then arrest me. Otherwise, get off of my
>property." The LEA's reply, "You just made a big mistake, bud." Twenty
>minutes later they return with a fifty agents with automatic rifles and
>orders to shoot to kill the "spy".
>Of course, if he just "went along quietly", he would have spent a few
>years rotting in an "internment camp" while his business failed or he 
>his job to someone fortunate enough to have immigrated from Italy or
>Germany instead of Japan. That's better than endangering the lives or
>yourself and your family, right?

Good description of the problem.  Nicely drawn.

>You might feel that the example that you responded to was a bit too
>simplistically polemic, but I think for many people, especially those 
>this forum, your hypothetical situation is not at all an ethical 

The real ethical dilemma was with the principle that you are
ethically justified in shooting if you think your life is threatened.
I chose this example as one in which both sides feel that way.
There are many other cases I could have chosen.  Between the two
examples given earlier, the armed prowler and the rude jerk in the
next car, there are a whole range of difficult cases.

In the case at hand, you seem to be saying that it is unwise for the
Japanese man to shoot, especially if he has family.  But is it
wrong?  Suppose he has no family, and he chooses to shoot, then gets
killed himself for his troubles.  Can you say who is at fault?  There
is something wrong with an ethical system which says both sides were
justified in shooting.  Yet both sides feared for their lives, and
that was what was suggested as a justification.

Keep in mind too that we should try not to rely too much on
hindsight.  Camps like Manzanar were relatively benign.  But
instead of a Japanese American, consider a Jew in Poland.  He's in
the same situation.  Hindsight tells us that maybe he'd do better
to drive off the cops and then try to escape before they come back.
Few Jews anticipated that the internment they were sent to was going
to be any worse than how it turned out for the Japanese Americans.
So if you want to say that the Japanese was not justified in shooting
because the camps were likely to be safe, the same would apply to
the Jew.


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