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← Genocide: What is behind irrational evil perpetrated by ordinary people?

hungarianelephant's Avatar Jump to comment 113 by hungarianelephant

Comment 111 by Zeuglodon :

Between potentially ruining somebody's life (including your own) and reducing your short-term pleasure, it's really a no-brainer unless you're so foolish in the heat of the moment that you can't be trusted.

Of course it is. But lots of people get no-brainer decisions hopelessly wrong. Who, born any time after about 1950, can possibly think it is a good idea to smoke? Add brain-altering substances like ethanol to the mix, and all the clever calculations are in the toilet. Perhaps you personally are a paragon of virtue, and have with absolute fastidiousness used a condom at every opportunity. Possibly even two, for all I know. As for the rest of us, the statistics are not encouraging.

STIs are the risk of sexual activity, but that statistic looks deceptive. If, for example, half a million Americans died of AIDS within the scope of, say, 50 years, it's hardly fair to compare that with about 58,000 American-only military deaths within 20 years. It's like comparing deaths in the home to military deaths - how many opportunities are there for death by falling down the stairs as opposed to death in wartime? And out of a population of how many? Is that 58,000 out of the entire American military force or the entire American population? Were the deaths randomly scattered or clustered around specific events?

I'm not sure what point you are making here. That hundreds of thousands of dead is not so bad, really?

The comparison is not like with like, or to assert that sexual freedom is more dangerous than war. The point is that in absolute numbers, the body count ought surely to raise some moral questions.

There's a tendency to hand-wave these questions away by saying that they can be mitigated against. Yes, and you could virtually eliminate road deaths by imposing a rigid 30kmh limit. Could you make the mitigation stick? Maybe, maybe not. (And the reason I mention road deaths is because the answer there is obviously not.) I favour sexual freedom even if you couldn't. Do you?

Fri, 13 Apr 2012 16:48:48 UTC | #934452