Tuesday, August 7, 2018

If you condemn Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the grounds of consequentialism

It goes down easier if you don't defend your support for a political party that officially advocates the culture of death on the grounds that it is for the greater good of defeating Trump. 

Just saying.


  1. It also seems like most of the arguments against the death penalty are on rather consequentialist grounds...

    1. If you think of it, the whole 'poverty leads to abortion' is a backhanded 'consequentialism' argument. She aborts the baby for the greater good of not suffering financially. Which, while technically wrong, is somehow logically the consequence of poverty. Or at least not wanting to lose money. Which apparently is more understandable than lying to save a child from murder or using the justice system to resort to execution to protect the innocent. Go figure.

  2. On the topic of Mark Shea, I saw this interesting comment on his blog (not by him, but since he upvoted it, I think it's fair to assume that he agrees with its contents):

    > My question to them: What do you lose by just agreeing with the Church here?
    I think I can answer for them (I was one of them).
    What they lose by accepting this "development" is some idea (and some sense of security) to which they are attached. Conservatives tend to get attached to abstractions. The abstraction is that the moral universe in which we live can be described by an inmutable taxonomy of genres of acts, some of which can be categorized as "good" or "bad" (and History doesn't play any role here).
    This (inmutable) core of "norms" can be qualified by the "circumstances", which are historical and particular... but these are merely like accidents over the substance, and cannot make a bad (by its genre) act, good.
    Conservative catholics, in addition to the above, wish to imagine that the Church has a priviledged knowledge of that abstract moral world, and the mision of authoritatively teaching it.
    (Many catholics, even in this comboxes, even those who respect and sincerely want to follow the Pope, automatically try to water down this -authentic- development, telling themselves that the Church has not changed anything in her moral judgement about the death penalty "in itself", the only thing that has changed are the historical circumstances).
    It's too hard for them to accept that the Church believed and taught, N centuries ago, that death penaly (or slavery) was not evil, and that she teaches now that it is evil.
    To (truly) accept this "development" as such, to accept that the moral judgements of the Church are not like mathematical theorems, to accept that the Church has also to learn -along with the humanity- makes the Church unbearably "weak" in their eyes.
    And they abhor weakness as much as they love abstractions.

    Now, I'm no expert, but I was under the impression that "the Church has a priviledged knowledge of that abstract moral world, and the mision of authoritatively teaching it" was basic ecclesiology. As for the pooh-poohing of the claim that "some [kinds of acts] can be categorized as "good" or "bad"", the mind really does boggle... Wasn't this reaffirmed by John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor? And doesn't Mark quote this very encyclical in the very thread to which this comment is appended? And doesn't the portion quoted by Mark explicitly say that "Reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God"?

    I don't know, it's like there's no rational thought going on whatsoever, but Mark's just started with his conclusion -- "Conservatives are stupid and evil" -- and is reaching for any argument or viewpoint which might justify that, no matter how much it contradicts his other arguments.

    1. I get the impression the quote is by a skeptic sort of 'poo-pooing' the Church in general. At least seeming to take a 'worst interpretation' of those conservatives bothered by this development. I could be wrong.


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