Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Murder and Moral Hierarchy

John Scalzi is a clever man, and his post today is certainly not wrong, though it is the unfortunate sort of correct that makes you wish it didn't need to be said. One thing, also more true than not, caught my eye:

"2. Nothing excuses rape."
I am not, by any stretch, pro-rape, but what struck me is how rarely you hear such absolute denunciations for other crimes and moral lapses. Theft is the most noticeable counterexample as you can, apperantly, be justified in stealing from those wealthier than you, or from governments, or from the stupid depending on the cultural background of the story.

Imagine if you will a group of well armed men meeting together in secret then riding over to the home of another man who is much more poorly armed, much poorer, of a different religion and skin color and then proceed to kill that man, feed his corpse to the fishes, and then publicly brag that they took down a man who was responsible for damaging the American Way. This could be a nightmare from the height of the Klan, or it could be the work of Seal Team Six.

The point is neither to celebrate the Klan or shame the Seals. The point is that, unless my imagination fails me, the prohibition against rape is Stronger that the prohibition against murder. This is, of course, a sharp contrast to most of western history where rape was considered a form of property crime. The only similarly absolute prohibition that I can think of is slavery, which is again both a recent elevation and a violation of bodily autonomy.

While I am not presently at great risk of either manner of victimhood, being as I am astonishingly unattractive, profoundly lazy, and, more importantly, a wealthy, white male, I wonder if this isn't a worrisome direction in which we may lose sight of the Great Enemy in favor of lesser ailments. To put it another way, is it cruel to put a rape victim on suicide watch?

The only unqualified positive note I have for you is that this stands as evidence that Moldbug is right; Modern progressivism does descend directly from the Puritan Enlightenment tradition that animated the founding of this nation
"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

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