Friday, April 8, 2011

Shades of Gray

From Pharyngula, always a great read.  This must have been triggered by our involvement in long-distance death in Libya.

PZ Myers doesn't mince words, he's an all-out pacifist:

Sometimes, issues demand nuance. This is a complicated world and there are a great many subjects that simply aren't reducible to binaries - we do a disservice to the subtleties when we discard them in favor of absolutes. And often I can agree that we need depth and breadth of understanding if we're to navigate a difficult situation.

But sometimes the issues are black and white. Sometimes the answers are clear and absolute. And in those cases, attempts to bring out the watercolors and soften the story by blurring the edges do a disservice to reality. There are places where there are no ambiguities, and the only appropriate response is flat condemnation. And we witness them every day.

And PZ goes on to describe what it means to be a party to killing.  I've snipped a lot out, and you should click over to read it all.  He explores the queasy truth, that most of us can't and won't kill....yet we have few qualms about engaging proxies to kill for us, often at a distance. 

PZ Myers forces us to realize that it's still really our finger on the trigger.

I'm an extremist in this debate, I will freely confess. I hold an absolute view that no killing is ever justified, that individuals have the necessity to defend themselves against assailants, but that even that does not grant moral approval to snuffing out the life of another. Don't even try to pull out a scale and toss a copy of the Koran on one side and the life of a single human being on the other - the comparison is obscene. Do not try to tell me that some people are 'moderates' when they tolerate or even support and applaud war and death and murder for any cause, whether it is oil, or getting even, or defending the honor of wood pulp and ink.

The bone is bleached white. The flesh is burnt black. The blood splashes scarlet. You can't render it in grays and pastels without losing sight of the truth.

In the end, you sleep in the most notoriously uncomfortable of all beds, the one you make yourself.  PZ's post made me uncomfortable, and it should you as well.


No comments:

Post a Comment