On Taking Life
Post from February 14, 2015 (↻ June 8, 2021), filed under Philosophy.
Sometimes I’m quite gladly an idealist.
No one has the right to take life, except his own.
Taking life is unacceptable.
The most condemnable form of taking life is the industrial form.
The most pathetic form of taking life is the remote form, that is, killing through others, or from a distance.
The only ever defensible forms of taking life are by unavoidable accident, euthanasia, or self-defense, unless combined with other forms of killing.
Taking human life, aiding to take human life, and ordering to take human life under any circumstance other than unavoidable accident, euthanasia, or self-defense are crimes that should carry maximum sentences (within a justice system that respects human rights, that allows fair process, and that knows forgiveness).
Taking animal life, aiding to take animal life, and ordering to take animal life under any circumstance other than unavoidable accident, euthanasia, self-defense, or carefully weighed wildlife management should be condemned socially and carry a range of sentences that should, in the case of industrial-like killing, carry medium to maximum sentences.
There is no justification for war and terrorism, and recruited participants shall refuse. Refusal to participate in war and terrorism may on short-sighted view be considered treason on respective community, but on far-sighted view it is a service to mankind.
The subject is most complex. It cannot be boiled down to a few theses, like those above, unless amended. But even with mentioned exceptions, including most carefully considered abortions, we cannot accept the killing of life. The default must be to respect, to cherish life. To work out any differences that otherwise appeal to start conflicts. To do everything we can to save and keep lives, alive.
What we should do now is to get help to those among us who suggest to take lives, to remove them from power and submit them to psychiatric treatment. It can only be considered mentally ill to seriously consider killing someone. And that, by the way, also goes for torture.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have questions or suggestions about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message.
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Perhaps my most interesting book: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer (2013). During my time in the States I started trying everything. Everything. Then I noticed that wasn’t only fun, it was also useful. Available at Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.