Does the end ever justify the means?

Suppose a group of extremists acquired a brand new weapon of mass destruction which was environmentally safe but which could wipe out the entire population of some nation of, say, 300 million in a day? Would those extremists hesitate and deliberate about the ethics of such a horrific mass destruction? Somehow, I don’t think so.

Well, for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that America had such a weapon and that in the course of say a week an entire list of nations would be … gone, and that geography would be repopulated with settlers from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and various Scandinavian nations. I know people would want to compare that to Hitler and the concentration camps. But how is it really so cruel? How is it like Hitler? This new weapon would be very merciful and painless. No one would even know what hit them.

OR, even better, let us imagine a biological weapon which was specific to certain genes of certain ancestries and did not kill but simply rendered a population sterile. Now, violence and terrorism would continue for 40 or 50 years until people became too elderly. And then, they would just fade away like the ancient Egyptians; a mere memory in a history book and a museum.

You are probably laughing at me and yet you KNOW that genetic engineering might make such a “weapon” possible. The Earth has about 7 billion right now. Suppose some powerful group with the means, the window of opportunity, decided that a population of 1 billion might continue on Earth for another 10,000 years (possibly even in harmony with the ecosystem) BUT a population of 7 billion with widespread terrorism would be doomed to extinction; the extinction of the human race. No more Plato. No more Shakespeare or Mozart. No more Mark Twain or I Love Lucy reruns. Just GONE … all gone.

If that were YOUR choice, tomorrow, would you choose extinction with honor (free from the guilt of such weaponry) OR would you choose survival of a portion of human culture for another 10,000 years but at the price of a deplorable act? No one in the world seems to be bothered by the fact that the former Belgian Congo, former Zaire, has been in constant warfare for the past 20 years and more have died than in all of World War II both sides. Why should we care? Perhaps actor Ben Affleck cared enough to take some action. But no one else seems to really care.

How are those deaths any more or less heinous than what I describe. Now, remember, I am suggesting that NEEDLESS death century after century is evil because it is death which accomplishes nothing. BUT deaths which make possible a 1000 year peace.. are such deaths any more horrible than the Congo or Rwanda? Are any of you REALLY willing to argue for some absolute morality in the face of the thousands of years of human atrocity which has taken place or is all morality really relative and circumstantial? Does the end sometimes justify the means?


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