This is another ethical “why is it wrong to eat babies?” think-piece, just in case anyone needs clarification. If you’ve not heard of the eating babies question, it’s basically an example of the abstract philosophical proposition, in which we use a deliberately extreme and outrageous example to evaluate whether certain axioms still hold true under ALL circumstances.
After all, one of the chief roles of philosophy is to help us understand the logic of morality, and looking under the bonnet of morality involves getting our hands dirty, being prepared to confront all forms of crime and punishment, sometimes in squeamish detail.
So today’s entry is filed under Philosophical Discussion, and it’s a closer look at the ethical pros and cons of using guns to prevent the Hendy wind scammers from damaging the planet.
Whenever it comes to a philosophical discussion on guns, the intellectual framework of Hegelian Dialectic is especially evident: the debate is a particularly polarised dichotomy between thesis and antithesis, with not a lot of room for people to formulate their own middle-way syntheses.
The US and the UK between them provide us both the necessary legal and ethical thesis and antithesis of the great firearms dialectic, and as such the default reactions of my US and UK readers may well reflect these two opposing positions.
In other words, more Americans than not will look at the title above and think, “Of course, it’s a no-brainer. If someone is breaking the law, and shooting them would stop them, then why on earth wouldn’t you?” That’s the basic thesis of American gun law. You’re allowed to carry a firearm and use it to defend yourself or others from criminal acts.
UK readers, on the other hand, might instead recoil at the initial neurolinguistic impact of the word “gun” (one could even say it’s a “loaded” term, ahem). The American thesis that a gun is a vital defensive weapon is the antithesis to mainstream UK social attitudes, and indeed the law of the land.
The difference between thesis and antithesis when it comes to gun ownership is so great, that as a Truth Seeker, I realise that it’s essential to formulate my own synthesis, clearly starting with UK law and cultural norms, as that’s where I live, but also taking into account the US antithesis to these norms, and understanding that there IS another side to the story: gun ownership gives us each a degree of strength and power that is severely lacking in those cultures like the UK where guns are generally banned. Gun ownership makes it easier for us to stand up to political oppression. Gun ownership is an equaliser – a disabled person can take out the best athlete in the world with just one bullet.
So there are plenty of arguments in favour of gun ownership, and conversely there are severe risks to the population if it is not able to defend itself with guns. Unfortunately, wind farms prove the point: an armed population would be much more able to defend its cherished landscapes from wind scammers.
Now clearly UK law does not allow personal gun ownership, unless specific conditions are adhered to, and even then shooting a human dead would generally be classed as murder. Where it becomes an interesting ethical and legal dilemma for me, and what I’d like to discuss philosophically in this blog, is the following question:
If the Hendy wind scammers are already engaging in unlawful construction works, would it still be illegal to shoot them, in order to prevent any further law-breaking?
In addition to the legal dilemma, there are also some fascinating ethical questions to be asked:
- If the law is toothless in preventing the Hendy scammers from damaging the Earth, would the risk of getting shot act as sufficient deterrent to scare the developers away from the site?
- At what point would shooting the Hendy scammers become the most ethical course of action?
- Would the ethics of shooting the Hendy wind scammers dead be worse than simply shooting them in a limb in order to physically incapacitate them?
- Is the morality of aiming bullets at the Hendy wind scammers worse than aiming bullets at their machinery in order to place it beyond use?
- Are there certain individuals who it would be more or less ethical to shoot than others? (Some might argue that it’d ethically wrong to shoot a young work experience lad, arguing instead that the site foreman is the rightful target).
In order to answer these questions, we need a shared moral code which provides guidance and reasoning in determining the most ethical course of action in any situation.
I have described the Hendy wind scammers as acting in breach of our shared ethical code (which officially derives, in our Judeo-Christian society, from the teachings of the New Testament). I have previously mentioned before the ethical guidance I personally take from Jesus in relation to the inappropriate industrialisation of our invaluable upland landscapes: “Take these things away! Stop making my Father’s house a place of business!” (John 2:16). Although Jesus didn’t use a gun to help him shoo the market traders out of the churches, he certainly didn’t have a problem kicking over their tables and physically vandalising their unwanted commercial junk, ie using superior force to damage and overpower the invaders.
I think it’s fair to say that murder is murder, and actually killing the Hendy scammers would undoubtedly be both morally and legally wrong. Using guns to immobilise them and enforce their removal from the site, however, is not so obviously unethical.
Clearly the Hendy wind scammers are not only in breach of the law, but also the basic standards of morality set out in the New Testament. Surely, under these circumstances, where we have actual evidence of sociopathic predators acting illegally and immorally… well, according to the American way, shouldn’t we be allowed to shoot them?
It just seems somewhat arbitary, unfair, logically inconsistent and ethically out of step with the teachings of Jesus, that on this side of the Atlantic citizens are denied the right to forcibly remove unwanted market traders from our places of strong connection to the Creator of the Earth. You don’t even need to believe in God to understand the logic that our unspoilt uplands provide some of our closest connections to nature, and those who would spoil these places for profit are a predatory threat that needs removing.
The most ethical course of action must surely be to get rid of the Hendy predators and their unwanted industrial trash. If there is anyone in Britain who has the authority to lawfully use guns to enforce their retreat, I do implore them to step up and act on behalf of us who are itching to do the right thing morally, but at this moment are prevented from legally doing so.