Sometimes I try to keep up to date on national events and politics, and there have been some interesting questions for the recent presidential debates, such as: If you could travel back in time, would you abort baby Hitler?
How utterly pointless and strange it is for any candidate to answer a question that has nothing to do with becoming the next president of the United States of America, but let us for a moment take into consideration this silly question.
Not because The Land of The Free depends on it, but more on a philosophical and moral standpoint. If the ability to eliminate an infant who would become one of the most devastating figures in history were possible, is it reasonable to murder the child? Jeb Bush would agree, and so would many, understanding the consequences of letting the young Hitler go free. Ben Carson, on the other hand, has no desire to kill baby Hitler, or even abort him if he had to make the decision.
Throughout all this hilarity and parodies that have sprung from this particular question, I would have to side with the neurosurgeon.
Now, I will for the most part keep certain social stances of mine anonymous while providing my reason for why I believe in not killing baby Hitler in order to avoid skewing off topic into something like abortion.
The ridiculousness of it does give a fascinating opening to a little principle called Double Effect, and to summarize it as simply as possible, it is the idea that the ends justify the means.
For example, if drones were used to assassinate terrorists but it accidentally kills innocent civilians in the process, would this be alright as it successfully eradicates terrorists who could potentially be the cause for many more deaths of innocent people?
Of course the opposite of the solution in the principle of double effect would be that the attempt of doing good would only result in a bad or worse conclusion than expected.
This relates back to Carson’s answer on the little dictator subject, that by keeping the baby alive on a moral basis such as pro-life, it will only doom the future with catastrophe and death.
The appeal for the former would seem like the most logical reaction, but I beg to differ!
I can understand how the ends justify the means in either an extreme situation. The drone strikes is an effort to kill enemies who could possibly be a large threat (and has been) for the United States, and in doing so accidentally murders by-standers who most likely want nothing to do with the terrorists in Islamic countries. Drones are programmed and controlled to target specific individuals, but malfunctions and slip-ups may happen and…. “Woops, sorry about that!”.
The biggest problem with this tactic is that despite the intent being good, I feel it falls short of being the future of warfare against these organizations to an extent. I strongly believe that action and force is needed to stop them, but not in this way. The effects may be good temporarily but the reactions by the people affected by it is permanent.
War is horrible, innocent civilians will perish, but if it can bring about peace against chaotic forces, I support it. The situation for such a war is extreme and it allows some options for reconstruction once weariness has been settled. The war on terrorists is not necessarily a war and by far a decent-ending one. Those countries are corrupted for the most part, their government is basically unable to control these viruses, so no matter how many you could kill, the lack of regulation and control would only let them rise again, perhaps stronger than before. The citizens are most likely against these tactics of drone strikes and even resent them to the point of declining help from the people who are killing the terrorists.
This is only a small fraction of how drone strikes cannot solve the terrorist issue, because there is no real planning or any sort of involvement that would help reconstruct those countries.
To finally support my choice of why killing the baby dictator is silly, is similar to why I oppose these drone strikes.
Why is killing the infant the only option? It’s a baby, he has no reason or idea of having a blood-thirsty need to murder Jews. Is it not better to try to push the child into a direction of civil and moral goodness at a different point of their life? The possibility of another “Hitler” to spring up is as likely as any other possibility IF one were to choose to kill the infant.
Many paths can be taken and all could go horribly wrong, whether it be the intent of good or bad.
There are certain, specific, and limiting scenarios that the idea of Double Effect could work, but it is not an alternative I would dose on a daily basis.