"Violence and bloodshed can never have morally good results." Do you agree? Disagree? Why?"Violence and bloodshed can never have morally good results." Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If true, wars would be immoral. Most people agree that wars are part of our society and it's not immoral to kill in a war. It's an extension of the concept that it's ok to use violence I'm self-defense. You can kill someone who attacks you or your loved ones and it is considered not just moral but brave. The same is true in war.
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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I think that the use of violence to try and force your beliefs on other people is wrong and that no good will likely come from it. I also feel that there are times when violent acts must be used to defend against someone else using violence to try and impose their beliefs on people. As someone else mentioned, Hitler used violence to impose his ideas on the world. The rest of the world had no real choice other than to use violence to prevent this.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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So many situations in life come down to the basic concept of the weak and the strong.  If the U.S. had not beefed up the nuclear weapons with horrific potential, the U.S.S. R. might not have backed down in its threats.  At times, it is indeed necessary to be pragmatic and fight evil with "any means necessary."  The problem is that often politicians argue the necessity for wars when these necessities are not real, and in these situations people see no moral good for violence.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Many have made the obvious point that in war, though violence and bloodshed are a large part, often something morally positive has resulted.  I think this can be taken out of the context of war as well.  Though violence and bloodshed by nature would be considered negative, devastating, and largely morally wrong, the truth is, it often takes something as severe as death to implement real change.

A very easy religious/literary example is that of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Whether you are a believer in the truth of this story or not, certainly it cannot be ignored that his death was incredibly violent.  However, as a result, hundreds of thousands (millions, probably) would consider their lives and the purpose of their lives changed for the better.  This example is considered by many to be the greatest display of love the world has ever known.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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This is a hard one because when I think of the Crusades, WWI, WWII and all the other huge moments of deep chaos and conflict the only thing I wonder is whether anything near morality can be infused with violence and bloodshed.

However, I do agree with a previous poster in that war does come with violence and bloodshed, and that is sometimes the last resort we have and must take to be able to resolve a situation that may involve crimes against humanity. I am 100% pro-military and I know that our boys have seen a number of violent act and bloodshed. They are still working under their system of values and morals, for the good of the country. So, it is indeed hard to take sides on this one.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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I disagree with the poster who says violence and bloodshed are never morally right. Sometimes these are the only way to achieve a moral victory. Removing Hitler and other politicians involved in genocide have been bloody and violent actions, but they were moral actions. The idea of the greater good for the greater number seems implicitly moral.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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If something is morally wrong, does it follow that it is not the right course of action? Killing and violence are never morally right but they are frequently necessary in today's world. Morals tend to view things from a black and white perspective. Something is either wrong or right. The world doesn't work that way. There is a lot of gray in our imperfect society. Is it wrong to kill someone? Yes. Is it right to let them kill you or harm others? No. We have to make a choice whether we follow strict moral dictates or we do what is best for society.
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creativethinking | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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I absolutely love wrestling with the questions of ethics, and I've had my own conundrums with this particular question as well. I hope you'll share your own views with us as the discussion goes on--it's so fascinating to see how people create their own structures and limits when it comes to good and evil!

I have two parts, really, to my opinon. The first is this: Violence and bloodshed are inherently morally wrong. It is wrong to inflict pain upon another person. It is wrong to take a life that is not yours. It is wrong to do intentional harm to a human being, regardless of what they have done. As a lifelong pacifist, this is truly what I believe. "Thou shalt not kill"--this idea, tied directly to Judeo-Christian tradition but also reflected in some way by nearly all major religious and philosophical traditions, is a fairly direct mandate. It's surprisingly difficult to accept, but also straightforward as the day is long. It seems that people determined early on that violence is inextricably linked to evil.

That being said, and as pohnpei397 pointed out, there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances in which, to prevent a great evil, violence and bloodshed are deemed necessary. What's tricky is that line: what is atrocious enough to make violence truly NEEDED? For some, it may be to stop a world war. For others, it may be to prevent their families from coming to harm. The problem is that such decisions require us to put comparative worth on different human lives. This creates some ethical snags. But one could argue that sitting back and allowing wrongdoing is just as unethical as taking action. What to do?!

Here's how I resolve the conflict in my brain. In these extreme circumstances, someone must take a heroic fall. Someone who steps up to deliver violence upon another in the name of the "greater good" must accept that what he/she is doing is, on some level, evil. However, this person heroically accepts the role of "dark knight" and all the baggage it entails because of the unflagging belief that the end result is worth it. This type of violence, in my eyes, is still wrong. But it may stop a greater wrong, which makes the action partially justified.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I do not agree with this statement at all.

It is clearly not true that no morally good results can come from violence.  The most obvious example of this is World War II.  Because of the Allies' willingness to use violence, the Holocaust was stopped and Nazi Germany was overthrown.  This must surely be a morally good result.

One could argue that initiating violence (rather than defending oneself) can never have a morally good result.  However, I do not think that is true either.  To look at our previous example, if some country had invaded Germany before WWII started, the Holocaust could have been prevented altogether.  That surely would have been a morally good result.

Because there is evil in the world, violence can be necessary.  Violence deployed against evil people can have morally good results.

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snowfox55 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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I do not agree with this statement at all.

It is clearly not true that no morally good results can come from violence.  The most obvious example of this is World War II.  Because of the Allies' willingness to use violence, the Holocaust was stopped and Nazi Germany was overthrown.  This must surely be a morally good result.

One could argue that initiating violence (rather than defending oneself) can never have a morally good result.  However, I do not think that is true either.  To look at our previous example, if some country had invaded Germany before WWII started, the Holocaust could have been prevented altogether.  That surely would have been a morally good result.

Because there is evil in the world, violence can be necessary.  Violence deployed against evil people can have morally good results.

let's take a look at your example.  you think that to prevent the death of a million people (app.) it is okay to kill 2 million people (app. hiroshima and nagasaki)?  Violence is never the answer

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