Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stop Being Selfish, Eat More Babies.

  In my essay Idealism vs. Pragmatism, I mentioned that I had once argued with my whole AP World History class that the satirical essay A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, which lays out an argument for eating babies, was a good idea and should be enacted in those circumstances. If you have not read it, follow the link and take a gander. It's not too long, and it's insanely intelligent and entertaining. I shall write from now on under the assumption that you have read it.
  My argument rests on one solid fact: the babies would die anyway. In the circumstances laid out in the essay, the parents are not able to care for the babies due to their poverty and depravity. In fact, at that rate, not only would the babies die, but so would the parents. However, I would like to point out that, if we sacrifice the babies, the resulting food and products would benefit the rich while the money would save the parents' lives and, indeed, even bring them out of their squalor.
  I know what you're thinking: "But, Adarsh, that's KILLING BABIES! That's, like, literally the worst thing ever!" I would agree completely if the babies would be alive unless we killed them. The moral culpability of killing babies OBVIOUSLY outweighs the benefits of leather and money. However, the babies are as good as dead anyway. If you still refuse to kill the babies, that seems to be caused by selfishness on your part.
  Think about it, if either both the babies AND the parents will die, or just the babies will die, it seems to be the obviously more moral decision to save at least the parents. If you refuse to save at least the parents, it must be because you just don't want the blood on your own hands. It seems awfully selfish to me to let parents die just to keep your own conscience clean. Now, I've never had a problem with people being selfish, I always say, as long as they ACKNOWLEDGE that they are being selfish. Selfishness is in human nature. If you insist on keeping your conscience clean, that's fine by me.
  Now, that was slightly facetious of me. There is a morally relativistic approach to my argument that could be compellingly countered. Jason, the moral absolutist, would say that it's better to do nothing and let people die than to kill people to save people. Or he would at least say that both are equally morally bad, so you should "flip a coin" to decide which to act on. Personally, I think that that's a compelling argument for moral relativism. I'm pretty sure the parents would rather live if their babies will die either way, and "But I'm a moral absolutist," won't really be a valid excuse for them. Just a hunch.

Eat that baby, baby!
- Adarsh Nednur

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