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This Essay Discusses The Question Of Ethics When It Pertains To Taking Part In A War.

1120 words - 4 pages

Can an ethical individual take part in a war?Turning this question around in my mind, trying to think of it in a critical manner, and researching others' thoughts on the matter, I have concluded that there cannot be a true and valid answer to this question.To take part in a war in which you will be in battle leads to killing, violence, the end of life. To take life, I believe that you must make the subject subhuman. In saying this, I mean that human beings are unable to kill just anyone. Now there are exceptions in that people with certain psychological problems may find it easier than others to kill. In this conversation, I am excluding those individuals as they are the exception. Normal minded human beings cannot take human life under normal circumstances. They must view the subject in a manner that is subhuman. In Vietnam, the term "gook" was popular. In portraying these people as something other than human, it is easier to kill them. No longer are they people, cousins, fathers, sons, mothers; now they are only the "gooks." The term "nigger" was also very popular in making African Americans less than human in order to punish, harm, and destroy them. This de-humanization has not only been used against races but also against people with preferences that are not viewed as the norm. "Fags" and "dykes" has been used to de-humanize homosexuals and make it easier for the rest of society to slander and attack these people.To question whether or not an ethical person could use these derogatory and de-humanizing terms in order to ease the decision to taking part in a war, is complicated at best. I believe that warfare could have a great ethical value precisely because war has the unique power to make people self-conscious of the values of civil society; to see that those values are merely relative, and to adopt new values which provide the utmost challenge to a person's subjectivity and particularity. War does this by providing a social context in which by risking one's life and therefore one's place in civil society, family, and status as an ethical agent, it is possible for one to freely choose to advance the universal common interest in lieu of every individual personal interest. In this way I believe that the ethicality of a person is relative. We live in a society - a state. If a person is ethical within themselves then they are loyal to their society and the people that make up their society. If they abandon their society in times of war to remain ethical within themselves, then how can they remain ethical within the society? In this way, the ethicality of an individual may be relative. Hegel believes that war, or at least the possibility of war, serves to expose and destroy pockets of injustice and corruption which inevitably develop in a stabilized civil society. Thus he writes that war "preserves the ethical health of peoples" in the same way that the "blowing of winds preserve the sea from the foulness which would be the result of a prolonged...

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