Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

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Kayla
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Kayla » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:25 am

phyllo wrote:Finland was helping the Nazis. You can't avoid that fact. They could have done things differently but they made a choice to support Germany.
they asked the Western powers for help, repeatedly

they got a lot of support of moral variety only

the only thing they could have done differently is decided that submitting to genocidal aggression is a greater good so they should do it - this seems like taking utilitarian reasoning to total lunacy
If an individual Finnish soldier believes that the Soviet cause is preferable to the Nazi cause then he has an ethical issue because he is being ordered to help Nazism.
they were not helping to fight nazism they were defending their territory - and they knew what happens when a territory is taken over by the Soviets - they are a close neighbour to the baltic countries

yes them electing to defend their territory helped the nazis somewhat but i do not see how the fins had a moral obligation to give a shit about that when no one else in the world gave a shit about the fins
There is also the ethical issue of allowing Soviet prisoners to starve in camps.
that might have had something to do with the shortages of food in general

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HexHammer
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by HexHammer » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:28 am

Kayla is right, Finland chose the lesser evil, to defend their land, it wasn't because they wanted to be Nazi.

They didn't really have any choise but to join with Germany.

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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by phyllo » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:10 pm

There are several ideas presented here:

- Any action labeled as 'defensive' does not need to be examined. Any 'defensive' action is morally correct.

- A Finnish soldier would not be asked to do anything immoral or unethical.

- The personal morality of a Finnish soldier is identical to the state/society of Finland. Or should be.

Of course, you can substitute any nationality in place of Finnish/Finland.

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HexHammer
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by HexHammer » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:40 pm

phyllo wrote:There are several ideas presented here:

- Any action labeled as 'defensive' does not need to be examined. Any 'defensive' action is morally correct.

- A Finnish soldier would not be asked to do anything immoral or unethical.

- The personal morality of a Finnish soldier is identical to the state/society of Finland. Or should be.

Of course, you can substitute any nationality in place of Finnish/Finland.
Surely you are jesting?

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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by phyllo » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

No

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Kayla
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Kayla » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:06 am

phyllo wrote:- Any action labeled as 'defensive' does not need to be examined. Any 'defensive' action is morally correct.
the standard just war theory holds that the defensive action cannot do more harm than it aims to prevent

now someone may argue - in list of standard war theory - that had the Finns simply decided to submit to genocidal aggression fewer people overall would have died - given that finland's cooperation with germany gave germany a huge strategic edge for a while - and allowed, among other things, the siege of leningrad - in which alone a million or so people died

but can anyone be reasonably expected to think in those terms and to submit to destruction for the greater good of people who do not give a rat's ass about them

so i suppose there is an interesting philosophical question here

can finland's actions in ww2 be justified in terms of standard just war theory - and if not, does it matter

<quote>- A Finnish soldier would not be asked to do anything immoral or unethical.</quote>

unless i am badly mistaken, any violations of rules of war by the fins were trivial compared to those perpetrated by the germans and the soviets

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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Tusok » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:13 pm

Dear Hex, back on 2 Dec I said:
... entering the military does not mean sacrificing your values or ethics. It generally leads to strengthening them. Most decisions in the military are in fact of the highest standard. Where they fail is only where humanity fails - and you will find that fault in every single profession that has ever existed.

Tusok
And Hex, you wrote:
I'm afraid you don't know what you are talking about.
It has only in recent decades caused more unrest, the real peacemaker is trade.
You may have been in the Dutch military, but it seems to me that in a philosophical forum you should present a sound argument. You say I'm wrong and don't know what I'm talking about. You care to prove that? I'm listening.

Tusok

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:36 pm

John K wrote:
Tusok wrote:Gentlemen,

The disdain you all seem to have for one of our oldest and most refined professions alarms me.

The properly disposed military is what fundamentally keeps us safe to play on the internet and enjoy our back yards without fear.

Some of the finest people of the best character who have ever lived have donned the uniform of their nation, and worn it proudly.

Contrary to what many of you seem to feel, entering the military does not mean sacrificing your values or ethics. It generally leads to strengthening them. Most decisions in the military are in fact of the highest standard. Where they fail is only where humanity fails - and you will find that fault in every single profession that has ever existed.

Tusok

PS - There may be someone working for the court who is a marshal, but in the military, justice is always handed out through Court Martial. Martial is another word for military. There is no acceptable alternative words for this court.
The irony of the original post is who counters these "unethical" soldiers? More unethical soldiers? Vladimir Lenin wasn't afraid to crack a few skulls, all for an ideology. But it sure sounded good for a while... Too bad he (and Marx) didn't read their Schopenhauer; or if they did, they didn't understand it.
I'm quite sure Marx was well aware of Schopenhauer.
I'm not sure about Lenin.
What part of Schopenhauer do you think they missed.
And do you think that Schopenhauer's philosophy is simply a matter of fact that they simply have to accept?

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:40 pm

Whatever Finland was or was not doing is not relevant to the thread topic.
The fact is that governments change their alliances and people who have signed up have to face the fact that they are going to be legally obligated to kill people when they know it is wrong to do so.

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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by prof » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:35 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote:Whatever Finland was or was not doing is not relevant to the thread topic.
The fact is that governments change their alliances and people who have signed up have to face the fact that they are going to be legally obligated to kill people when they know it is wrong to do so.
Greetings, HC

Well said !

The best definition of "War" that I have seen is this:

War =df.= Organized mass-murder in the name of a noble cause.

This applies to the Just War as well.

Furthermore, Just War Theory teaches that a war is justified by a package of criteria, one of which is that your land must be invaded first; and another of which is that you engaged in war as a very last resort (after strenuous efforts at diplomacy and negotiation had all failed.)

I can't think of any U.S.A. war where these conditions were met. I had a deep conversation with a veteran, one of the last-surviving American veterans of World War II. He told me that he woke up to the fact that war is morally wrong when he looked across the trenches, in France, at the young German recruits' faces, and saw that they were as befuddled as he as to what sense it made that they were there shooting at each other. He realized then that they were draftees too - or naive volunteers - he had an insight about their common humanity. At that moment it dawned on him that war is crazy, totally an insane way for people to conduct themselves. He told me that he admired me for being a conscientious objector, and as a result doing some time in jail for it.

Those boys who volunteer for the armed forces in the USA today are for the most part quite uneducated, they do it because 'it's a family tradition' or because 'I admire an uncle who was a soldier.' They don't stop to consider the risk involved, they, in their gullibility, believe the propaganda they've heard about the glory of it all; they aren't mature. Many sign up as an opportunity to go to college, or for some other benefit promised them by a recruiter. Most all are economically poor. They have a misguided view as to how to be a patriot. They want to be patriotic, but are unaware of the relationship of ends to means. They don't have a sense of history as to how one war has led to another later on ...by sewing seeds of vengeance.

The theory of "counter-insurgency" is about "winning the hearts and minds of the people" and then killing them. Whereas the theory of "counter-terrorism" is just about killing them. What we call "an insurgent" they call "a freedom fighter." There is an obvious perception gap to be closed.

BOTTOM LINE:
The institution of war is itself immoral and unethical. Hence to participate in it is to commit an ethical fallacy.

.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:17 pm

prof wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:Whatever Finland was or was not doing is not relevant to the thread topic.
The fact is that governments change their alliances and people who have signed up have to face the fact that they are going to be legally obligated to kill people when they know it is wrong to do so.
Greetings, HC

Well said !

The best definition of "War" that I have seen is this:

War =df.= Organized mass-murder in the name of a noble cause.

This applies to the Just War as well.

Furthermore, Just War Theory teaches that a war is justified by a package of criteria, one of which is that your land must be invaded first; and another of which is that you engaged in war as a very last resort (after strenuous efforts at diplomacy and negotiation had all failed.)

I can't think of any U.S.A. war where these conditions were met. I had a deep conversation with a veteran, one of the last-surviving American veterans of World War II. He told me that he woke up to the fact that war is morally wrong when he looked across the trenches, in France, at the young German recruits' faces, and saw that they were as befuddled as he as to what sense it made that they were there shooting at each other. He realized then that they were draftees too - or naive volunteers - he had an insight about their common humanity. At that moment it dawned on him that war is crazy, totally an insane way for people to conduct themselves. He told me that he admired me for being a conscientious objector, and as a result doing some time in jail for it.

Those boys who volunteer for the armed forces in the USA today are for the most part quite uneducated, they do it because 'it's a family tradition' or because 'I admire an uncle who was a soldier.' They don't stop to consider the risk involved, they, in their gullibility, believe the propaganda they've heard about the glory of it all; they aren't mature. Many sign up as an opportunity to go to college, or for some other benefit promised them by a recruiter. Most all are economically poor. They have a misguided view as to how to be a patriot. They want to be patriotic, but are unaware of the relationship of ends to means. They don't have a sense of history as to how one war has led to another later on ...by sewing seeds of vengeance.

The theory of "counter-insurgency" is about "winning the hearts and minds of the people" and then killing them. Whereas the theory of "counter-terrorism" is just about killing them. What we call "an insurgent" they call "a freedom fighter." There is an obvious perception gap to be closed.

BOTTOM LINE:
The institution of war is itself immoral and unethical. Hence to participate in it is to commit an ethical fallacy.

.
Indeed we agree on this.
"just war". Is this an oxymoron? I think so.
Kids who sign up may be uneducated, but they are not stupid. Sadly they find themselves with few choices and as clever humans will latch onto ideological myths to help themselves justify their choices.
In a way it makes perfect sense to allow yourself to swallow the idea of duty, sacrifice and 'service'. Without these ideas their lives would be empty whilst following orders.
Logically on their return their acceptance of any rights and privileges gained as 'veterans', is ethical, personally, even though their signing up is not an ethical position.
Such as the many paradoxes of ethical thinking.

When I have time, I've always meant to read this.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FBBE ... &q&f=false
"Voluntary Servitude" by Michael Rosen.
Last edited by Hobbes' Choice on Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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HexHammer
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by HexHammer » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:20 pm

Hmmm? Where the heck did my answer go? I gave a long answer about 10h ago.

Must write a new apparently.

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Kayla
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Kayla » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:33 pm

prof wrote: The institution of war is itself immoral and unethical. Hence to participate in it is to commit an ethical fallacy.
so what should one do in the face of armed aggression?

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HexHammer
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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by HexHammer » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:01 pm

Kayla wrote:
prof wrote: The institution of war is itself immoral and unethical. Hence to participate in it is to commit an ethical fallacy.
so what should one do in the face of armed aggression?
It's a dilemma, but one must defend oneself and the country you live in, it's the lesser evil.

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Re: Is volunteering for the military potentially unethical?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:21 am

Kayla wrote:
prof wrote: The institution of war is itself immoral and unethical. Hence to participate in it is to commit an ethical fallacy.
so what should one do in the face of armed aggression?
You could organise the army differently.
But it may have escaped your attention that the US has not fought such a war since Hitler declared war on the US. The response to this was a large volunteer force that were not treated with the respect that they deserved by the leadership.

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