Is Murder Immoral?
written March 8, 2005
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20050308                         Death                         Law                         Morality

Is Murder Immoral?
Is murder immoral?
     That depends on what we mean by
     murder and by immoral.

Let's leave murder's definition to later
     and now look at "immoral".

If it is done to cause harm to another,
     then, yes, murder is immoral.
If it is done to violate community norms,
     then, yes, murder is immoral.
If it is to do something most people think is immoral,
     then yes, murder is immoral.
If it to break the law,
     then, yes, murder is immoral.
If it is to violate natural law,
     then, perhaps, murder is immoral.

But we must know what is natural
     if murder is to commit an unnatural act.
     What is natural and what is its antithesis?

If it is to violate Gods commandments,
     then, perhaps, murder is immoral;
     if I know God's commandments.

If it is to jeapordize community well being,
     then, perhaps murder is good,
     if it strengthens a community.

Though most people say murder is bad,
     they pin medals on soldiers
     who kill other soldiers.

Some would say this, indeed, is immoral.

Others would say, "no",
     because killing done for justice is justice
     as killing done for war is good.
But who determines if justice or war is just?
     The top general of the killing army, e.g. the president?
     The financier of the general and his army, e.g. the congress?
     The "weight" of public opinion?

What if I kill someone trying to rape my daughter?
     Is that OK?

I get out of all these dilemmas
     by rejecting that anything is immoral
     or moral.

The closest I get to a determinant of morality is the
     fickle weight of public opinion
     defining rules of expectable behavior.

An individual or another group need not adopt
     these expected behaviors as moral.
     though the larger, more powerful group may impose
     sanctions on individuals or other groups
     who fail to conform to expectations.

So, "If it feels good - do it"
Including murdering your father

But don't complain if a powerful group
     imposes sanctions on you for doing it.

So, I recommend we incorporate potential sanctions
     In calculations of trade-offs between
     likely pleasures and pains.

I also suggest by murder
     one's pains will greatly
     outweigh one's gains.