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would you use hitler's cancer cure/vaccine?

0 votes
let's say hitler had come up with a complete and total cure and vaccine for cancer. but he of course came up with it via torturous experiments on humans. now let's say you or someone you love has cancer, and hitler's cure is available.

do you use it?  if so, do you justify it, and how? if not, do you justify it, and how?

edit: this question was intended somewhat metaphorically. the tags i entered were intended to convey that.
asked Nov 26, 2016 by funkyanarchy (10,190 points)
edited Nov 26, 2016 by funkyanarchy

2 Answers

+4 votes
i don't see this as different from what is happening today, honestly (minus the hyperbole of a single, identifiable figure to blame it on). everything that we use to live in our current world, from the food we eat, clothes we wear, language we speak, and certainly medicine we use, is the result of a world view, and individuals, who are also, and have also, killed millions. that can be less true, i guess, for those who grow their own food, scavenge clothing, etc, but it's only a matter of degree. (not saying degree is unimportant, but...)

signed,

debbie dot downer
answered Nov 26, 2016 by dot (50,320 points)
actually that is precisely my underlying point. just wanting to see how folks think about it. and without degrees, there is only binary.
I'm one of those hold outs who still eats vegan and mostly avoids animal products. I think that comparisons of animal exploitation to the nazi genocides are grossly oversimplified (because, honestly, we are worse on an all the time basis to animals than to other humans, and the level of dehumanization required for  the genocide only speaks to how out of touch civilized humans are with other life...)
That said, if there is a cure that will possibly help prevent my death or that of someone I love, I have no moral objections to it, because, fuck morals. We do what we can to survive and to help those we love, and acting from some position of ideolgical purity doesn't matter much in the end. On the other hand, I don't know that I would choose treatment if I thought it would help justify the ongoing torture or murder of others, though, I have yet to be diagnosed with anything that requires me to make that choice, though my family medical history and the choices I've made lead me to think I will at some point confront this in a much more intimate way. If and when that happens I will respond with more than a comment.

ingrate: "if there is a cure that will possibly help prevent my death or that of someone I love, I have no moral objections to it, because, fuck morals. We do what we can to survive and to help those we love, and acting from some position of ideolgical purity doesn't matter much in the end. "

you said it! (although my desire would be to prevent suffering, not necessarily death).

and i think what you said here raises the most interesting questions:

" On the other hand, I don't know that I would choose treatment if I thought it would help justify the ongoing torture or murder of others"

i find it rather interesting to ponder how we each - individually - address this sort of question. 

as for human treatment of others (including animals of all sorts), i'm sure one could come up with all kinds of analyses around human treatment of other humans vs human treatment of non-human beings (not just other animals). but i absolutely think the underlying causes are the same, and - at the risk of sounding like a primmie, which i am not - i think it starts with domestication and everything around that. sure, humans may have dominated/exploited other non-human beings for a bit before they started doing it to other human animals, but how significant is that in the big picture, when it is very clear that for quite a long time now, humans dominate others of every species?

and to be clear: i do not see hunting wild animals for food/materials, or harvesting wild plants for food/materials, as domination or exploitation or torture etc. of course at some point it moves beyond simple survival (and immediate comfort). enter domestication.

for sure many (if not most) humans view non-humans as inherently less important lives and less worthy of any basic feelings or consideration. so if that is your point, it seems indisputable. but to me, in the big picture, the difference is negligible. a mindset of domination and control applies across the board. it is the same reason i refuse to acknowledge any human-human oppression as either more important, or more foundational, than the overarching mindset. again, i'm speaking of the big picture. in any specific situation, whatever dominations are affecting a being, are in fact the most important to them at that time. 

(wow, good coffee!!!)

I appreciate your clarifying the prevention of suffering over that of death. I fear and avoid suffering far more actively, though I don't want to come across as some cavalier death-defying bad ass, when in fact I am pretty far from it.

As to the bigger question of ethics regarding me versus others, individual suffering versus systematic suffering, it is hard, and I really don't know how that would shake out if(when) I face it. I would do the best I could, which if I am honest, is probably not that great.
"systematic suffering"

interesting term. it's hard for me to envision "suffering" that is not individual. how does a "system" suffer? maybe we have different ideas of the word "suffering".

so, something is being weird, I hope I am not double posting right now...

faa - I would agree that suffering is individual (although I would say that if you look at generational traumas there might be an argument for some sort of concept of group suffering, but I haven't thought much on that). What I meant by systemic suffering is the systems that create suffering as essentially a byproduct of their functioning. The easiest example, and what I was thinking primarily of, is industrial scale animal agriculture. So the means of inflicting suffering on individual entities is systematic. I think one could make similar arguments around various forms of human slavery, residential schools for indigenous youth, the holocaust, probably deforestation, definitely animal testing for science...

Does that maybe clarify what I meant?

Half unrelated, an interesting book I read several years ago was called State Structure and Genocide by Andrew Kolin, which essentially argues that genocide is the natural conclusion of state formations of power, but does so not from an anarchist perspective (at least not explicitly), but from that of a social scientist. When I read it, I had total confirmation bias happening, but it was interesting to see that line of logic argued not by someone who agrees with everything I think.

ingrate: yes, that definitely clarifies. the causes of suffering can surely be systemic.
+3 votes

First, it would depend on whether or not the loved one in question desires to be cured and whether or not they would accept that cure.

Second, if they desired it, I'd probably use it without any justification at all. To whom and where ought I address my justification? That said, the world is already full of oft-used technologies begotten via nefarious means and I try to pick carefully those I find useful where and when I'm able. (Why do hippies and their VW's come to mind with this question?)

I feel that's the best I can do...as I sit here on land stolen from tribal peoples typing on a toxic device manufactured, more likely than not, in shitty conditions via the Web created by the military-industrial complex.

answered Nov 26, 2016 by AmorFati (7,780 points)

" if they desired it, I'd probably use it without any justification at all. To whom and where ought I address my justification?"

bingo!

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