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Armchair philosophy: is it categorically wrong to wish ill on another

Mr Person

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So, I've been reading any number of cavalierly sadistic remarks from people cheering on police shown brutalizing protesters. Like, "this guy I said is Antifa did something over here, so it's fine for this cop over there to beat that protester silly for trying to talk to them". Group guilt, and cheering on violence towards civilians by police.

Now let's say, I think a person who does that is an extremely ugly person. Worse, even, than the ANTIFA mirage they rely on to justify their behavior. And the temptation is strong indeed to say "you know, I wish something bad happens to you - something bad enough and of the same variety as what you cheer on - such that you think "what happened to me is horrible. We can't allow government agents to do this to people. Damn, do I feel terrible for what I said in the past"?

On the other hand, it is commonly believed that it is categorically wrong to wish ill on another. Do you feel that way?



- If so, what do you say about extreme test cases. It's 1944. Is this categorical rule still applicable? Is it morally wrong to wish something bad (say, getting shot) happens to Hitler?

- What about Tsaranev. Was it morally wrong for people to wish the death penalty be imposed? You can't tell me that being killed by the state is not a "bad" thing to happen to oneself.

- What about a president who killed a mass testing plan because he calculated it was to his political advantage to let blue state liberals die and then to blame blue governors; who knowingly lied about COVID's severity, did nothing meaningful for months, and has gotten over 200,000 Americans killed. And climbing. What about that guy? Would it be wrong for a person to wish that maybe they wake up and maybe there's a headline about a KFC-induced debilitating stroke?


The point:

Yes, always morally wrong.


If you say yes, it's still morally wrong in each of those circumstances, why? What principle drives this and where does it derive from? How do you square that view with your views on individual self-defense. Are you a pacifist who thinks you shouldn't defend yourself at all? Then it seems obviously consistent. But what if you're not. What if you think that if someone bursts into your home and aims a gun at your child, it is perfectly fine to shoot that person dead on his feet? How do you square a view that it is fine to do ill to a person if they threaten your child, but morally wrong to wish ill on the kind of bad person who would do such a thing as threaten your child.?

Ditto for collective self-defense (just war theory).

No, not alwys morally wrong.

And if you say no, it is not wrong to wish Hitler dead in 1944, must you not agree that somewhere on the scale of awfulness, somewhere between cheering on a cop who bashes a prone person in the head with a bike or knocks a female protester flat out cold for speaking on the one hand, and mass murder on the other hand. That line is subjective. But if you think it's not morally wrong to have wished ill on Hitler, then you necessarily agree there is a line, even if you can't say exactly where it lies.

So if you agree that there are some cases where a person is evil or dangerous enough that it is not morally wrong to wish ill on them, whereabouts do you think the line is? How low-scale does their malevolence have to be that it becomes morally wrong to wish ill on them? Is it impossible to go beyond I know it when I see it?
 
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Casper

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So, I've been reading any number of cavalierly callous remarks from people cheering on police shown brutalizing protesters. Like, "this guy I said is Antifa did something over here, so it's fine for this cop over there to beat that protester silly for trying to talk to them". Group guilt, and cheering on violence towards civilians by police.

Now let's say, I think a person who does that is an extremely ugly person. Worse, even, than the ANTIFA mirage they rely on to justify their behavior. And the temptation is strong indeed to say "you know, I wish something bad happens to you - something bad enough and of the same variety as what you cheer on - such that you think "what happened to me is horrible. We can't allow government agents to do this to people. Damn, do I feel terrible for what I said in the past"?

On the other hand, it is commonly believed that it is categorically wrong to wish ill on another. Do you feel that way?



If so, what do you say about extreme test cases. It's 1944. Is this categorical rule still applicable? Is it morally wrong to wish something bad (say, getting shot) happens to Hitler?

What about Tsaranev. Was it morally wrong for people to wish the death penalty be imposed? You can't tell me that being killed by the state is not a "bad" thing to happen to oneself.

If you say yes, why.

And if you say no, must you not agree that somewhere on the scale of awfulness, somewhere between cheering on a cop who bashes a prone person in the head with a bike or knocks a female protester flat out cold for speaking on the one hand, and mass murder on the other hand. That line is subjective. But if you think it's not morally wrong to have wished ill on Hitler, then you necessarily agree there is a line, even if you can't say exactly where it lies.
I see your point and while in principle I know it is not the right thing to wish ill on others, but at the same time I do exactly that when it comes to specific groups such as anti-maskers whether a politician or person on the street, I hope they all catch the virus and get sick, not die, just very sick. Same for those that would tear this Nation apart, I cannot say I would be disappointed if something very bad happens to them. Same for monsters that kill their fellow humans as if they are nothing more than something to use and discard, serial kills deserve no more than they gave their victims, and yes there are a handful more of those I would consider not worthy of mercy. So yes, there is a line, where that line is is determined by the persons own conscience and morals. To me to say one should never wish ill on another is idealistic and not the norm in reality.
 

Mr Person

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I see your point and while in principle I know it is not the right thing to wish ill on others, but at the same time I do exactly that when it comes to specific groups such as anti-maskers whether a politician or person on the street, I hope they all catch the virus and get sick, not die, just very sick. Same for those that would tear this Nation apart, I cannot say I would be disappointed if something very bad happens to them. Same for monsters that kill their fellow humans as if they are nothing more than something to use and discard, serial kills deserve no more than they gave their victims, and yes there are a handful more of those I would consider not worthy of mercy. So yes, there is a line, where that line is is determined by the persons own conscience and morals. To me to say one should never wish ill on another is idealistic and not the norm in reality.

Sounds like you are saying it's not categorically morally wrong to wish ill on another. What determines wrongness is proportionality between their moral state and the ill wished upon them.

ie, it's not wrong to wish a mass murderer dead, but it would be wrong to wish someone who merely cheered on a cop for beating a protester to be killed by a cop, because the karmic punishment doesn't fit the crime. Instead, it might be acceptable to wish that that person come to understand the wrongs of police brutality one day when a cop pulls them out of a car and gives them a few good cracks across the jaw for not being respectful enough, or some such?

I can live with that.
 

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The only wish that matters is the first wish.....just like Aladdin. The things that irritate you are born of ignorance(in your opinion) your wish should be that the ignorance be removed. Every action has a consequence.......that consequence can be meted out by someone other than you. Your commendation is for shining light on the problem.
 
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