[ExI] flds raid, was general repudiation...

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat May 3 21:46:09 UTC 2008

BillK writes

> But you seem to be arguing in favour of *not* using
> force to prevent the use of force by others to abuse
> children?  Is this correct?

No, certainly that is not correct. I would never advocate
permitting the use of force on children by someone other
than the children's parents or legal guardians. Rafal
explained that in the particular case at hand the
lack of any evidence that this in fact had occurred
is glaring. So let's move on:

> Don't you think there comes a time when practicality
> takes preference over intellectual correctness?

A much meatier and nicer question, thanks! Indeed
there are a number of very interesting cases in which,
just as you suggest, practicality must override our

Far too familiar to discuss, of course, are the cases
similar to that of a man stealing to feed his starving
children, or the arrest and detention of someone
spreading a highly contagious disease. So let's skip

> How much needless suffering will you permit before
> you say that maybe my [our] intellectual rigour has
> gone wrong somewhere along the line?

Very little, actually!  I characterize needless suffering
as suffering that accomplishes nothing and helps no one,
either in the long term or in the short term.

For example, the needless suffering of dying patients
must be dealt with by doctors regardless of family
wishes, either (with the consent of the patient, of course)
by morphine and other extremely powerful drugs, or
by means of assisted suicide (or cryonic suspension).

Here is a hard case. A woman is known to beat her
husband unmercifully, but the man refuses to admit it
out of embarrassment or pride. She continues to do
so no matter how ostracized she is by the community
and no matter how much verbal abuse she elicits.
I don't have an answer to this one, but it wouldn't
surprise me if some community simply isn't going to
stand for it, and "action is taken" by, say, the sheriff.
You probably won't find me on the jury voting to
convict the law enforcement personnel who stepped
in and stopped it.

Another hard case: A man is known to beat his children
and his animals unmercifully, but neither the children
(who think it's normal) nor the animals (because they're
mute) complain about it. This is a case where I do think
that the needless suffering has to be allowed, because
if the state begins to interfere in how children are raised,
there will be no stopping it, until we reach the present
ridiculous situation. In other words, we lose more by
abandoning the principle in this case than we lose by
allowing needless suffering.

(Before anyone overreacts to that last example, it must
be kept in mind that in the present day, such cases are


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