In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.
~ Jonathan Glover
I read that quote by British philosopher Jonathan Glover in Sam Harris' book The End of Faith. Glover and Harris expose a moral oddity or failing. They argue that while our conscience is repelled by the torture of one person, that same conscience can somehow accept when a "precision bomb" causes "collateral damage." Yet the harm caused by the bomb is much greater than the harm caused by torture of one individual. How do we accept or discount that greater harm? Why do we focus on pain torture causes an individual? Surely, the pain, suffering (not to mention death) caused to the innocent by the anonymous bomb exceeds that of any torture chamber. Both acts are abhorrent. Why does our moral compass fail us?
|Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century - by Jonathan Glover|
|The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason - by Sam Harris|