The indiscriminate sacredness of bombs
August 31, 2017 § 228 Comments
We are always responsible for the behaviors we choose.
Bombs are indiscriminate weapons: they kill everyone in their fatal blast radius without discriminating between innocent people and belligerents. This is the nature of bombs.
When we choose to detonate a bomb we are choosing to kill everyone we know to be in the fatal blast radius. That is the nature of the objective behavior we have chosen.
But many people seem to believe that the indiscriminate nature of bombs qua technology has a sacred charism which takes away our responsibility for our choices. The fact that a bomb is objectively indiscriminate somehow implies that we aren’t responsible for killing all of the people we choose to kill when we deliberately destroy their living bodies with a bomb. We are only responsible for killing the people we wanted to kill with an imaginary discriminate weapon, not all of the actual people we actually chose to kill with our actually indiscriminate weapon.
But the fact that bombs are indiscriminate weapons doesn’t change the nature of human choices and moral responsibility. Bombs are not quasi-sacramental objects which move our moral responsibility out of objective reality and into an imaginary inner world wherein we didn’t actually choose to kill everyone known to be in the fatal blast radius.
The modernist notion is that bombs as a technology change the moral nature of killing, moving it into a subjective imaginary realm in which we are responsible for the choices we would have made in an idealized imaginary world: we are not responsible for the actual choices we actually made in the real world. You might notice a certain similarity to the idea that financial and medical technology have changed the moral nature of usury and contraception.