Would You Torture a Baby to Bring Peace to Humanity?

A character in Dostoyevsky's, Brothers Karamazov said "Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature - that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance - and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth?"


Would you would torture a baby to bring peace and happiness to humanity?

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Good points. We have seen whole nations succumb to the bloodlust of authority and practice genocide for the "greater good". What is one baby compared to thousands?

There was a study of what happens when people listen to what a presumed authority tells them. The study suggested that people, being lazy short cutters that we are, stopped thinking. I'll have to dig up citations if anyone wants them. But, it is something that I have experienced personally in more mundane matters of work and personal business. We tend to trust people we believe to be "in the know" way more than we should.
Looking at the responses we can simplify the question a bit to get at the heart of the problem, a more general question is:
"Does every person have the right to refrain from performing Act A, if doing so results in others experiencing Act B?"

Does the answer depend:
1) Solely on Act A.
2) Solely on Act B.
3) The relative unpleasantness of Act A to Act B
4) A more complicated relationship between the two acts.

I think the result will be a very, very large grey area.
Would it be one of the many babies who are presently being tortured for no reason in particular, or would we have to add another one?
This post is yet another reason why I love Doug.

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