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'killing vs. letting die.' a study in a bureaucrat ethics

‘killing vs. letting die.’

I heard a lot about this in grad school.

It’s worse to kill than to let die, is the principle. Worse to push someone off a bridge than to just let someone be pushed off.

Ok, great.

But what if you enjoy the benefits of someone else’s dirty work? what if, after someone else pushes so and so off the bridge, you take full advantage of the situation?

Not a hypothetical.

This is what happens.

Every time, without fail.

Someone sticks his neck out. the bureaucrats hedge. If he wins, they cash in.

if he loses, they pounce on him.

either way, their hands are clean, because ‘killing is worse than letting die’, right?


It’s not worse.

‘worse’ is ‘more bad.’

Not doing anything is not more anything. It’s nothing.

Absence of guilt is not innocence.

There’s nothing, then there’s a bad something, then there’s a good something.

the second two are about being in the game, the first is about being dead squawking chicken shit weight on the sidelines.

the principle that killing is worse than letting die is worse than evil.

It’s beneath evil.

It’s bureaucratism.

Pure bureaucratism.

I had this so-called ‘professor’ in grad school—I use scare quotes because he didn’t do squat, because at the end of the day he couldn’t do squat, because he was a bureaucrat, as I will now explain. Anyway, I had this so-called professor, Matt Hanser, whose back was the shape of a question mark because of all of the obsequious bureaucrat slouching that he did, always with a shit-eating grin on his face. He wrote his bunk dissertation on this principle. Correction: he recycled his dissertation on this principle. He didn’t really write anything. Just rehashed old material, kind of like people do with astrology.

And everything that he wrote afterwards was a rehash of this one already ripped off little dud-piece. Which he didn’t even really finish. It just kind of ended mid-chapter. Which didn’t matter because nobody in that world really cares and they liked him because he was innocuous. Intelligent enough to give a sheen of cred to the scam they were running but not intelligent enough, or not principled enough, to do something that wasn’t a scam.

A bureaucrat posing as an ethicist.

simply rancid.

And when I started acquiring a little power, it was astounding how quickly he started licking the dirt off the soles of my boots.

But it was no accident that the one thing he wrote—or lifted, rather—was something concerning this one principle.

But remember. If you benefit from the deed, you are guilty of it. And if it’s there to be benefitted from, maybe it wasn’t a crime. Maybe you should build your ethics off of that. if nothing else, it would have the virtue of non-hypocrisy, which can’t be said for the other principle.

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