By Gerard Elfstrom (auth.)
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Additional info for Ethics for a Shrinking World
Recall that the central features of acts of violence are that they destroy life or the means to life and that these costs always accompany acts of violence. Such operations are volatile in the sense that there is always the possibility that these costs will radically increase in unforeseen and uncontrollable fashion. As argued earlier, it is wise as a general policy only to trade life and the means of life against these basic wants and not against secondary desires. In the usual course, therefore, violent acts can only be justified to save human lives or restore the secure means of life.
But, obviously, there will be times when the value these provide will be outweighed by the more substantial requirements of other persons. Thus, they do not have the moral option of following policies which will bring che" p produce to their own citizens at the expense of the lives and well-being of others. Neither, closer to hand, do they have the option of closing their borders to prevent starving or endangered aliens from seeking refuge, even though to act otherwise would cause hardships for their own citizens.
Even though this is the case, it will often be possible to develop general guidelines and list general conditions to be acknowledged for critical thinking to be undertaken. But there will be cases where it can be demonstrated that some intuitions should be established or strengthened. Later analyses will show, for example, that it would be good for people to develop further their intuitive belief that they have some responsibility to aid suffering in other parts of the world. Or it can be shown that it would be good to develop intuitions differing from those held presently about what is justified by the requirements of national security.