T Nation

Are all Lives Equal?

Do the people posting on this forum consider that the lives of people have equal value whoever they are? (Discounting murders and rapists.)

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Do the people posting on this forum consider that the lives of people have equal value whoever they are? (Discounting murders and rapists.)[/quote]

Not at all. People have different values depending on where they fall in the Marcusian gay cake hierarchy. Do I force you to make me a gay cake or do you force me to make you a gay cake? That’s the real question.

NO.

Stupid people who DRAIN resources with out contributing have less value than people who CONTRIBUTE to society in a positive way.

Countries who have populations of religious fanatics with barbaric beliefs and practices are populations of LESS VALUE than those of countries who’s population have civilized beliefs and practices.

We do not want to know.
If we did, buying and selling people would be legal.

[quote]kamui wrote:
We do not want to know.
If we did, buying and selling people would be legal.

[/quote]

People are bought and sold every day. Legal or not.

[quote]angry chicken wrote:
NO.

Stupid people who DRAIN resources with out contributing have less value than people who CONTRIBUTE to society in a positive way.

Countries who have populations of religious fanatics with barbaric beliefs and practices are populations of LESS VALUE than those of countries who’s population have civilized beliefs and practices.

[/quote]

Interesting. How do you define civilized beliefs and practices?

[quote]angry chicken wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
We do not want to know.
If we did, buying and selling people would be legal.

[/quote]

People are bought and sold every day. Legal or not.[/quote]

Obviously, but State intervention and prohibition messes up with the free market, so it’s currently impossible to know the real average value of people.

Its certainly less than what it appears to be right now, since there is many extra-costs involved. But how much less is hard to tell.

Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?

Of course every human life is equal.

Obviously the American capitalist mindset distorts this and encourages people to believe they are superior on the basis of the inequality they create: everyone is inherently unequal and in debt, and the more you have over someone else the better you are.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?[/quote]

That only applies to US citizens. Anyone who is not a US citizen is with the terrorists and is therefore an “unlawful enemy combatant” and should be placed in stress positions A and C for two hours prior to water boarding.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?[/quote]

It was never really true in America, given that slavery was still legal when Independence was declared!

[quote]squatbenchhench wrote:

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?[/quote]

It was never really true in America, given that slavery was still legal when Independence was declared! [/quote]

All men being created equal, and all men being equal in value are two very different ideas.

I very seriously doubt that Bill Gates would be willing to greet people at
Wal-Mart for $100,000/year; however, most Wal-Mart greeters would be overjoyed to make $50,000/year doing that.

Interesting topic.

Are we born equal? I believe we are, for the most part. Ouliers exist, such as the unusually intelligent, unusually athletic or unusually handicapped, but most of us have similar potential to, to use the OP’s term, add “value” to the world.

Some of us were fortunate enough to have opportunuties available for us to increase our “value”. On top of that, some of us were wise enough to take advantage of those opportunities and enrich our lives and other people’s lives. That has real “value”, and to pretend it does not is ridiculous.

How much “value” is squandered when someone goes through life without having many opportunities? How much more “value” is squandered when someone goes through life passing up on the opportunuties that are present? That is impossible to measure.

So, to directly answer the question, human lives definitely have different levels of “value” by the time we are adults. No reasonable person would argue that Paris Hilton is as “valuable” as, say Stephen Hawking, even though the former probably has a bigger bank account. No reasonable person would argue that a genius who grew up as an orphan in Tijuana and works as a cartel hit man is more “valuable” than an average schmo in Ohio who works in accounting and takes good care of his family.

I am grateful to have been raised in an environment where human life is not a cheap commodity. I think that fundamental concept of placing a high value on all life is a big reason why certain societies are outpacing others and why the human experience is richer for those of us in places where life is not cheap.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Do the people posting on this forum consider that the lives of people have equal value whoever they are? (Discounting murders and rapists.)[/quote]

I believe all lives are valuable, even the lives of murderers and rapists but that is based up my particular morality.

If one were to refer to the Declaration of Independence, it states, “…that all men are created equal…”. It certainly doesn’t preclude people making choices that either increase or decrease the value of their own life. Nor does it preclude the value of one’s life changing based upon circumstances beyond one’s control.

Yes, what TJS said.

Although, I would add that when discussing value, one must also address, “To whom…?”

Unless you believe in some objective measure of value, and the existence of The Great Accountant In The Sky, then value is always relative.

Paris Hilton is more valuable to her parents than Stephen Hawking is. My children are more valuable to me than Stephen Hawking is as well. Stephen Hawking may very well be more valuable to the physical sciences than my child.

Value is always relative.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?[/quote]

People are created equal, it’s after the creation where things go wrong.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Do the people posting on this forum consider that the lives of people have equal value whoever they are? (Discounting murders and rapists.)[/quote]

Yes, all men are created equal. I firmly believe that. It is difficult to prove, I am not certain it’s impossible to prove, though. We haven’t done so yet.
In practice, equality is the best working assumption.

[quote]lou21 wrote:
Interesting responses so far.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Does this no longer apply?[/quote]
It does apply, now more more than ever. For at the time TJ wrote those words he had in mind the WASP. We have since extrapolated this ideal to more it’s true core meaning then what it meant at the time of it’s writing.

[quote]squatbenchhench wrote:
Of course every human life is equal.

Obviously the American capitalist mindset distorts this and encourages people to believe they are superior on the basis of the inequality they create: everyone is inherently unequal and in debt, and the more you have over someone else the better you are. [/quote]

The American liberal mindset allows for the killing of millions of innocents every year.

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
Interesting topic.

Are we born equal? I believe we are, for the most part. Ouliers exist, such as the unusually intelligent, unusually athletic or unusually handicapped, but most of us have similar potential to, to use the OP’s term, add “value” to the world.

Some of us were fortunate enough to have opportunuties available for us to increase our “value”. On top of that, some of us were wise enough to take advantage of those opportunities and enrich our lives and other people’s lives. That has real “value”, and to pretend it does not is ridiculous.

How much “value” is squandered when someone goes through life without having many opportunities? How much more “value” is squandered when someone goes through life passing up on the opportunuties that are present? That is impossible to measure.

So, to directly answer the question, human lives definitely have different levels of “value” by the time we are adults. No reasonable person would argue that Paris Hilton is as “valuable” as, say Stephen Hawking, even though the former probably has a bigger bank account. No reasonable person would argue that a genius who grew up as an orphan in Tijuana and works as a cartel hit man is more “valuable” than an average schmo in Ohio who works in accounting and takes good care of his family.

I am grateful to have been raised in an environment where human life is not a cheap commodity. I think that fundamental concept of placing a high value on all life is a big reason why certain societies are outpacing others and why the human experience is richer for those of us in places where life is not cheap.[/quote]

Well, I think you’ve defined the problem well. If we accept the proposition that objective moral values do not exist then it forces one to accept a value hierarchy on human life.
This is reducible to the age old problem of whether or not objective moral values exist.