Monday, April 13, 2009

Evil Inc.

Suppose there is an organization: Let's call it Evil, Inc. Unsurprisingly, given the name, EI does evil things -- terrorist attacks, human trafficking, drug running -- the whole gamut. There is a mole inside Evil, "A". Wanting to throw his superiors off his trail, he implicates "C" -- another henchman -- as the mole, and C is taken away and brutally tortured and executed.

Question: Am I right to feel like this is unfair to C, or is my sense of fairness going hyperactive again? Does it matter what role C had to play in the organization (someone directly doing bad acts, a mid-level managerial bureaucrat, or a menial worker like a janitor)?

5 comments:

Patton said...

This sounds suspiciously like something from TV that I once watched...

The Gaucho Politico said...

i guess it depends on the level of moral culpability you attach to C as well as your theory of punishment and justice. If you believe that C as a janitor has very low culpability for the crimes of the organization then yes it is unfair to have C in particular tortured and murdered.

If you believe C has total culpability for the evil actions of the organization then it may still be unfair to have him tortured and killed if you knew the outcome would be death. This would mean that you have punished C yourself and that violates a right to due process.

I think to make it okay that C is tortured and killed you need to lack the knowledge that he would be killed as a result of your misdirection and you also need to believe that C's torture and death was a legitimate instance of punishment for his moral culpability.

JordanBaker said...

@Patton:

This sounds suspiciously like something I saw on tv once too... Friday night in fact.

David Schraub said...

Well, maybe I didn't want to spoil it for people who haven't watched yet.

JordanBaker said...

Sorry, the internet is hard for tone, I just meant my comment to come off as light and teasing, in case that was unclear.