Hypothetical Games

A friend and me once read a book by Yann Martell called Beatrice and Virgil. We both looked forward to it since Yann stated that his influences were Art Spiegel’s Maus which is one of my favourite graphic novels ever and one I encourage people to read.

But we didn’t like it, mainly because of the heavy holocaust allegory which portrayed humans as basically evil for wishing to live. It ended in a series of games which ask hypothetical questions like whether you could kill a child if your life depended on it. Of scenarios that occurred during the holocaust where under duress humans behaved in ways that speak badly of humanity (of particular ire is the scenario given where children were trampled by adults trying to rise up above the gas in the gas chambers). For me it struck an uneasy tone, of implying humans are basically evil inside. For me it ignored the various people like Schindler who tried to save as many people as possible. And all the various people who risked life and limb to save people from the Holocaust.

She didn’t like it because she was a Belarusian Canadian of jewish origin and to her this was a cheap attempt to get some shocks in by co-opting the holocaust to sell. It would be like writing a purposefully shocking book about 9/11 to get people to read it in her mind.

I found the games faulty, no man can ask such a yes or no question. Because of the nature of such events, hypothetically we would all lift the children above our heads rather than die trying to stand on them. But thinking about it could we kill the children ourselves in a more humane way to prevent them from suffering? Could we attempt to fight back?

Ultimately we don’t know, we aren’t in that situation. We are all capable of amazing heroism, its just a case of whether we can act when the time comes. And Yann forgets that. That the man who runs away from the enemy and the man who runs towards them aren’t all that different, both are probably just as scared of the situation. A hero to me is merely one who does his job and duty when no one else was willing to. And anyone can be that person, I hope that if a situation like that arises I won’t freeze or run but will do the right thing.

Ray Comfort has not understood this reality. He thinks that hypothetical situations are sensible thing. I say that they are about as useful as asking “Who would Win? Batman or Superman?”

It’s 1943. A German officer has a gun pointed at you. He wants you to get into a bulldozer and drive it forward. In front of the bulldozer is a pit in which there are 300 Jews who have just been shot. Some of them are still alive. He wants you to bury them alive! If you don’t do what he says, he is going to kill you and do it himself. If you do what he says, he will let you live. Would you drive it forward?

Yes you would. You cannot save them. No one can. If you refuse you will join them. You basically are stuck between doing this horrid deed then subverting the system to save people from this fate or being a dumbass and making a statement that gets you shot. The world is not absolutes Ray. I would hope that I would have the common sense to comply with this order and the compassion to go inform the other Jews of what’s happening and help them avoid this by getting those who are about to be killed to volunteer for factory work (one of the ways Schindler saved people). I would have tried to make a difference. A lot of germans did make differences in small ways like this because that’s what they could do. Should I ever be in that situation I would wish that I could do the right thing and try and save as many lives as possible rather than throw mine away in a pointless gesture. And if saving those lives means that I have to be the one that buries them alive then so be it. I hope that situation never arises, but if it does I hope that I have the courage to take that burden on myself.

It’s easy to be Big Damn Heroes in theory but in practice it’s a lot harder. Especially when one’s not just pointing a gun at your head but when you have no real choice but to commit an atrocity. This specific scenario is one of those “no choice situations”.

Yes, Ray seems sickened that I could bury someone alive, but the qualifier is not mentioned or emphasised. And worse he states that he doesn’t care if you said you would not drive forwards because he doubts your resolve.

From this Ray supposedly seemlessly moves onto Abortion (I will be reviewing his movie later this week) as if murdering Jews is the same as a bunch  of cells. He preys on people’s ignorance, portraying all abortions as  late term ones rather than ones that are done fairly early on. The vast majority of abortions are in the first few weeks of conception where the foetus looks like a bunch of cells. Most people in the west are hopefully well educated enough to understand the signs of pregnancy and most terminations occur at 5th to the 8th week of conception. Nearly 75% infact. A further 20% by the 12th week and then it actually dies down a lot with it rising around the 20th to 22nd week (it coincides with the age where you can detect a lot of congenital anomalies).

It’s shameless, it links the suffering of a group of real people to the death of potential. Those cells aren’t a person yet, they are a potential person. If removed from the body they would die, at this point they are nothing more than a developing bunch of cells, incapable of survival. They aren’t yet a person in the sane definition of the word.

Basically Ray wages a war on women under the hypothetical game and using the fear of being classed as a Nazi.

But never fear, two can play at Ray’s silly games..

Nazi Mother’s Cross

The Nazis gave this medal out to mothers who had more than eight children. The nazis also banned abortion and were suitably pro-life about it in their own little way. Anyone caught giving an abortion to an Aryan Woman would be sentenced to death. (1943).

Remember the Nazis were christian and they were pro-lifers just like a certain Mr. Comfort. It’s also a good lesson on why hypothetical games are pointless in determining what people would really do in a no win situation. It’s also an object lesson in doing your research particularly if you are trying to compare your opponents to nazis.

(edit – I watched the movie. It’s basically this rehashed with the problem that he probably has had to mine for stupid people. There are far too many people in the USA who have family members who fought in the second world war to not know who Hitler
is… I am sure if  I went around Australia I could find some people like that too. And asking Neo Nazis what they think about Hitler is like asking cats what they think about tuna.)

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