The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 May 2006

Benevolent zap

I don't see any way to excerpt this without running the risk of misstating Lynn's case, so here's her whole post:

Last night I watched a re-run of the Stargate Atlantis episode, titled "Michael," in which the humans stationed at Atlantis were experimenting with a "retro-virus" that would turn the Wraith (life-sucking alien humanoids) into normal humans. The Wraith that they tested it on did not like the idea at all.

That started me thinking. What if, here in the real world, scientists came up with a "weapon" that would make our enemies less inclined toward fanaticism and aggression without harming them in any way? Not something that would turn them into happy zombies, just something that would make them completely un-interested in fighting. Would it be ethical? Why or why not? Let's have a discussion.

To start things off ... I, personally, can't see any big ethical problem with this idea since the alternative is to continue killing and being killed.

What's wrong with happy zombies?

Actually, I have some qualms about this process, if only because respecting the dignity of a fellow human, such as it is, is not, or at least should not be, dependent on whether said fellow human is willing to reciprocate.

That said, though, better to leave him with "benign" brain damage (cf. almost any scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) than to leave him lying in a pool of blood, isn't it?

At best, this strikes me as the lesser of two evils, which makes me wonder if there can ever be some sort of non-evil choice to make, given the limitations of the Real World and of its inhabitants, and inasmuch as "turn the other cheek" is somewhere between fatuous and suicidal in this context.

Posted at 12:10 PM to Political Science Fiction


If you want to dain bramage them, make them watch Stargate:Atlantis. Man, that show is BAD.

Posted by: Dan at 7:15 PM on 30 May 2006

That's a terrible, squishy-sounding but--probably in practice--evil idea redolent of a Brave New World or at least the Orgasmatron in Sleeper. People have free will and should be allowed to make their own decisions. If those decisions lead them to become fanatical jihadis then I suppose they have to be killed--pour encourager les autres.

Posted by: Rachel at 9:34 PM on 1 June 2006