Would you shoot Hitler?

  • Thread starter Smurf
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Skyhunter

I would kill someone if they were an immediate threat to myself or another innocent person.

Since Hitler at that time had not committed any crimes against humanity, I would look for other means to stop him before I would take an innocent life. If it were possible to stop the holocaust and alter history by shooting Hitler, perhaps dosing him with LSD would be just as effective.:wink: :cool:
 
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Pengwuino said:
Ya know... compare this to my poll a while ago about killing an innocent child to cure the world's diseases and you come up with some rather strange paradoxes. Humans seem completely unwilling to kill a child even if it means disease will run rampant throughout the world forever and millions will die beacuse of various diseases YET we seem to be willing to let Hitler live for simple ideals like "well he's not guilty yet" or "technology will advance because of hitler" even if it means the deaths of tens of millions of people.
It's the focus on individual rights, as opposed to utilitarianism, which seems to be what you're advocating.
 
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Smurf said:
Scenario: You are in 1930, Spetember 15th with all the knowledge of history you have now. Hitler and his Nazi's have just been elected into power in Germany.
Hypothetical: You find yourself in some situation in which you have the ability the shoot and kill Hitler. It is 1930 he has as of yet, committed no crime. Would you kill an innocent man? Or let Hitler go?
It is of course an impossible scenario. One could not "be in 1930" and also have "all the knowledge of history you have now", and still have the ability to change that same history? It is logically impossible.

But taking it as a thought experiment - YES, good grief YES, I would kill Hitler!!!!! How can any right minded person not do so?

MF
 
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No, I wouldn't kill him. Not immediately. I would torture him slowly, then make him choke to death on the same gases he killed 6 million people with. 6 Million people. Yeah theoretically, someone else could step up and do worse if I killed him, but I couldn't sleep at night knowing that I could have prevented millions of people from dying. Whether those millions are the jews, the allied forces, or the German forces, millions died for a twisted mans dream.
 
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TKolb325 said:
No, I wouldn't kill him. Not immediately. I would torture him slowly, then make him choke to death on the same gases he killed 6 million people with.
but he didn't. :rolleyes:
 
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Pengwuino said:
we seem to be willing to let Hitler live for simple ideals like "well he's not guilty yet"
It is not a case of "he's not guilty yet". The original question was "would you kill Hitler if you know what you know now?".

"What I know now" is that Hitler IS guilty - the fact that he has yet to commit his crimes does not make him any less guilty. The simple fact is that he WILL commit these crimes (no doubt about it) - therefore he IS guilty.

Whether the punishment precedes or succeeds the crime is irrelevant in such a case.

MF
 
i dont think you gave us enough information. are you assuming that we know about Hitler and his genocide? Are you assuming that we are in the present, or we are in the time when Hitler was on the news? Need more info!:smile:
 
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thetadecay8421 said:
i dont think you gave us enough information. are you assuming that we know about Hitler and his genocide? Are you assuming that we are in the present, or we are in the time when Hitler was on the news? Need more info!:smile:
The original post quite clearly says

"You are in 1930, Spetember 15th with all the knowledge of history you have now."

What more do you need to know?

MF
 
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moving finger said:
"What I know now" is that Hitler IS guilty - the fact that he has yet to commit his crimes does not make him any less guilty. The simple fact is that he WILL commit these crimes (no doubt about it) - therefore he IS guilty.
That's assuming a deterministic world. Like I said earlier, if you believe in Freewill then he hasn't committed his crimes yet, and he might choose not to.

(i don't like this response since it implies relativism)
 
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Smurf said:
That's assuming a deterministic world. Like I said earlier, if you believe in Freewill then he hasn't committed his crimes yet, and he might choose not to.
The question at the beginning of the thread asked me to assume that I know what I know now - which is that Hitler indeed committed the crimes, not that Hitler MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT commit the crimes.

I'm not assuming anything, except the assumptions forced on me in the thought experiment itself.

If you wish to ask a different question, such as "would you kill Hitler if you THOUGHT that he MIGHT commit the crimes?", then that is a different question.

MF
 
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Assuming the idea behind the question is whether I would kill to prevent evil, then yes, I'd kill Hitler. Assumign he hasn't commited any crimes, you still know he will. By not killing him you allow all the evil he will commit to be done. Whether or not he has the freewill to choose not to, you KNOW he won't. His choice will be commit murder, rape, torture, etc. On one hand I can let him live and kill those other people, or I can kill him and save them. Lets see, should I kill one man, or a couple million?:uhh:
If your spouse was about to be shot and you had the ability to kill the would-be murderer, you would. Freewill be damned, you know what he is about to do and you'd do anything to stop it.
 
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moving finger said:
If you wish to ask a different question, such as "would you kill Hitler if you THOUGHT that he MIGHT commit the crimes?", then that is a different question.
Well answer that bloody question then.
 
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In a rational sense it would be wrong. If I did not know but only thought what he would do, then it would be wrong. However, this is different then asking if I would. If I thought that there was no reasonable doubt of his evil, even if there was no proof and certinty, I probably would kill him. I know it isn't "moraly right", but that is something I am willing to live with.
 
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i personally wouldn't kill him at all...i would lock him away in some sort of prison and take all the paper he could ever write on away....i definately wouldn't kill him if i knew he would kill tons of ppl yet hasn't yet done it or attempted it. but if i knew he would do soemting liket hat, i'd be sure to surround him wiht individuals who wuld arrest him and jail him at any moment he ordered it. of course tiem travel isn't yet possible.

cd
 

Rade

No need to kill him, just cut out his tongue, and he would lose his status as an alpha male in his society group. Of course, you must then serve some time in jail. Just make sure you do not eat the tongue, then you may end up in mental hospital.
 

inspector Joe

If I did or did not kill him is immaterial. All actions and reactions are predestined.
 
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I think ole Hitler deserves a trip to Camp X-ray, courtesy of Uncle Sam and a time travel machine who wishes to remain anonymous.
 
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Smurf said:
Scenario: You are in 1930, Spetember 15th with all the knowledge of history you have now. Hitler and his Nazi's have just been elected into power in Germany.
Hypothetical: You find yourself in some situation in which you have the ability the shoot and kill Hitler. It is 1930 he has as of yet, committed no crime. Would you kill an innocent man? Or let Hitler go?

Yes, because I have the ability to "see into the future" (since I'm really from 2005, which is "the future" in 1930), and the ability to change the wrong direction the world is going towards, so that this crazy person will not do what he is about to do.

It is almost like the question: "You are in a car. The car is driving. In front of you in the road you see a big animal. Would you stop, even if you know you haven't crashed yet?"
The answer "must" (sorry for my arrogance! :biggrin: ) be: "Of course! You KNOW that you will die otherwise, and have the ability to do something about it."
 
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Smurf said:
Scenario: You are in 1930, Spetember 15th with all the knowledge of history you have now. Hitler and his Nazi's have just been elected into power in Germany.
Hypothetical: You find yourself in some situation in which you have the ability the shoot and kill Hitler. It is 1930 he has as of yet, committed no crime. Would you kill an innocent man? Or let Hitler go?
No i would not shoot him, because this entire notion of "preemptive strike" does not work.

(Recent) History has taught us that.

Besides we would not have had the Volkswagen, Porsche,...Einstein would not have been this famous and the US would not have been the only remaining super power left in 2005.

regards
marlon
 
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VikingF said:
It is almost like the question: "You are in a car. The car is driving. In front of you in the road you see a big animal. Would you stop, even if you know you haven't crashed yet?"
The answer "must" (sorry for my arrogance! :biggrin: ) be: "Of course! You KNOW that you will die otherwise, and have the ability to do something about it."
that's pretty clever. Too bad analogies don't prove anything.
 
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Smurf said:
that's pretty clever. Too bad analogies don't prove anything.

My opinion stays the same.
 
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Very Hard dicision.I whould choose not to shoot him and shoot someone elese importent in the Nazi party so what Hitler did whouldn't as bad without changing histroy to much.
 
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Alright, there's two situations that spring from this initial situation.

Hypothetical Situation #1: You have never existed in the current time and you are (ex.) a german citizen in the year 1930 and you knew what WOULD happen, the reaction would naturally be to eradicate him since he's a threat to your well being (or not, depending on your political status which couldn't be predicted today except for in certain specific circumstances)

Hypothetical Situation #2: You are currently residing in the present (2005) and (generally) irregardless of your political status you would look back and consider killing him. Yet, in this situation would be playing with time and that should never be done because there are more variables than any human (and any computer I know of) could ever calculate.

So to summarize, in situation #1 99.9% of humans that are morally concious would say: YES. While in situation #2 99.9% of anyone who isn't a complete dumb ass would chose: NO.

Lesson: Don't **** with time; it bites back.
 
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As a person who tries to follow the categorical imperative of Kantian morality, I would never do it (I say try - no one can at all times follow Kantian morality). Sure I would consider it, but that's as far as it goes. By the same token, I wouldn't stop another person from doing it.
 

vanesch

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Smurf said:
Scenario: You are in 1930, Spetember 15th with all the knowledge of history you have now. Hitler and his Nazi's have just been elected into power in Germany.
Hypothetical: You find yourself in some situation in which you have the ability the shoot and kill Hitler. It is 1930 he has as of yet, committed no crime. Would you kill an innocent man? Or let Hitler go?
You can of course ask the question how you could change history and nevertheless know it. How can you know what Hitler "did/will do in the 30-45" when you are going to change it ? Hell, maybe you're even at *the origin* of Hitler's behaviour. Maybe Hitler (the one that was elected in 1930) wasn't such a bad guy, but you killed him, and the Nazi's replaced him by a sozie ? Or maybe you tried to kill him, you failed, and that got Hitler paranoia ?
Or maybe there are parallel time lines in which in one line, we have Hitler the way we know him, and in another line, you kill Hitler.
But one thing is sure: you cannot KNOW in 1930 what you know of what happened in 2005, if you have the ability to change it.
So OR you can know it, and that means you cannot change it, OR you cannot know it (because you can change it and then it will of course not happen, hence it will be unknowable), OR both happen in any case in parallel worlds. But you cannot "know" something that will not happen. You can maybe THINK you know it, but then you're just deluded.

The other question is: imagine that you could eliminate Hitler. The question is: where would we be today ? Would the world in 2005 be better or worse off without Hitler ?
Maybe not having had Hitler would not have pushed the US to devellop an atomic weapon, and maybe Stalin did devellop it, after which he launched a total thermonuclear war ?
 

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