0201 - Okay with it. - 2021.08.09



Have you ever experienced someone you like and trust mentioning, offhandedly, that they'd be okay with an atrocity?

Sometimes it's more flippant than other times, of course. You might hear a frustrated parent saying "well, let's just send all the kids to school with peanut butter sandwiches, and it'll be sad for a bit, but in the long run, maybe the gene pool will be healthier...". You might hear a racist-but-we-don't-talk-about-it uncle clapping a returning veteran on the back and thanking them for "fighting all those damn Muslims over there so we don't have them swarming over here". You might hear your date muttering approval of an action movie hero torturing bad guys to gain information about their crimes. You might hear a weary nurse suggesting that idiots who don't follow COVID-19 protocols should all be made to catch the virus that they apparently don't care about.

Does it change your perception of someone, if they haven't done anything terrible, but you know, hypothetically, that they'd be okay with it happening? Does it make a difference if the terrible thing is unlikely or unrealistic?

We experience this quite a lot on social media, I think. Lord knows, I've certainly made flippant or sarcastic remarks that would make me look quite heartless, if taken out of context... which is what social media excels at.

How much leeway do you give someone before you pull them aside and confront them? Would you break off a relationship if someone expressed hypothetical support for electro-shocking non-standard children, or killing off everyone who follows a given ideology, or segregating society into good citizens and deviants? Would you warn a friend away from dating someone if they've never actually treated a romantic partner badly, but have casually suggested that if you've paid for dinner & drinks, you're owed something at the end of the night?

If someone agrees with something monstrous that their nation is doing, are they culpable? Does it make a difference if they pay taxes or vote or participate in online political discussions? We all accept, to a certain degree, that the price of affordable consumer goods is that somewhere in the supply chain of fungible resources, there may be trace amounts of brutal union-busting or child slavery or environmental decimation. Is the same attitude reasonable towards governments?


0201 - 2167/07/06/16:49 - Lee's apartment, living room.
CP: You... you honestly thought that I had m-murdered three hundred and tw- tw- tw-
CP: *
CP: Three hundred and twenty-two human beings?
LC: Not murdered! Executed! Executing people is okay! Like Socrates!
Doc: Actually, capital punishment has also been illegal, worldwide, for over a century...
LC: Well, y'know... sacrificing for your country! That's a good thing, right? We're all supposed to thank you for that!
CP: Lee, I... I'm not cool with someone who's.... with someone who would be cool with me mass-murdering people! That's not okay!
LC: Good! I was also not cool with it! I... I had to talk myself into being cool-
CP: Don't! Don't talk yourself into it! It's bad that you could do that!
LC: Yes! I won't!
CP: D-d-do you know the p-p-precision, the specificity, the redundancy, the.. the.. the.... the paranoia that they had to instill in me, for years, about accidentally hurting another human being? If I gave a soldier on the other side a papercut, three levels of authority above me would have stood trial in South Africa!
LC: Well, I didn't know that, okay? People kill people all the time on... on...
CP: On TV?
LC: Well... yeah!
Doc: Lee, the programs you enjoy may feature fantasy violence, but you're well-aware that-
LC: Yes, I know the difference between fantasy and reality! That's not a problem I have! You don't have to talk to me about that!
CP: I.... that's why I have the nightmares, Lee! That's why I'm afraid of normal interactions with people! If I... if I trip you on a concrete sidewalk, if I pat you on the back wrong, all my... all my training...
LC: Yeah, but, come on, you just said you blow up drones! Like, we're talking humanoids, right? Like Zoa?
CP: Nothing with a face! Never anything with a face!
LC: But... what if the bad guys painted a face on-
CP: Which is why that's also a violation!
LC: Well, I'm sorry I don't have a list of all the Johannesburg war rules memorized, okay? I guess I'm just a criminal myself, huh?
CP: Might as well, y-y-you're apparently perfectly morally okay with it!
Doc: Lee, Caleb, you are both exhibiting extreme agitation. I think now would be a good time for us to stop, do some deep breathing...
Zoa (removing faceplate): Heck, I already don't legally resemble a human being, but if having a face is the problem...