Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#3
Morality is a matter of opinion, and thus whether or not it is morally grey will be decided by your readers, irrespective of what you thought it might come across at time of writing. At best, you might influence them to agree with your stance by laying out the reasons why it had to be done, balanced with why it wasn't an entirely good move (hence, morally grey - you're not looking to fully justify the move).

For example, having only read your brief description above with absolutely no context, blowing up a moon apparently with living creatures on it would strike me as a morally black move. Whatever 'point' he was making doesn't change my opinion in the slightest.

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#4
tanemrin Wrote: Morality is a matter of opinion, and thus whether or not it is morally grey will be decided by your readers, irrespective of what you thought it might come across at time of writing. At best, you might influence them to agree with your stance by laying out the reasons why it had to be done, balanced with why it wasn't an entirely good move (hence, morally grey - you're not looking to fully justify the move).

For example, having only read your brief description above with absolutely no context, blowing up a moon apparently with living creatures on it would strike me as a morally black move. Whatever 'point' he was making doesn't change my opinion in the slightest.


Adding to this, because I think that last part about it being a morally black move is correct, the best thing that you could do to sway people is to prove, in a manner of another, that the beings on the moon were going to, or at least were capable, of something similar. If he just blew up a bunch of wholly innocent people there's literally zero grey morality there. They weren't a threat, any threat they may have posed he was clearly the superior being in the exchange, and there are ways he could have done similar without total annihilation. For example, the US could have bombed Japan into nonexistence at the end of WWII, but we didn't. We dropped two bombs. It's a morally grey decision because it saved lives on our end, but cost Japan possibly more lives than they would have lost continuing the war against us. It forced a peace without complete genocide. Your moon destroyer could do the same thing, blow a chunk out of the moon to prove a point, but he decided to wipe out the whole thing.

And that's not even mentioning the potential havoc losing a moon could have planetside.

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#5

obran Wrote: You can be morally gay all you want.  You just have to be attracted to people who are the same gender as you are.


I'm surprise just how much the meaning and the context of a sentence could change by taking away one character. The character "r" makes all the different...

Thanks for the reply thouGh.


https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/17368/the-king-of-desires

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#6
Bigmouth Wrote: Adding to this, because I think that last part about it being a morally black move is correct, the best thing that you could do to sway people is to prove, in a manner of another, that the beings on the moon were going to, or at least were capable, of something similar. If he just blew up a bunch of wholly innocent people there's literally zero grey morality there. They weren't a threat, any threat they may have posed he was clearly the superior being in the exchange, and there are ways he could have done similar without total annihilation. For example, the US could have bombed Japan into nonexistence at the end of WWII, but we didn't. We dropped two bombs. It's a morally grey decision because it saved lives on our end, but cost Japan possibly more lives than they would have lost continuing the war against us. It forced a peace without complete genocide. Your moon destroyer could do the same thing, blow a chunk out of the moon to prove a point, but he decided to wipe out the whole thing.

And that's not even mentioning the potential havoc losing a moon could have planetside.


Thanks a lot for that spectecular anecdote. 
Your explanation makes it clear to me that my MC has to blow up another moon to become morally grey since one moon makes him morally black. XD


https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/17368/the-king-of-desires

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#10
Moral standards of characters rely on readers' judgment. 
It may be the author's intent to write a morally grey character, but it's really up to the reader to decide/analyze actions taken by characters. And by being morally grey, one has to look at the pros/cons of the circumstances. Mass genocide, I would hope, is frowned upon because it's intentional and calculated that many will have to die if they fit into this box of conditions. But such action may be necessary in times of war or if they benefit the character's side somehow. Imo, it's all about perspective. But generally, loss of life(at least on a massive scale), to me is an immoral action when there're no contributing factors.

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#12
ducpika Wrote:
Dave W Wrote: Ender's Game...

Ender kinda had no idea what he was doing until the reveal.


I agree. Accidentally committing genocide does not make Ender guilty of mass murder. Although the guilt could stick to the adults who had deliberately led him to believe this was just the "ultimate boss fight" in a 3-D video game simulation of space warfare . . . or you could argue that those adults were the ones in the "morally gray zone" because they had to reason to believe that if they lost this war, the human race would get exterminated instead when the aliens came back for another rematch . . .

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#13
ducpika Wrote:
Dave W Wrote: Ender's Game...

Ender kinda had no idea what he was doing until the reveal.


You're right, he didn't know that he was committing genocide, however, the OT didn't specify ;)

Another look would be Luke Skywalker and the "good guys" blowing up the Death Star in Star Wars. The population of it was an estimated 1.7 million military personnel according to Wiki. In essence, I think that it depends. If the race is "good" and the MC commits genocide, then it's "bad", likewise, if the race is "evil" and the MC commits genocide, it's "good".

There is a saying that, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", so following that, it depends on how you want the reader to interpret the MC's actions and the destroyed race's actions.

For "morally grey", then it would be a good story... the hero knows he has to kill the entire race or everyone else will die, however, not the entire race is guilty, so he would be killing innocents. How does the hero process this? How does he overcome it? It gives a good psychology element to the story, and even better if after reading the story, the readers ask themselves, "Would I have done the same?"

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#14
Yes.



Oh, did you want more of an answer than that?

Yes, certainly.


Churchill & dropping incendiary on residential areas is another example from WW2.

IMO intention plays a big part, and one of the ways its shown (or failed to be shown) is in the exploration of alternatives. If they fail to investigate, then its morally black regardless of whether or not there were alternatives. If the decision is rushed, likewise. And a good reason. Proving a point is a lame reason.

iirc, civilian areas was one of the last things the allies targeted. They'd tried destroying the german planes, the airfields, the factories, other infastructure, and finally the areas in which the personnel working in the factories lived... after all that they tried bombing everything. In the end, none of that worked decisively and they used another method entirely to destroy the luftwaffe (baiting them by bombing berlin).

In fact, even if someone else insists there are no other options the dude would have to question why - and who concurs. If there was ever a time to quadruple check something, its then.

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#15
In real life, genocide is about as morally black as it gets.

In fiction, is depends on whether the creature is sexy or not. If you have a race full of noble naturallist blue people that look human enough to be relatable to us (Eg: Avatar) then genocide is super bad. If you have a race full of creepy slimy aliens (War of the worlds, Independence day, etc.) then nobody has any problem with destroying a city sized starship and slaughtering millions of their kind. 

A lot of it depends on how it's set up too. You could make the audience cheer for genocide, or boo for genocide, and the only thing that matters is how your frame it. A good example of that would be Ender's Game where the author plays on audience expectations.

Re: Can Someone who commit a Mass Genocide be considered "morally grey"?

#18
From someone who studies human morality in our society. What your character did can not in any way be considered morally grey if the only reason he did it was to make a point. If someone killed an entire race of people in our society they would not be considered to have mixed morals by the general standards, Hitler comes to mind. Though I should add that there was certainly a group of people who considered what he did right, there always are, but in our society in general genocide is very very wrong. However, that doesn't mean it can't be considered morally grey by the society you created. If enough people viewed the people on the moon as wrong or evil or whatever, than by your society what he did was morally grey or even right. It's your world so you control what's considered moral or not within the boundaries of your society, just don't go overboard and make really weird stuff that go against the rules of the site moral.

As for whether your readers will view them as morally grey or not, well that's their own thing. I'd be a little disturbed if a bunch of readers on this site considered genocide as morally grey and not flat out wrong.