2016-10-10

How Many Deaths Equals One Rape?

I’m compelled to write this post, even though it doesn’t represent much of a contribution to the existing material out there, including posts previously published on this website.

For me, the story of the election is how much mental gymnastics people are willing to do in order to justify voting for Hillary Clinton.

There is no question in my mind that Donald Trump is a bad man who would make a very bad president. But this fact implies nothing about Hillary Clinton’s comparative standing in that regard. Moreover, we have a mountain of historical records and evidence that suggest that Hillary, too, is a bad woman who would make a very bad president. (Nor does this fact imply anything about the quality of Donald Trump as a potential president.)

When I say “mental gymnastics,” what I’m talking about is this: We know that Hillary Clinton’s policies have led to war, destruction, and death across the globe. Her husband’s policies, too, were once derided at “globo-cop” policies that did more harm than good. The Clintons have a lot of international blood on their hands; they’ve dropped a lot of bombs. A lot of bombs.

Let’s take it for granted that Donald Trump is a racist, sexist pig who is possibly guilty of sexual assault. Here’s an ethical question I pose to my readers: How many bombs do I have to drop on innocent people before my behavior is deemed not only morally reprehensible, but as morally reprehensible as the behavior of a rapist? Think about it, I beg of you. How many people are you allowed to kill with flying robots before the nation decides that the death on your hands is on par with a hideous racist ideology or a single alleged sexual assault? Do I get to kill ten people before I’m as bad as a racist? Twenty people? Five hundred? How many thousands of deaths equal one sexual assault, from a moral standpoint?

As I just mentioned two paragraphs ago, making a case against the death-mongering policies of Hillary Clinton should not be misconstrued as an argument in favor of a Donald Trump presidency. My question is only how many atrocities politicians like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, et al have to commit before you as a human being start seeing them as the monsters that they are. A man who loudly proclaims his bigotry and brags about sexual misconduct is certainly a villain. Why do so many suppose that the others are not villains? Why do so many more suppose that dropping bombs on thousands is less morally reprehensible than a public declaration of bigotry?

Odd, isn’t it?

It is particularly odd in light of the many, many allegations of sexual misconduct – and even a few credible accusations of rape – against Bill Clinton and the fact that Hillary Clinton must naturally know how credible those accusations against her husband are; accusations despite which she chose to stay with her husband for reasons most Americans have assumed for decades purely reflect a professional ambition to rule over us.

Of course – of course – it’s difficult to know who to vote for in an election of monsters. Do you risk one monster, or the other? Do you risk voting for a third party candidate? Do you risk not voting at all? I don’t fault anyone in this election cycle for making any particular choice of candidates.

But I do fault people for handing in their principles to justify their choice. Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, a liar, and a panderer. You can certainly conclude that she is still preferable to other candidates, but you’re not (ethically) allowed to pretend that she is no longer any of those things, just because you view the other candidates less favorably. You are not (ethically) allowed to say one candidate is unequivocally worse than the other on moral grounds unless you are prepared to do the utility calculus and state in no uncertain terms that boasting of rape and racism is morally worse than killing thousands and covering up a rape.


At least, not according to my ethics.