Would You Die, If Only for Principle?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by EricNau, Sep 15, 2009.

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Would You Die, If Only for Principle?

  1. No, I would do whatever it takes to save my life

    8 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Yes, I would die, but only in the name of my religion or deity

    2 vote(s)
    10.0%
  3. Yes, I would die to maintain my principles

    10 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #1
    Arthur Miller's 1950's play, The Crucible, begged the question, is it better to live with a tarnished reputation, or to die out of principle? The protagonist, John Proctor, is accused of performing witchcraft, and is met with the choice of confessing in order to save his life, or to be put to death. Although Miller's play took place over 300 years ago, the concept and question are still relevant today.

    In a similar fashion, would you maintain your integrity, no matter the cost? Or would you sacrifice your principles to save your life?
     
  2. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    #2
    Isn't that the same question twice?
     
  3. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000

    yetanotherdave

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    #3
    Depends on the crime, I could never admit to something like paedophilia, rape or murder if I was innocent, but for other crimes, maybe, probably not still, but I might consider it for a lesser sentence.

    (this assumes that I know I'll be found guilty despite being innocent, right?)
     
  4. EricNau thread starter Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #4
    Yes, sorry, my mistake. I had two revisions open, and posted the wrong one. :eek:
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    I would fashion a tale of how someone else was the one who did it and then let them make the decision.
     
  6. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    #6
    It really depends on the situation. Dying affects more than just me. If I were to die merely on principle, the question isn't just "Are you willing to die?" but also, "Are you willing to put your mother through the agony of surviving her child?" Also, in the future, if I were to have small kids, being a father is probably more important than dying for a principle.

    If my death truly didn't affect anyone else, though, I think I'd have no problem dying for a principle, but you never know until you're put in that situation.
     
  7. EricNau thread starter Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #7
    Miller wrote, in the words of John Hale, "It is mistaken law that leads you to sacrifice. Life, woman, life is God's most precious gift; no principle, however glorious, may justify the taking of it. I beg you, woman, prevail upon your husband to confess. Let him give his lie. Quail not before God's judgment in this, for it may well be God damns a liar less than he that throws his life away for pride."

    That would best summarize my opinion, if not slightly antiquated. What good are my principles if I'm dead? And my reputation, is it really worth dying for? Most importantly, like Macaddicttt mentioned, how would this affect my family? How would my loved ones live, knowing I didn't do everything in my power to continue my life with them?
     
  8. Heilage macrumors 68030

    Heilage

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    #8
    I would lie, cheat and steal to destroy my enemies from within rather than giving up and letting them put a bullet in my head.
     
  9. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #9
    +1

    While principles are important, your perspective changes when you have a child (or 3)



    Edit: I'd die to save them, if that can be considered a principle
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #10
    It depends. I most certainly would die if someone came to power who declared people like me criminals deserving the death penalty. I would run first, but I would never live a lie if caught. I know what that's like, and I will never do it again.
     
  11. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #11
    This question is too simplistic to have much relevancy to real life. This is 3am college dorm room bull session stuff.

    In general, I'd take a bullet for people, but there are few principles I'd die for. There's almost always a better way.

    BTW, this title of this thread is missing an adjective, between "Die" and "If Only."
     
  12. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    #12
    I wouldn't die (whether put to death or suicide) simply for principle.

    I think that to die is much too powerful simply for principle. I could see it as being selfish as well when you take in to consideration your loved ones and the pain they would be put through.

    I'm not saying to lie (like lee's example), but especially to voluntarily give up your life? No.

    So for principle, no. But would I put myself in danger to save another life? Absolutely. I have already done it, but to a lesser extent. It was during a 4th of July parade back in 1997. A four year old boy ran out in to the street to grab a piece of candy that had been thrown, but he ran right out in front of two horses pulling a buggy. I ran out and grabbed the boy and got kicked square in the back by one of the horses as I shielded the boy. Thankfully I was okay too, although I had a very sore back for about a month, and an imprint of a horseshoe right below my shoulder blades. Heh.

    You don't think during those situations, you just do it. And now that I have my own child there is NOTHING I wouldn't do to keep him from harm. I would lay down my life in an instant to save either my son or my wife.
     
  13. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #13
    Depending on the circumstances, but I would almost certainly not die for principle alone.
     
  14. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #14
    there are likely situations i would be willing to die for (to save my family, as someone mentioned), including probably some 'principles', but not other 'principles'.
    it would depend on the circumstances and what would mean, to me and the people that i care for and that care for me, to live vs to die.

    i am curious, why did you single out religion as one particular important principle? i would imagine (and hope) that one's loved ones would be at most people's top of the list of things worth sacrificing for.
     
  15. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Short of a death sentence, I think people confess to crimes they did not commit every day in the U.S. Not everyone has the money for a good lawyer and they probably judge that its better to confess than go to jail.

    As for dying for principle--it really depends on the circumstances. If I'm being made to hurt or kill someone else or die--I'd like to think I'd probably choose death. If I'm being made to confess to a crime in which I'd spend life in prison--I'd probably choose death. If I'm set free after confession--I'd probably lie and confess.

    When you're actually in any life or death situation the instinct to preserve your own life is very, very strong so who knows? It's easy to sit back and think of how noble we'd all be. blah blah blah.
     
  16. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #16
    Would I die for a principle, like point blank shot in the head? Most likely not....would I fight and risk dyeing, yes.


    I was in a Quaker meeting for worship once, a woman stood up, told a story about Israel, and end with "I would not die for New Jersey(where she lives), but I would die for Israel"

    I came away thinking she was an idiot...just drop dead for something? Seems like a waste, risk death fight for something, I'm on board(there is a chance a small you'll win or live)
     
  17. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #17
    Principles ? Would I die for my principles ?

    Well I tend to prioritize my principles like I believe most people do..

    For the highest principle I personally hold I would die for it.

    That's as far as I can go because the concept of principles is very subjective.
     
  18. EricNau thread starter Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #18
    So far, the poll is leaning opposite to the majority of the comments, which is interesting. :) Perhaps, though, it's a hard question to answer in simply a yes/no format.

    Such risings to power can be temporarily; would you not be willing to lie, even briefly, at the chance that the situation might change? Death just seems to permanent. :eek:

    I offered it as an option simply to differentiate those who would die to uphold their integrity, and those who would be willing to die in the name of their god or religion (the historical as well as contemporary examples are innumerable). To address your second point, most religions uphold their god as being of the utmost importance, even before family. (EDIT: Sir Thomas More provides an excellent example for both points.)

    The presumption here is that your lie wouldn't directly lead to the harm/death of others. Essentially, it would be assumed that your false confession (or other act of violating one's own principles) would lead to a lesser sentence or release.

    Even if the lesser sentence were life in prison, circumstances can change: you might be released at a later date. With death, that isn't an option, as it were. :(

    Also, for the sake of this argument, let's assume that one's confession wouldn't directly or immediately save the lives of others, just their own. So, this would also exclude traditional acts of altruism.
     
  19. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #19
    Again depending on the circumstances, I probably would be willing to lie. I have just this one life, and I'm nowhere near done with it. Once I'm gone I'm gone, and if there was hope for surviving into a future where I wouldn't need to lie I'd certainly hold out for it.
     
  20. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #20
    How many commenters on this thread have been in a position to make a choice between their principles and something as minor, as say, his or her job?

    In my experience, most people like to think of themselves as selfless and noble but when it comes down to it, they'll compromise almost every principle they hold dear for something as petty as money.
     

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