Values File

If they are worse a life life tradeoff policy may

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Unformatted text preview: unavoidable power to determine whether a wrong is inflicted more or less often, and the only rational option is such cases is the latter. But there is an alternative to policies that use individuals as mere resources for others in this way: the alternative of a system of civil liberties that limits the field of consequential calculation to its appropriate realm, and recognizes the most vital interests of an individual as matters beyond such calculation. One's very existence is the most fundamental of these interests, and a law permitting the state to extinguish this existence to benefit others the ultimate violation. SLHS Value File "Lesser evil" arguments abolish a right to life by transforming it into a societal commodity Eric Blumenson, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School, NEW CRIMINAL LAW REVIEW, Spring 2007, p. 213 My aim is to demonstrate that, however valid the lesser evil approach may be in some domains, it fails when invoked to justify state violations of the right to life and other fundamental human rights. I shall argue that in such cases, a "life-life tradeoff" policy (as the authors call it) results not merely in the redistribution of human rights violations, but in abolition of the right itself. One's life is no longer one's own, but a societal resource; and this radical revision in legal status constitutes an intolerable injustice that is entirely absent from the authors' tradeoff calculations. The lesser evil principle requires choosing whichever option will cause less net "evil," however defined. The Sunstein-Vermeule "lesser evil" argument dodges the challenge of deontology or else violates it by requiring the state to commit pre-emptive killings Eric Blumenson, Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School, NEW CRIMINAL LAW REVIEW, Spring 2007, p. 219 This concession is necessary if the Sunstein-Vermeule argument is to persuade deontological abolitionists. The next sections delineate what I see as fatal problems with their appeal, but preliminari...
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