I would like to consider ethical ramifications of genocide. Let us take genocide to mean forceful action taken to rid a target group of people from a certain area. First, let us consider the notion of property. European countries historically make clear distinctions between state boundaries, these boundaries having been established through much real conflict. Prior to western exposure, African tribes interacted and battled, but land was not clearly distributed. Native American tribes “sold” land to Europeans, oblivious to any notions of owning the land. My point is, owning land seems to be a civil right, requiring an ordered civilization, and not a human right inherent to people. Realistically, no factor entitles one person to the land more-so than anyone else. Ancestry, history, the price you paid for it, etc, give you no claims to land outside of the society these factors pertain to. Did Europeans have the right to expel Native Americans from their established settlements? —No. Did that stop them? –Of course not. We even celebrate Christopher Columbus Day.
Is genocide bad? God says thou shall not kill. What’s that, you wiped out a nation? For shame! The smite be of God upon you! Or, just your conscious. Sure, German’s faces are red now, but had they conquered the world and successfully instituted eugenics, the world would be a much different place. Sour as it may seem now, one cannot dispute that, had the Nazi’s won, the victorious super breed would have looked upon the horrific past as a necessary and justified sacrifice for the good of humanity. Psycho, right? Plato would have said the same thing about democracy, and—what with Tea Party politics—he makes a point.
Genocide is always wrong. So is killing, lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, terrorism, science, Muslims, slavery, and birth control. All these things are considered wrong according to different people and for various reasons. They are sins, they form contradictions, you name it; they are never permissible. While I do not disagree that killing things is immoral, I do not think this excludes the possibility of genocide having any real positive consequences. Clearly target victims suffer, and while a people should not be reduced to a single identity or defining attribute, this is not to say that I cannot conceive of a group of people engulfed in a dangerous, threatening, and completely irrational mindset that, after exhausting all other options, might deserve or permit genocide. If all the Muslims in America suddenly took up arms as terrorists against the country as Muslims, the government would be forced to squash this. If a group such as the one just postulated continued to do so, inciting deeply ingrained hatred against its country, then my question is: might there ever be a case in which the state’s best interest would be to entirely wipe out an opposing faction? Does such a group still have a right to exist? What would be the real cost of morality here?