That was a pun. “What’s left” was my insanely punny way of saying “what’s wrong?”
I won’t be able to reproduce the arguments exactly, or at all, really. And I hope Bee’s okay with my posting of it here.
On the train ride home today, with Fel and Bee, Bee started a discussion about the Saudi Arabians stoning women to death for a certain reason within their society. I think it was as a sort of punishment for committing a crime but I really can’t remember.
Bee put to us that we really shouldn’t (or rather, not “shouldn’t” but that it doesn’t really achieve anything if we) decide and see whether it is “right” or “wrong” for them to do this. Their society and culture does not view it as “wrong” and we only see it as such because we were brought up to see it that way.
My basic argument had been that it is wrong and we can say that it is wrong even without understanding fully their culture because every human has a intrinsic right to live, and to take away that right (or the “arbitrary deprivation of their lives”) is intrinsically wrong.
Bee countered (along with Fel) that it is not actually our “right” to live. “Rights” were a convention set up by society. Sure, we have the “will” to live, but in certain situations that will to live does not amount to anything significant.
(This, by the way, is a horrendously abridged version of the debate we had, and in the wrong chronological order as well.)
Thus, by convention, we believe that the stoning of these women are “wrong”. Are they actually “wrong”? And what is “wrong”? By saying that such acts are wrong, it does not do anything to help or stop it from happening, and really “it’s just them complaining” (in the slightly paraphrased words of Bianca herself).
I then put to her that, “Yes, it is just complaining. But by complaining you are at least giving that slight possibility of something BEING done, whereas if you don’t complain nothing will be done and that’s that. It’s like a kid complaining to his mom about being hit by his brother. Complaining about it MIGHT get the mom to tell the brother off, or the brother to stop, but not complaining about it will just make him keep going, or make the situation worse.”
That stopped Bianca for while, but we’d also gone on to another topic.
Are humans intrinsically evil?
I’d put that, yes, humans are intrinsically evil. Take for example the Stanford Experiment. When given the power and the authority, all humans will inevitably start relishing in the power, and abusing it and whomever their power grants them command over.
Fel had argued that while humans may have evil parts in them, intrinsically, it is also true that there are purely good parts in everyone. Absolutely everyone. Bianca agreed, saying that even Hitler had good parts in him, because despite what his actions really were, to him they were the “right thing” (and here is that term again) and his acting upon these beliefs show he is a good person (was that your point, Bianca?)
The discussion then petered out at that point. No one “won” per se but I think Bianca had the slight upper hand in the end, regarding the Saudi Arabian argument.
What is it that you believe? Were those actions wrong? Were those actions justified by the cultural differences? Is society to blame? Is there actually no way of determining whether those actions are right because, in the end, there is no such thing as “right”?
P.S. I’m not going to be patronizing, just helpful. If by chance anyone who read this wasn’t sure what “intrinsically” actually means:
Princeton: belonging to a thing by its very nature; “form was treated as something intrinsic, as the very essence of the thing”- John Dewey
So sort of like saying “water is intrinsically wet”. Sort of.