login about faq

Morality, according to Objectivist, is a code of values that guides human action; and the standard of good is man's life as a man. Therefore, someone who takes, without any purpose (they weren't suffering or anything), their own life, is more immoral than a dictator like Hitler or Stalin, who, while had, without a doubt, miserable lives (and certainly not one of a rational man), still were alive, had a family and something to eat every day.

Is there anything wrong in my thinking?

asked Oct 15 '10 at 21:42

Cherman's gravatar image


To restate the question:

Is it more immoral to kill yourself for no good reason than to stay alive after killing 6,000,000 other people for no good reason?

God, no!

This question implies that Objectivism might turn a blind eye toward mass murder as long as the culprit stays alive. The implication is deeply mistaken -- even offensive.

The standard of morality is not whether you have a pulse. "Man's life qua man" is the standard, and the man who kills only himself is far more moral (and human) than a mass murderer, especially if the mass murderer keeps his pulse.

For the mass murderer to kill himself would be an act of justice. It would be the one thing he could be morally praised for.

I would advise the questioner to do more study on the meaning of the phrase "man's life qua man." To someone who understands this phrase, the question would never, ever come up.

answered Oct 16 '10 at 13:18

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

edited Oct 16 '10 at 13:34

Is it better to spend your last days under excruciating torture with no more values to achieve, or to end your life before that happens? That's the same dilemma faced by an evil dictator like Hitler or Stalin. Their lives are no longer the lives of man as a man, their choices led them to try to survive like a beast, and while their physical bodies are still alive, they are already dead spiritually. If a dictator is evil and he knows it, he has to live with the knowledge that he does not deserve to live, what would that do to a man? If a dictator is evil and he does not know it, he has to be completely disconnected from reality to avoid that knowledge, and what would that do to a man? Neither of those positions could ever lead to happiness, the moral purpose of a man's life. In contrast, the man who decides to end his life for no reason did not have to endure the subhuman torture of trying to live like a beast. Because of that, I would argue that the man who kills himself for no reason is nowhere near as immoral as the evil dictator.

answered Oct 16 '10 at 05:45

Francisco's gravatar image

Francisco ♦

edited Oct 16 '10 at 05:48

Timmyarthur, I'm sorry, but it is just too difficult to follow your logic as it pertains to the content of the answer you are commenting on. I wouldn't normally step in, but I also can't discern just what you are advocating vs. what you are saying others are advocating, and that's not good when you're hitting on a bunch of cultural hot-buttons like that. So I am deleting your comment as potentially inflammatory and off-topic, but encourage you to try again.

Thanks, Greg

(Feb 14 '11 at 14:42) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Share This Page:



Asked: Oct 15 '10 at 21:42

Seen: 1,496 times

Last updated: Feb 14 '11 at 14:42