Robert C. Hughes
Is Everything Truly Fair in War?
Absolutism is a political theory that views all values and principles as unconditional, rather than as relative, dependent, or changeable entities. The school of thought is associated with the perception of interpersonal relationships, wherein one views oneself as a small being interacting with others in a larger system. It limits the effect of Utilitarianism, a form of belief that believes in aristocratic bureaucracy, which gives primacy to what will happen, as opposed to giving priority to people’s actions. Absolutism is the view that while consequences are relevant to the morality of an action, some actions are always bad, irrespective of the consequences. This theory is especially true in the case of Warfare. In the article “War and Massacre,” Thomas Nagel seeks to portray a similar perception consistent with the values of absolutism. His overall view of the issue states that it is always wrong to target civilians, no matter how beneficial the aim might be, and that some weapons (like napalm) must never be used against enemy combatants, even if using those weapons is the only way to win a war. For him, actions take absolute priority over end results. Nagel sites examples, such as the scenarios pertaining to the Taxi Driver and the Politician, in order to give substantial reasoning to discuss “the most general moral problem raised by warfare: the problem of