Friday, April 10, 2009

"Do you not see, first, that... physical force is directly opposed to morality; and, secondly, that it... drives out of existence the moral forces?"

"Do you not see, first, that — as a mental abstract — physical force is directly opposed to morality; and, secondly, that it practically drives out of existence the moral forces? How can an act done under compulsion have any moral element in it, seeing that what is moral is the free act of an intelligent being? If you tie a man's hands there is nothing moral about his not committing murder. Such an abstaining from murder is a mechanical act; and just the same in kind, though less in degree, are the acts which men are compelled to do under penalties imposed upon them by their fellow men. Those who would drive their fellow men into the performance of any good actions do not see that the very elements of morality — the free act following on the free choice — are as much absent in those upon whom they practice their legislation as in a flock of sheep penned in by hurdles." - Auberon Herber

Computers cannot act against their programming. They do not have free will. Therefore they cannot do anything morally right or wrong. Humans do have free will, and thus can choose to follow their own conscience, or to not follow it. Whatever the choice is, is theirs. But if we take away that choice, if we force them to perform certain actions, they are no longer doing the moral thing, but the only thing that they are allowed to do. So if somebody chooses to use the government to force everyone to follow some guideline that they feel is moral, they will undermine their own objective, for the action will no longer hold any morality!