Cutting Good Guys Moral Slack

Still from *A Good Day to Die Hard*

Still from *A Good Day to Die Hard*

Here’s a quickie (not by me) that I thought some of you might be interested in. Yeah, yeah, I know, it veers into the political. But, it’s mostly non-partisan… mostly. Obviously, it was the opening paragraph (reproduced below) that made me think of you. Then, it shifts to “real-life” cops, laws, the Constitution, Saul Alinsky, Bill Maher, George Orwell, and asks how much law-breaking and unethical behavior by our political heroes are we willing to overlook in the name of “a better country and a better world”?

If you’re intrigued, give it a read….

“We cut our television and movie heroes a lot of slack. We understand when the good guy bends the rules a bit or takes some liberties with the law in order to achieve a righteous end. Movies and television shows of the seventies and eighties often ended with spectacular chase scenes in which the good guy pursued a nemesis without regard to traffic laws and without regard for property (especially barns, plate glass windows, and wedding cakes, as I recall). If our hero isn’t quite truthful all the time or if he tricks a bad guy, or if he resorts to some unorthodox method of interrogation, that’s okay. It isn’t really bad when the good guy does it in pursuit of good. So we cheer….”

Read the rest of this Patriot Update article here: “Cutting Good Guys Moral Slack”

Tomorrow, we will return to our regularly-scheduled, superheroic efforts….

Can Cyborgs Be Tried for Murder?

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Today’s post will be a bit more challenging, philosophically-speaking, than my usual posts. (Hey, I warned you I might do this on occasion.) But, that’s OK, ‘cuz sci-fi/fantasy fans are generally pretty smart! 🙂  It should be fun, too. I originally wrote and published the post on my other blog, “A View from the Right”, a few years ago. But, the cyborg angle makes it appropriate for here, too. I hope it sparks some synapses, and I look forward to your comments (either here or there).


Last night, I re-watched the first two episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles — based on the first two Terminator movies, of course. You know… the ones where Arnold Schwarzenegger says things like “Ah’ll be bahk.” and “Hasta la vista, baby.” Except, Arnold wasn’t in the TV series. (Maybe if he had been, the show would have lasted longer.)

Terminator - SCC - Cameron posterCameron-the-cyborg was sent back from the year 2027 with a mission: protect the teen-age John Connor at all costs. As with Arnold’s “good” Terminator in T2, Cameron must be taught about ethics and given further instruction to temper her “no nonsense” methods of solving problems, like killing anyone perceived as an immediate threat to John’s survival. She must learn to use non-lethal methods whenever possible. You see, in order to blend in with humans, the Terminators must also be able to act like humans (albeit a bit “stiff”). To do this, they must be able to learn and adapt, which means they have artificial intelligence and a limited amount of “free will”. Within certain parameters, anyway. Each Terminator has a primary objective (e.g., “Eliminate John Connor” or “Protect John Connor” or ???) and possibly one or more secondary objectives.

Now, we finally get to my original question: Can, or rather should, cyborgs be brought to trial if they commit murder? If the cyborg in question is Steve Austin (the fictional character, not the wrestler), then the answer should be “Definitely, yes.” Assuming no one remote-controlled his bionic limbs to kill someone against his will, of course. He is an independent human being and responsible for his own actions. [Side question: At what point can a cyborg no longer be called “human”. What about a human brain in an artificial shell?] But, with a Terminator-type cyborg, the subject is not a human being. The “Cameron” character — named after producer/director James Cameron, of course — is an artificially intelligent machine with a great deal of autonomy, yet who must ultimately follow her programming to fulfill her primary mission. (I know. Technically, Cameron is an “it”, not a “her”. But, it’s a very attractive, feminine-looking “it”.)

I see at least a couple issues, here….

Read the entire, original post at: “Can Cyborgs Be Tried for Murder?”