This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

The law of double-effect

Perfection is not demanded by the Church. Catholic theology allows for the possibility that an act has good and evil consequences, and in this it has acknowledged the law of double-effect. To use one of Aquinas’s examples, it is not licit to wish to kill a man, but one may employ lethal force in one’s own defense. The act has the double effect, but it was permissible because, although the evil was foreseen, it was for the sake of the immediate good—self-preservation—that the act was actually carried out. The death of the attacker was an unwilled, even if foreseeable, consequence of the justified response of the victim.

To apply this to war, it is often unavoidable that collateral damage will occur in a conflict; yet the collateral damage can never be the direct intention of the attacker. To mention again the bombings of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, civilization populations were directly targeted as a means of pressuring their governments to submit. Because the targeting of civilians was the direct intention of the attacks, it would not fall under the law of double-effect and was an offense to just war doctrine.

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