Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Ethics of a Clone Army

May the Force Morals Be With You


From guest blogger, Lee.

*MILD SPOILERS ALERT*
(Although honestly you should've watched Star Wars by now if you haven't...)
Let me start off by saying that the production of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an immoral act in and of itself. It's widely  argued to be the worst of the three prequel films, with a heavy emphasis on SGI for most of its scenes. One of the main reasons for this overhaul in green screen technology was the necessity to show a mass clone army, bred for the Republic (which is pretty much the government of the entire galaxy). As we talked about the morals of cloning on Earth, I couldn't help but to think of George Lucas' "galaxy far, far away".


The basic premise of the movie is this: A clone army is made to defend the galaxy and fight against the droid armies of the Confederacy (a part of the galaxy that is trying to secede from the Republic and uses mainly robots to do its fighting). The clones are far more superior than the droids because they can "think creatively" in battles. Though the clones are human, genetic engineering manipulated them to follow every command they were given by their masters, without question.  And although they can think creatively to follow carry out an order, they do not have wills of their own, and have no desire to become independent.
I got to thinking: Would it really be immoral to create a clone army if they would be barely human at all? We ourselves have wants, desires, ambition...what if the clones were programmed so that they could not hold such emotions? Heck, we could even engineer their DNA so that they don't feel pain. We would be okay with sending robots into battle, why not beings bred just for the purpose of war?
And what if the beings looked far different than us? Have you ever seen Lord of The Rings? The bad guy Saruman created the army of monstrous looking Uruk-Hai to feel no emotion other than hate and to desire only one thing: to kill. If we created a beast for war, although it'd be pretty scary and unreal to us, would it be immoral? Wouldn't it be worse if we sacrificed the lives of soldiers? Or should we just use nukes and call it a day?

2 comments:

Patrick said...

Interesting thought, the Republic's clone army is definitely worthy of moral consideration. I was thinking a way of refuting this (seeing as you more or less made a case for its validity). Suppose a city is next to a factory that has a toxic spill that doesn't kill its inhabitants, but rather makes them have no ambitions, obedient, and the inability to feel pain. Are those simple townsfolk a perfect fighting force? Are people that have brain damage or disorders that no longer allow them to feel pain jumping ship to join the army left and right? The clone army may be an extremely effective force, but they are not simply fighting beings. They are still sentient creatures and it can be argued that they deserve consideration in the morale community.

Ming Yuan said...

Hi Lee,

I did not see Star Wars or Lord of The Rings, but I still feel interesting to talk about cloning in wars. If we clone an army, what should we classify it? Should we classify it as human? If so, is that really better than sacrificing soldiers? If we classify clone army as scientific achievement, the purpose of cloning is not good at all.

I don't think cloning is morally permissible because I think given that cloning shortens lifetime, there are better alternatives for people who want to be a parent. Also, I think cloning is asexual, and it does not meet the requirement for being human. However, if the purpose of cloning is to study cancer and help defend disease, then I think it is morally permissible.