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Hunger strike and morality

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by paradox, Aug 6, 2022 at 9:22 AM.

  1. paradox

    paradox (㇏(•̀ᵥᵥ•́)ノ)

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    I was wondering how does the state deal with those who decide to go on hunger strike such as the most recent case with Navalny in Russia when he decided to starve him self to death in protest against the state.

    I recall almost all world wide news reported how his hunger strike finally ended after some time, but not a single news paper be it domestic or foreign reported on how exactly did they make him eat.

    So I went to wikipedia to learn the secrets:
    Hunger strike - Wikipedia

    The purpose of hunger strike is to achieve some goal, if that goal is not achieved however, such that hunger striker starves him self to death this result in provoking a feeling of guilt.
    That guilt is then perceived by the public as utter most dishonor for not taking care to do something.

    This means if Navalny would have died of hunger, this would be significant dishonor for Russia not only domestic shame but also world wide dishonor, especially now when we live in modern times with internet.
    Just imagine how would people react, it's horrible to see starved person to like 20kg and doing nothing!

    Now here starts the interesting portion!
    According to wikipedia people who went to hunger strike were trough history normally transferred to hospital where they were fed by force.
    No need to imagine how may that looked like in dark ages :(

    Force feeding is very horrible psychological experience for patients and is since 1975 cosidered to be a torture, therefore because it is officially torture and since torture is banned world wide, force feeding was prohibited by World Medical Association in Declaration of Tokyo.
    You go research how horrible experience that is if you whish.

    So the question that now remains is, how do they make person eat if not by force?
    According to wikipedia:
    Also:
    This simply means if hunger striker can rationally judge then he is explained that if they refuse to eat, they will die, probably explaining them all the details of suffering of such death such as what happens to the organs and to the body if they refuse.
    I suppose they are also explained that doctor is here to help but is unable by the force of international law.

    What remains to hunger striker from that point on is to either eat or die, it's up to them to decide since they can judge rationally and especially since international law says they're free to die if they so desire.

    A wise reader will notice one thing here, and that is, hunger striker at this point is starting to feel guilt because he realizes that doctors are here and want to help but are prohibited to do so by the force of international law and this is what triggers them to give up because all that remains is suffering and death in agony because doctors are now gone.

    Now that this is clear, there is one more question that I wish you to answer.
    What if hunger striker is not able to rationally judge?
    Well the law allows doctors to feed them by force, that is to torture the patient according to the law.

    Do you consider this morally just or not?
    Take your self time and think, what if patient has serious paranoa or mental health issues, isn't force feeding in that case like adding insult to injury?
     
    #1 paradox, Aug 6, 2022 at 9:22 AM
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022 at 9:39 AM
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  2. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    That seems somewhat inconsistent, since society will usually try to save people who try to kill themselves using quicker methods.

    I think the effectiveness of hunger strikes as a method of protest or defiance ultimately depends on how much public support and sympathy there is for a given cause or individual.
     
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  3. paradox

    paradox (㇏(•̀ᵥᵥ•́)ノ)

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    Sure but this case is different since if doctors can't help how do you expect society to help?
    The only way to prevent person from dying here is to torture them by force feeding, should society take over hospital and take the lead over doctors? I don't think so.

    Agree, but that's about effectiveness of achieving one's goal, in Navalny's case he probably expected that hoards of Russians will get out and start to protest just to save him in addition to achieving his goals, but he was wrong.
    I suppose he was not well informed on what hunger strike really means philosophically and law-wise, obviously the state (Putin) was protected by the international law, all that he could do is to dishonor kremlin in exchange for dying out in agony which is not really a fair nor wise trade.

    My question however is more about morality to torture mentally ill person.
    Is torturing mentally ill justified to save life?
     
  4. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    No, I think it would be in the domain of medical professionals. The doctors and hospitals have been established by society. So, it's not like society is separate from the doctors, at least those who are part of the same society. Another aspect of society would be the government and system of laws that might forbid doctors from saving someone who was dying due to a hunger strike.

    I'm not sure which methods might be used to force feed someone, but there are some medical procedures which might be considered torturous, but not torture, since it might be necessary to save someone's life. They can try to feed them intravenously; they don't have to stuff food down someone's mouth.

    I guess it's kind of a tricky situation, politically speaking. You never know how people might react. With politics, one's political enemies wouldn't care, as they'd probably say "let 'em starve." But then, they can't be seen as creating any martyrs, so they have to make some pretense that they care, just for appearances. The hunger striker may be aware of this and doing it as a calculated move, even if they're not really suicidal or really don't want to end their lives. But then it turns into a power struggle of who is going to give in first.

    The morality is also tricky. After all, it would be considered torture to intentionally starve a prisoner - probably one of the worst kinds of tortures there is.
     
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  5. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    While this seems like a classical dilemma of two equally important moral basics (well being and liberty) conflicting, I see it as solvable. It is not permissible to feed someone against their will but once they are not able to protest and unable to feel pain (i.e. a coma) "force" feeding is not torture and morally mandatory. It is conductive to their well being and it also not violating their freedom. They don't want to die, they just want to use their option to hunger as political pressure.
     
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  6. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    It is the moral imperative of anyone who holds another in their care, which imprisonment is, to prevent harm. Including self harm.

    If the hunger strike approaches the point of harm, it is the duty of the those being protested to ensure the protestor(s) is/are provided with nutrition as their body needs.
     
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