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so must our government display love for all men in its decision to fire missiles at the people of

Baghdad. By making mathematical calculations on the worth of life, the United State's government

is not acting out of love--it is passing judgment on the lives of thousands by making each life an

expendable number.

If Iraq does kill millions with its weapons of mass destruction, so be it--if

they have led good lives they have nothing to fret.

Furthermore, Dostoyevsky believes that man has free will and must be held responsible

for his actions. Despite the US government rationalizing its actions by claiming that anyone would

have made the same calculative decision, the US government will, at any rate, be held responsible

for its actions in the judgment of Dostoyevsky's God. Not only does man have free will, it is

precisely because he has free will that man can not become a mere set of calculations, a means to an

end: "the meaning of man's life consists of proving to himself every minute that he's a man and not

a piano key" (Dostoyevsky 1961, pg. 115). Man's free will is more important than satisfying the

best interest of man through cost/benefit analysis. For in man's search for free will, if based on

nothing more than a calculation he will inevitably rebel against what is in his best interest if only to

show that he is a man and not a piano key to be played in order to complete a sonata.

However, there is also a practical problem with Dostoyevsky's morality. If it is the case

that no one, not a government nor an individual, can place a value on human life, how do we go

about living our daily lives? For instance, it is necessary to weigh the costs and benefits of eating

and serving food to others. Undoubtably, someone will choke on a piece of chicken and possibly

die (though the chance is small), but nonetheless when we do a cost/benefit analysis we find that it

is better to chance it and eat rather than to starve to death. God passes judgment on who will live

and who will die. Yet, I don't know many Christians who are on a hunger strike, allowing only

God to keep them alive. Or, what about the vaccination of children? Again, a cost benefit analysis

must be done. While there is the probability of 1 out of100,000, children dying or becoming very

sick, of that same 100,000 children perhaps ten would have died without the vaccine. Is there a


Like Dostoyevsky, Black Elk's morality is one based on religion; not one of Christianity

but one of nature or ecoistic character. Unlike Dostoevsky's or the government's official rationale,

Black Elk's moral response to the "official rationale" for the firing of missiles into Baghdad seems

to be more ambiguous. In our present situation, we are not dealing with a tribe over the possession

of rifles which, if used, would prevent the mining of gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but