I do X because people died so I could.

Why is this a good reason for anything? People died so that I could have the freedom to do what I want, that’s great I have the freedom to do what I want, that means I have the freedom to do X or the freedom NOT to do X. Why should their dying so that I CAN do something oblige me to do it?

I’m not sure that their dying necessarily *obliges * you to do X (e.g. the right to vote). The fact though that people were prepared to die in defence of X should certainly make you pause to consider how valuable X is before you choose not to do it.

It’s just a guilt trip. People can die for bad or stupid causes as easily as good ones, so the fact that someone died so that you can do X doesn’t mean you should do X. For example, people have died for religious freedom; that doesn’t make handing over your property and life savings to a cult leader a smart idea.

I never understood the argument. If someone died to get me a certain freedom, didn’t someone else also die trying to deny me that same freedom? How many soldiers gave their lives so that I might live under the thumb of the British crown? How many gave their lives so that I might be living in a Nazi regime? How many to allow me to own slaves?

I fully agree. The one I despise is that people died for our right to vote, and is spouted by many old timers. What they forget is that they also died so I have the CHOICE to vote. And not imprisoned or killed by a dictator because I chose not to.

And the very worst example is “We must continue the war, so that they will not have died in vain”.

Yeah, that is a bad example. I highly doubt anyone wants to continue fighting just for the sake of the dead troops. Usually they think the cause is just and winnable. There may be a few who think otherwise, but they are few enough to make you example a bad one.

Which according to your logic, is just as despicable for you to say.


Best to just say everyone’s death is a vain meaningless death and leave it at that.

They gave their lives, not so that you **must **do something, but so that you have the choice whether or not to do it.

I, too, have had a problem with this sentiment, especially when it’s used to guilt me into doing something or feeling a certain way. Someone died so that I could be free because someone died so that I could…

While I appreciate and honor those who died in service to me or the US, they also chose (absent being drafted [for Viet Nam]) to enter a potentially hazardous type of service for their country. I didn’t ask them to go join up. They had their own motivation for joining up that did not involve me personally, so my admiration has its limits. The compensation we give (GI Bill, Veterans Affairs, etc) is needed and appropriate, and does not need to be enhanced by my guilt or my constant adulation.

I am aware of the human cost of my freedom, thus I do not take certain choices or abilities lightly. But I’m also aware that someone else’s sacrifice for my freedom is a convoluted path of politics and bureaucratic policy that often forces both of us into positions we would not otherwise choose. Someone’s death is not the only way I can enjoy and retain freedom, and I chafe at the suggestion that I should honor a sacrifice post hoc to justify that loss of life.


Let X = cocaine

In my case, in the thread that I think the OP forgot to link to, I said I vote because people I loved died to give me that right.

The important bit I left out there was that I don’t only vote because those people died. I’d have wanted to vote anyway, for lots of reasons to do with citizenship, affecting change etc. just didn’t make a nice soundbite for that thread. It was rhetoric.

The fact that people died for it, in my lifetime, is a personal reason for me, and me alone - I vote to honour their struggle and memory, and to thumb my nose at all those dead (and not-so-dead) bastards who tried to deny me the right. I certainly don’t push this as a reason on anyone else, as I don’t see the validity for others. Nor do I see anything wrong with e.g. my brother, who shares some of those same deaths, not voting at all. That’s his choice (he’s very anti-establishment), and that’s OK.

You have a much more direct and unambiguous reason for expressing that sentiment. In the US, we have not had that situation since our civil war in 1860. Much of the sentiment we get here is draped in patriotism and national pride, and is part of the warrior mythos. In ZA, I would imagine that “someone died so I could vote” has a much more visceral meaning that we (Americans) don’t like to think about.


True that - I think it’s different for this country because it usually means “I, personally, knew someone who died/was tortured/imprisoned/exiled so I can vote”, for a large chunk of the population. That’ll change quickly, though - it’s been 10 years already.

That’s also, IMO, why we tend to have a larger turnout for voting in our elections than more established democracies like the US. Here, a ~50% turnout would be pretty pathetic.

I opened this thread thinking it was a defense of ecstasy use.

Oh well.

I’m more than willing to defend Ecstasy use.

MrDibble I didn’t forget to link it, I didn’t link it because I didn’t want to link it specifically to voting alone.

I equate this with the premise: “One person had died because this bridge failed in an earthquake. Each life is more precious than 5 billion dollars, therefore we must build a new bridge. And yes, I know that a dozen people will likely die during construction of a new bridge, but these people chose dangerous professions.”