If you are a slave, is it moral to kill your masters in order to escape?
Is it moral to kill your masters even when escape is not possible? Does this depend on the reason (let’s say they consistently beat you and you do it to prevent future beatings, at least from that master vs. killing them out of revenge for making you a slave)?
Is it moral to kill the master’s family, even if they did not directly contribute to your enslavement, in order to escape? (e.g. let’s say little Billy sees you and is about to cry out, meaning you’ll likely be caught, and the only way to stop him in time is to give him a nice kick in the throat that will likely kill him)
OK, bad hypothetical on the last one, but you get the drift. And by “is it moral”, I am referring to your own personal moral values (and not those of Christianity or Bhuddism or whatever).
For #1, I’d say unequivocably yes. You are trying to regain your life, which someone has stolen from you. If the thief of your life does not relinquish it, you can take it from the thief by force.
For #2, I wouldn’t know what to say. Your killing the master wouldn’t accomplish anything useful. Yet they stole your life, and it is probably fair in the eyes of justice if you stole theirs. Don’t think it’s moral, though, since you’re not doing something that’s necessarily good for the world. However, if the master is a sadistic bastard that enjoys hurting people and will do so again, it is moral to spare future victims by killing him (and assuming you have no other options besides killing him). Also, if he treats you worse than the next master would (e.g. he tortures you every day), then murder would be moral, I think, since it would relieve somewhat the suffering of an innocent person (the slave), with the only harm done to the cause of the suffering.
For #3, I’m conflicted here. The family is part of the system keeping you enslaved; our hypothetical little Billy is one of your jailors. However, he is innocent of the initial crime, and it’s not like he really chose to be one of your slavers; he was just born into it. However, I think I would take the tact of a war reasoning here; when you bomb Hitler’s Germany, you’re going to harm innocents, and still be right in doing so. Here, the whole institution is evil, so killing Billy as a part of that institution in order to free one’s self would not be wrong (again, if you had no other option besides killing him).
Discuss, and flame away.