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The dilemma of ST. George.

Bronzeage

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Today is St. George's Day, so please bear with me and read this short exposition. It is a shameless paraphrased plagiarism. I'll give bonus points to anyone who recognizes this tale and can name the source.

There once was a terrible dragon, known as Kandran. He was a typical dragon, in that he only ate virgins and he preferred fat virgins. It was Kandran’s habit to sleep for a year, then emerge from his dragon’s cave and ransack the countryside, until he was sated on virgin flesh. He then returned to his cave to sleep for another year, leaving behind burned barns, scorched fields, the bodies of all who opposed him, and of course, the bones of a score of virgins.

There was also once a brave young Knight known as George. He was a typical knight, in that he was sworn to protect the helpless and defend the weak. George specialized in dragon slaying and had an impressive record. One night, while drinking at the Knight’s hall, someone brought up dragon slaying and naturally, George was mentioned. There was a lot of jealousy among the knights, over who was truly the greatest dragon slayer. Dragons were classed according to length, weight, and most important of all, how many knights had died in their jaws.

“Yeah, George has killed a lot of dragons, but he’s never faced a Kandran class dragon, now has he?” was the general feeling in the hall. George knew this was true. He had never come across a Kandran class. The Kandrans were big, fast and breathed fire. The biggest, fastest and most incendiary of them all was the one who gave the name, Kandran himself. George wondered if he had been avoiding the Kandrans. Self doubt is toxic to a dragon slayer, so George resolve to not only seek out and slay a Kandran, he would seek out and slay the Kandran.

George packed his gear and headed for Kandran country. He arrived on Kandran’s traditional day of rampage and found the town surprisingly calm. In the preceding years, the town’s people had come to an understanding with the dragon. Instead of a rooting the virgins out of barn lofts, cellars, and wheat fields, destroying everything in his path, the people would simply round up twenty virgins and have them ready for him. Kandran would feast peacefully, then return to sleep for another year.

George was outraged by the idea and made a vow before God to save the virgins. He made a secondary vow to save as many as possible. His ultimate fallback vow was to just make a good show and not embarrass the Knight’s Guild. He rode up to Kandran’s cave to survey a strange sight. Twenty naked young women were tied to a row of twenty posts. All around them was scattered pieces of rusty armor, dotted with a few crushed skulls, the remnants of Kandran’s previous challengers. The virgins did not have high hopes. A few of them had lost sisters to Kandran and knew that just the appearance of a knight did not signify a rescue.

At noon, Kandran emerged from his cave. He was not surprised to see a knight waiting for him, but he was surprised to see this knight. George had gained quite a reputation in the dragon community. Kandran knew this was not and inexperienced novice. He was also lean and hungry. Fighting on an empty stomach was difficult. It slowed him down and fire breathing was a real effort. Kandran did the natural thing, which was offer to discuss terms of the battle. This was common in those days.

George was agreeable. There was nothing in the Knight’s Code which says one couldn’t seek an advantage through negotiating the rules. The only non-negotiable rule was Kandran’s demand for virgin flesh. He would not touch a non-virgin. After a good bit of bargaining, they came to the framework of a deal. George gave up on the idea of saving all the virgins and went for saving as many as possible. Kandran would begin eating virgins at one end of the line, while George would begin deflowering virgins at the other end. A few details were worked out. Kandran dictated George could not just poke and run. He had to achieve an orgasm, inside the former virgin, before moving to the next. George insisted Kandran had to eat the entire virgin, except for the bones before killing the next. Kandran balked at this, insisting the entrails made him sick. He would clean the bones of all flesh and fat, but would eat no organs. George relented, if he would be allowed to rearrange the order of the virgins. “Suit yourself,” said Kandran. Either party could attack the other, at any time.

Kandran pulled his claws on a rock and George unfastened his codpiece and both went to work. George arranged the virgins in the order which he thought gave him a real advantage. The fattest virgin was first at Kandran’s end. The skinniest virgin was at his end. The virgins placed in the fourth through seventh position were the ones George found most attractive. He thought the extra incentive might be needed by that point. Kandran didn’t care. He needed to stuff his belly with virgin fat to fuel his fire chamber and thought George was a fool for giving the fattest up for lost. Kandran was not really in a hurry. He expected to make short work of George and the remaining intact virgins would be plenty.

It didn’t work out that way, as we all know. George was up to virgin four when he realized he couldn’t keep going all day long. If he worked until he and Kandran met in the middle, he would be exhausted. It was true, Kandran might be overstuffed and slow, but that wasn’t a given. He had to stop at some point and fight, but when? Kandran was down to the thighs of his third virgin and George had just finished virgin number five. Even though number six was his ideal beauty, he had to make his move before Kandran moved to his fourth.

The actual battle was anti-climatic in every sense of the word. Kandran was distracted by the virgin’s calves. George grabbed his sword and sliced through Kandran’s spine with one stroke. The dragon never heard him coming.

George went on to be acclaimed the greatest dragon slayer of all time and later, Sainthood.


What about George? Does he really deserve a hero's welcome home? He made a conscious sacrifice of three virgins and could have lost one or two more, before the fight even started. There maybe no point in exploring the loss of bride value to the former virgins. Did he follow the shrewdest strategy, or was there another way?
 

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All morality is subjective, therefore this question is meaningless.

:devil-smiley-029:
 

Tom Sawyer

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What about George? Does he really deserve a hero's welcome home? He made a conscious sacrifice of three virgins and could have lost one or two more, before the fight even started. There maybe no point in exploring the loss of bride value to the former virgins. Did he follow the shrewdest strategy, or was there another way?

Even though he slew the dragon and saved the majority of the girls, I don't know if you can call him a hero. Raping a few girls and letting others be eaten until he gets to the point where he can knife the dragon in the back isn't much of a heroic paradigm. The heroes in this story are represented by the corpses of the dead knights who'd faced the dragon previously. They died trying to protect the innocent women from the monster.

It's better for everyone that an amoral dickhead like George showed up this time and was a nastier motherfucker than the monster he faced, but I don't think we can call him a hero.
 

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What about George? Does he really deserve a hero's welcome home? He made a conscious sacrifice of three virgins and could have lost one or two more, before the fight even started. There maybe no point in exploring the loss of bride value to the former virgins. Did he follow the shrewdest strategy, or was there another way?

Even though he slew the dragon and saved the majority of the girls, I don't know if you can call him a hero. Raping a few girls and letting others be eaten until he gets to the point where he can knife the dragon in the back isn't much of a heroic paradigm. The heroes in this story are represented by the corpses of the dead knights who'd faced the dragon previously. They died trying to protect the innocent women from the monster.

It's better for everyone that an amoral dickhead like George showed up this time and was a nastier motherfucker than the monster he faced, but I don't think we can call him a hero.

People forget that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Yes, it is the morally correct choice to select the path with the least evil. If someone chooses the path of least evil and has to perform some of the evil himself, then he might have my sympathy, but probably not my cheers.
 

Bronzeage

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As Henry V is supposed to have said:
Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers.

What is the "Heroic Paradigm"? Was there some information George should have been given before riding out to meet the dragon? What strategy would might have yielded better results?

As for the lesser of two evils, could George have avoided all evil by simply staying home?

Seriously, he returns with seventeen live women and one dead dragon. Doesn't he deserve at least a laurel and hardy handshake?
 

Tom Sawyer

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Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.
 

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Seriously, he returns with seventeen live women and one dead dragon. Doesn't he deserve at least a laurel and hardy handshake?

The village consciously sacrificed 20 women, without a qualm, in order to save property, and were ready to do it on an ongoing basis. George saved all but 3 and prevented I don't know how many future deaths. The village doesn't stand in a position to criticise his methods.

Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.

Fair enough. What is the hero strategy here?

It's to just fight at the start, while Kandan is weak but focused on him, and take the chance of losing his own life (this being how we often measure a hero) and also of failing in his task. He won by using the element of surprise which is another thing we usually don't grant your ridgy-didge hero. They're not "supposed" to be tricksy in any way, but you would have to grant that his was good journeyman hero work. His strategy produced the best possible result, from a statistical point of view, because it included a fair expectation of success, and I'm not prepared to judge him for a lack of ornamentation.

I'd be giving him the hearty handshake and the good rep.
 

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Seriously, he returns with seventeen live women and one dead dragon. Doesn't he deserve at least a laurel and hardy handshake?

Right you are. Seriously, the slain knights who went at the dragon straight away aren't the heroes here, at least not after the first one. The reason they fit the heroic paradigm is because they were more concerned with fitting the heroic paradigm than with saving women. Any reasonable person/dragon in this scenario has to go in expecting the knight to lose. So if George attacks straight away his expected outcome is twenty dead women and a lot of villagers drinking to his futile heroics. If he makes the deal, gives up three, and then attacks, his expected outcome is five live women returning without him, which is a better outcome than any of those dead heroes accomplished. Now that we know he can kill Kandran it's all very well in hindsight to say he should have attacked straight away; but he should be judged based on what he knew when he chose his strategy.
 

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Seriously, he returns with seventeen live women and one dead dragon. Doesn't he deserve at least a laurel and hardy handshake?

Right you are. Seriously, the slain knights who went at the dragon straight away aren't the heroes here, at least not after the first one. The reason they fit the heroic paradigm is because they were more concerned with fitting the heroic paradigm than with saving women. Any reasonable person/dragon in this scenario has to go in expecting the knight to lose. So if George attacks straight away his expected outcome is twenty dead women and a lot of villagers drinking to his futile heroics. If he makes the deal, gives up three, and then attacks, his expected outcome is five live women returning without him, which is a better outcome than any of those dead heroes accomplished. Now that we know he can kill Kandran it's all very well in hindsight to say he should have attacked straight away; but he should be judged based on what he knew when he chose his strategy.

Sure, he chose the least bad outcome, which would be the morally correct choice, but the question wasn't about whether or not his actions were morally correct, the question was about whether he should be celebrated as a hero.
 

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Seriously, he returns with seventeen live women and one dead dragon. Doesn't he deserve at least a laurel and hardy handshake?

Right you are. Seriously, the slain knights who went at the dragon straight away aren't the heroes here, at least not after the first one. The reason they fit the heroic paradigm is because they were more concerned with fitting the heroic paradigm than with saving women. Any reasonable person/dragon in this scenario has to go in expecting the knight to lose. So if George attacks straight away his expected outcome is twenty dead women and a lot of villagers drinking to his futile heroics. If he makes the deal, gives up three, and then attacks, his expected outcome is five live women returning without him, which is a better outcome than any of those dead heroes accomplished. Now that we know he can kill Kandran it's all very well in hindsight to say he should have attacked straight away; but he should be judged based on what he knew when he chose his strategy.

Sure, he chose the least bad outcome, which would be the morally correct choice, but the question wasn't about whether or not his actions were morally correct, the question was about whether he should be celebrated as a hero.

What could he have done and emerged a hero in your eyes?
 

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Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.

Fair enough. What is the hero strategy here?

I told you the hero strategy. It's referenced by the corpses of all the heroes in the story. A hero isn't determined by whether one wins or loses, it's determined by how one goes about winning or losing.
 

Bronzeage

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Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.

Fair enough. What is the hero strategy here?

I told you the hero strategy. It's referenced by the corpses of all the heroes in the story. A hero isn't determined by whether one wins or loses, it's determined by how one goes about winning or losing.

I got that. How would a hero win? Does he still get to be a hero, if he loses?
 

Tom Sawyer

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Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.

Fair enough. What is the hero strategy here?

I told you the hero strategy. It's referenced by the corpses of all the heroes in the story. A hero isn't determined by whether one wins or loses, it's determined by how one goes about winning or losing.

I got that. How would a hero win? Does he still get to be a hero, if he loses?

Of course he gets to be a hero if he loses. That's why I said that all the dead guys are heroes.

A hero would win without standing back and letting the dragon eat people because he's busy raping defenceless prisoners. If you ask someone the question "How many women did you rape today?" and the answer is more than zero, you are not talking to a hero. Now, that may mean that a hero would never be successful and what the town needs to defend it is a rapist asshole. That doesn't make the rapist some kind of hero.
 

Bronzeage

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Yes, so he's an effective soldier and they were lucky to have him. A hero, however, is defined by how he does things, not simply by the results.

Fair enough. What is the hero strategy here?

I told you the hero strategy. It's referenced by the corpses of all the heroes in the story. A hero isn't determined by whether one wins or loses, it's determined by how one goes about winning or losing.

I got that. How would a hero win? Does he still get to be a hero, if he loses?

Of course he gets to be a hero if he loses. That's why I said that all the dead guys are heroes.

A hero would win without standing back and letting the dragon eat people because he's busy raping defenceless prisoners. If you ask someone the question "How many women did you rape today?" and the answer is more than zero, you are not talking to a hero. Now, that may mean that a hero would never be successful and what the town needs to defend it is a rapist asshole. That doesn't make the rapist some kind of hero.

Calling George a rapist is a bit extreme and that seems to be your only contention. The virgins may have been quite eager. Another factor which may have been overlooked is that much more was at stake than twenty virgins. If George had simply released the virgins and let them run off into the forest, Kandron would have reverted to old form and destroyed the village and surrounding countryside. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives were in the balance, not just twenty.

We also have to remember, George was willing to battle the dragon with his armor in disarray, at least without his cod piece in place. There has to be hero points for that, alone.
 

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Calling George a rapist is a bit extreme and that seems to be your only contention. The virgins may have been quite eager.

Wow. Just ... wow.

You are never allowed within 100 feet of any woman that I know.

Another factor which may have been overlooked is that much more was at stake than twenty virgins. If George had simply released the virgins and let them run off into the forest, Kandron would have reverted to old form and destroyed the village and surrounding countryside. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives were in the balance, not just twenty.

We also have to remember, George was willing to battle the dragon with his armor in disarray, at least without his cod piece in place. There has to be hero points for that, alone.

Yes, he was a successful warrior. That's vastly different from a hero, however.
 

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Wow. Just ... wow.

You are never allowed within 100 feet of any woman that I know.

Another factor which may have been overlooked is that much more was at stake than twenty virgins. If George had simply released the virgins and let them run off into the forest, Kandron would have reverted to old form and destroyed the village and surrounding countryside. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives were in the balance, not just twenty.

We also have to remember, George was willing to battle the dragon with his armor in disarray, at least without his cod piece in place. There has to be hero points for that, alone.

Yes, he was a successful warrior. That's vastly different from a hero, however.

You're not the boss of me and I studied at the St. George Academy of Dragon Slaying. Whether virgins are capable of making a decision about the wisdom of chastity, given their relative circumstances is another discussion. I'm sure that George, being a student of chivalry, would have passed over any virgin who said, "Thanks all the same, but I'd rather be eaten by a dragon."

The rape charge seems to be introduced solely to denigrate George's accomplishment and create an insurmountable obstacle to the hall of heros.
 

Tom Sawyer

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You're not the boss of me and I studied at the St. George Academy of Dragon Slaying. Whether virgins are capable of making a decision about the wisdom of chastity, given their relative circumstances is another discussion. I'm sure that George, being a student of chivalry, would have passed over any virgin who said, "Thanks all the same, but I'd rather be eaten by a dragon."

So, using the same line of thinking, your position is that if you put a gun to a woman's head and say that she has to have sex with you or you'll shoot her and she chooses the sex, you're not a rapist because she chose the option of having sex with you?

The rape charge seems to be introduced solely to denigrate George's accomplishment and create an insurmountable obstacle to the hall of heros.

No, because being a hero means that you're a paradigm who's actions should be things for others to emulate because they represent the best qualities of humanity. While George was the guy to get the job done in this situation, he didn't do it heroically.
 

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So, using the same line of thinking, your position is that if you put a gun to a woman's head and say that she has to have sex with you or you'll shoot her and she chooses the sex, you're not a rapist because she chose the option of having sex with you?

The rape charge seems to be introduced solely to denigrate George's accomplishment and create an insurmountable obstacle to the hall of heros.

No, because being a hero means that you're a paradigm who's actions should be things for others to emulate because they represent the best qualities of humanity. While George was the guy to get the job done in this situation, he didn't do it heroically.

By the same line of thinking, it would be immoral to amputate the foot of a person trapped in a burning building, when cutting off their foot is the only practical way to allow them to escape the flames. By your standard of heroics, a hero would be the person who stands close and beats back the flames with a wet towel until the ceiling collapses on both of them. The victim gets to die a horrible death, secure in the knowledge their body(what remains of it) expires intact, and the hero can console himself by saying, "I didn't hurt anyone today."
 

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By the same line of thinking, it would be immoral to amputate the foot of a person trapped in a burning building, when cutting off their foot is the only practical way to allow them to escape the flames. By your standard of heroics, a hero would be the person who stands close and beats back the flames with a wet towel until the ceiling collapses on both of them. The victim gets to die a horrible death, secure in the knowledge their body(what remains of it) expires intact, and the hero can console himself by saying, "I didn't hurt anyone today."

While one can do bad things to get a good result and still be heroic, there is a limit to that. While it may be a grey area on where that limit actually is located, it's definitely on the "don't rape people" side of the decision whether or not to rape somebody.

If you save a city from a nuclear explosion by raping a terrorist's girlfriend until he tells you where it is, you're still the guy who saved a city ... but you're not any kind of hero.
 

Bronzeage

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By the same line of thinking, it would be immoral to amputate the foot of a person trapped in a burning building, when cutting off their foot is the only practical way to allow them to escape the flames. By your standard of heroics, a hero would be the person who stands close and beats back the flames with a wet towel until the ceiling collapses on both of them. The victim gets to die a horrible death, secure in the knowledge their body(what remains of it) expires intact, and the hero can console himself by saying, "I didn't hurt anyone today."

While one can do bad things to get a good result and still be heroic, there is a limit to that. While it may be a grey area on where that limit actually is located, it's definitely on the "don't rape people" side of the decision whether or not to rape somebody.

If you save a city from a nuclear explosion by raping a terrorist's girlfriend until he tells you where it is, you're still the guy who saved a city ... but you're not any kind of hero.

I don't see any comparison in your latest scenario.
 

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Bronzeage said:
Whether virgins are capable of making a decision about the wisdom of chastity, given their relative circumstances is another discussion.
It's not about the wisdom of chastity, but about whether to get raped or very probably killed (in this case, perhaps betting on unlikely George's killing the dragon before she gets eaten). And despite the circumstances.

For example, let's say that Jack points a gun at the heads of his hostages, and credibly (we may add stipulations to make it credible) tells Bob that either he rapes Alice, or he will shoot Alice in the head.
If Alice says that she would rather be shot in the head than raped by Bob, I would say that Bob would be acting immorally (all other things equal) if he rapes her anyway. It might be questioned whether she's capable of making that decision in such circumstances, but while that depends on the specific scenario, generally I don't think he would be justified in making the decision for her and raping her anyway if she says no. The "all other things equal" part covers potential exceptions, but in general, I would regard his actions as immoral.

On the other hand, if Alice tells Bob she'd rather be raped by him than shot in the head (or if, say, she's unconscious), she's still getting raped, but Bob is not acting immorally if his motivation is to save her life and he has no other way (all other things equal, as usual), and only Jack deserves to be blamed for the rape - even if Bob did it, he's not at fault.
 
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Bronzeage

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Bronzeage said:
George, being a student of chivalry, would have passed over any virgin who said, "Thanks all the same, but I'd rather be eaten by a dragon."
Doing that would seem to have been a violation of the agreement with Kandran, which apparently stipulated a specific order. Would he have done that?

I'm sure he would have. He knew that only a limited number of virgins could be saved in this manner, so whether he skipped one or two in the order would not affect the final total.
 

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Bronzeage said:
George, being a student of chivalry, would have passed over any virgin who said, "Thanks all the same, but I'd rather be eaten by a dragon."
Doing that would seem to have been a violation of the agreement with Kandran, which apparently stipulated a specific order. Would he have done that?

I'm sure he would have. He knew that only a limited number of virgins could be saved in this manner, so whether he skipped one or two in the order would not affect the final total.
Unless that actually results in an earlier strike by the dragon or some other stuff.
But granting he knew what you say, my point is that he would have been violating the agreement.
Now, I don't see anything wrong in general in violationg agreements one makes while a gun is pointed at one's head or the heads of innocent victims by a thug (though there may be other considerations at play here, like Dragons potentially no longer abiding by agreements), but he was a Knight and he would stick to their code, which may well have stipulated he must stick to the rules of any agreements he makes with a dragon.
 
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