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The members of this species are carnivorous pack animals with human-like intelligence, with the majority of them being a part of a supersized "megapack." They frequently kill for food or defense. However, when one of their kind is found to have assisted in the murder of "government" figures over at the Capital, said member of the species is cast out of the pack.

The members of this pack do not like this government (they are specifically known for being against it). Why would these carnivorous creatures (who aren't particularly fond of said government figures anyways) see a problem with the murder of a government figure?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Renan, JBH, Frostfyre, elemtilas, dot_Sp0T Oct 3 '18 at 5:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. How is this different from human ethics? We consider homicide way more sever than killing of any other animal. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Oct 2 '18 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ When you say "they frequently kill for food or defense", do you mean each other? The point of a pack structure is to minimize that sort of behavior; it's more appropriate to a species of solo predators. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Oct 2 '18 at 15:06
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    $\begingroup$ This question does not make any sense. Humans are carnivorous (yes, yes, omnivores, but we eat a lot of meat) pack animals and yet have had prohibitions against murder since, well, the beginning of humanity. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 2 '18 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ Murder is specifically the deliberate and unlawful killing of another person. It's an important nuance that people miss. Killing in self defense is not murder, nor is accidentally shooting your hunting buddy. In some societies, killing to preserve one's honor is perfectly acceptable (code duello). The question may need to be rephrased to capture the nuances of killing to refrlect your intent. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Oct 2 '18 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ It's been proposed that "Why would someone X?" questions are off-topic as either too broad or POB. These kinds of questions are difficult to answer because they're often a function of plot and not a rule of worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – JBH Oct 2 '18 at 18:54
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Some societies made quite a distinction between killing someone and murder.
Take the Vikings, killing someone who insulted you could be perfectly acceptable, but premeditated murder or assassination were the highest of crimes.

Honour, loyalty and following the rules are important; particularly for a carnivorous and presumably aggressive species. Killing with justification, lesser species for food, for defence of your pack or defence of your honour, are all legitimate and acceptable actions. However killing someone without reason, particularly someone of a higher rank in a premeditated attack is completely against your creatures' ideals.

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Simply because there's a difference between killing a fellow sentient being and killing prey for food or killing to defend your life or the lives of your family/pack.

Same as we humans do:

  • Millions of animals are slaughtered every year to feed us, and most of us do not even bat an eye or care about it,
  • Killing another human who was menacing you, your family or your livelihood is also ok mostly everywhere; some US states have those 'stand your ground' laws that basically allow you to fire without warning on trespassers on your property,
  • Killing a government official because you don't like that government for whatever reason is not.

And, in general, killing another human being on a whim is something that mostly everyone will not be ok with for the sake of survival and stability of the species and civilization.

If you can kill your neighbor, whether you have a personal justification or not, and not face consequences, then your society would collapse quickly as people are randomly killed an little form of civilization can survive in such chaos.

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For the same reason that many humans throughout the ages have considered killing for sport to be distasteful; if you don't need to kill it, either for food or in self-defense, then it's a waste. Any highly evolved carnivore, with a sense of logic and forethought, should see an individual willing to participate in wanton unnecessary killing as a threat to the long term survival of species as a whole. Carnivores rely on taking what they need of their prey without wholesale destruction of the stock to kill without cause is an assault on this balancing act.

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Contradictions are a regular feature of nature and intelligence

Even humans have inherent contradictions which cannot be rationally explained, and from an external viewpoint seem nonsensical.

For instance, if a country is at war, the killing of an enemy combatant is seen as justifiable. However, the murder of a local person is not. To a remote alien, who does not know the broad geopolitical context, these two events are essentially the same, yet among us they are treated differently.

Even one of the most politically just and egalitarian documents during wartime through history, the Geneva Conventions, recognises inherent contradiction in its text (distinction between combatants and civilians for instance).

Intelligence does not necessarily preclude contradiction. We ourselves self-rationalise harm, and like it or not, we are very hypocritical.

So the basic answer to your question is politics and social structures essentially trump rational thought regularly. It is easy to envisage your pack animals may treat killing as a way of life, yet murder as a crime.

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It would be politically unacceptable for them not to condemn the killing, even if they approve.

If Pack B is subordinate to Pack A, but Pack B goes around killing Pack A members, they're not really subordinate; they're more or less at war. Since Pack B ended up becoming subordinate in the first place, they clearly saw some reason for this: they weren't strong enough to kill Pack A, or there was some benefit to them falling in line. Unless things have changed, Pack B values that relationship (which might be a matter of life and death for all of them) more than it values supporting the murderer. It's a cold analysis, but a logical one.

Conversely if they don't condemn the murderer, Pack A has no choice but to assume that they intend to kill more of them. They'll muster their response, and no matter what happens, that (presumably beneficial) relationship is pretty much gone. If Pack B thinks they can handle the fallout without Pack A, then maybe they won't condemn this, and will escalate the situation: now you have a rebellion. But are they confident they can win?

This is assuming that Pack A and Pack B's relationship is basically feudal, that one is subordinate to the other, but the logic works out pretty similarly if they're in a coalition of equals. The fact of political life is that there are people we dislike, maybe even enough to kill, that we have to get along with for purely practical reasons.

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Humans are omnivorous. We eat plants and animals for food. yet we condemn the unlawful killing of other members of our species (except in war, but that can be regarded as a special case).

Likewise a species of intelligent carnivores will eat animals they can kill. For similar ethical, legal and social reasons as human beings they will consider the killing of members of their species as unlawful. If they are capable of intelligence, they are capable of devising laws, ethics and behaviour for the social and political good. Murder is unlawful killing. This will include members of their governments.

Also, governments tend to more than somewhat sensitive about being killed, assassinated or plain old fashioned murdered. They will definitely laws and institute punishment to prevent that from happening. It's what intelligent creatures do, irrespective of being omnivorous or carnivorous.

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However, when one of their kind is found to have assisted in the murder of "government" figures over at the Capital, said member of the species is cast out of the pack.

The members of this pack do not like this government (they are specifically known for being against it). Why would these carnivorous creatures (who aren't particularly fond of said government figures anyways) see a problem with the murder of a government figure?

You're describing assassination, and assassination is destabilizing since it requires a revenge killing to "balance the scales". But then that leads to feuds, blood vendetta, etc.

Thus, you demonstrate to the Others that you don't approve of what happened by exiling the offending member (and so tacitly giving the Others permission to kill him as punishment).

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