April 22, 2004

The right of self-defense

Amritas quotes JFK (Kennedy, that is):

Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides ...

Let both sides ...

Let both sides ...

And responds:

Let our side fight back. I don't care "what problems unite" us with our enemies. I doubt they care. I agree with Hud:

If there's one thing bad people understand, it's force.

Use it!

I say: do you really think that the US should have attacked the USSR?

The problem was that JFK couldn't come right out and say, "The USSR is too strong, therefore we should negotiate with them, even though they are our enemy".

And this is the result of a strange lacuna in Western morality - it doesn't really support the right of self-defense. Rather, self-defense is treated as an "understandable weakness" whereas a truly moral person is pacifist. (Traditional Western morality has the same approach toward sex.)

We can't say, "This person/state/organization is our enemy because they are attacking us".

We have to say, "This person/state/organization is our enemy because they are evil". (Of course, they may also be evil.)

And once we say that they are evil, how can we negotiate with them? If we are negotiating with them then they must be "human beings just like us".

This lack of moral clarity results in all kinds of strange behavior. We can't punish a criminal because he is attacking us, we have to punish him because he deserves it. And if he has an anti-social worldview because of a traumatic upbringing, does he deserve to be punished?

To me, this attitude is itself immoral. It is an attempt by a human being to render Divine justice. Who are we to even attempt to decide what a person really deserves? It's not our job to punish criminals. It's our job to protect ourselves! Ironically, once we get this straight in our minds, we can then let ourselves sympathize with the circumstances of even the worst criminal.

Judaism in non-Western in this regard - self-defense is considered to be an obligation, pacifism is not even a moral option. (Regarding sex, it is considered virtuous - when in the context of marriage.)

Posted by David Boxenhorn at April 22, 2004 12:00 AM
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