Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

A thought

Does the difference between innocence and guilt really matter?

Many times, you hear individuals justify or condemn actions based on this quality of an indiviudal. Why should it matter if the individuals were either criminal or innocent if you killed or injured them in some way? Does this measure of their 'quality of life' somehow justify your action?

If you murder someone, should it matter if they were either 'evil' or 'good'? I know many of us prefer to legitimize the action (or at least accept is a lesser evil) if the person who died was 'evil'. Why should this matter? Should it take away something from the crime itself? Is it any less of a murder, deserving of a lesser sentence?

Comments:
The answer to this question must be prefaced by asking whether there exists a legitimate justice system or not.

If the law is legitimate and untainted by arbitrary favoritism, then execution is a possible sentence. In this case it is the law which executes the criminal, and the law stands above all individuals. Sometimes the sentence for a crime might be outlawry, in which case the law ceases to protect the individual's rights from encroachment by others, and such an individual may be "hunted down" and killed by an avenger, or else make an escape to a place of refuge.

I am concerned how this arguement synthesizes with "negative rights" arguements, so go ahead and shoot it down.

If there does not exist a legitimate seat of justice because either there are no courts (indifferent third parties) or because the courts are corrupted (by arbitrary laws or personal favoritism) then all is awash and chaotic. There is no justice. If I kill a murderer in order to avenge a lost loved one I stand in the face of whatever arbitrary justice exists. I may or may not be held accountable.

If there exists no legitimate seat of justice, there exists no legitimate authority to execute. (There should be no death penalty untill there is significant legal reform.)

Is assassination legitimate? Any powerholder will say no, because usually it is powerholders that are the target. The US treads a dangers path by pursuing the assassination of terrorists. If they think that they are safe from retaliation with this method of warfare they are ignorant and ought to look up the legend of Alamut (http://www.accampbell.uklinux.net/assassins/index.html).

Assassination is a legitimate method of defensive warfare, and quite possibly the most humane. The question then arises, is this a defensive war?
Nathan
 
Nathan,

You Still didn't really answer his question. And your argument makes so many unelaborated assumptions it's hard to count them all.

I ain't much use in this thread because I am actually in the same place Chris seems to be. I have way more questions than my moral philosophy can answer.

I really need to get on the ball and figure out what life is all about. :P
 
I agree with Student here.

I do not think that a "legitimate justice system" is needed before we move on.

I also disagree with your statement that "Assassination is a legitimate method of defensive warfare"

Isn't assassination a singularly offensive act? Even more so, how can an individual legitimize an assassination in any way, since you are the aggressor and can not easily rectify and compensate for injury after death.
 
My model for legitimate assassination is Switzerland in WWII. Three times a sniper took a shot at Hitler and three times he missed. But... the Swiss don't miss... not on accident anyway. The message was, "Do not attemp to invade Switzerland or our entire population of well-trained sharp shooters will take direct aim and fire. They will not bother with direct confrontation with infantry, but will focus on the officers, and the higher the rank, the better.

After all, are the infantrymen the ones perpetuating the war? No, it's the political power holders. How often have we heard the example of just getting Hitler, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt in a room and have a celebrity death match to decide the war?

I like the Swiss strategy. I also like that they deliberately missed. We should all own quality rifles with good scopes. We should all practice target shooting. We should all write ranting libertarian blogs so that we are noticed by the growingly tyrranical government.

The previous post was vague, because I'm trying to avoid thread-icide, which I have been accused of.
Nathan
 
So that 'model' of yours is mostly a flexing of political and military muscles and not really a use of assassination.

How do we legitimize actually assassinations?
 
Precision rather than muscles (does that sound like Rumsfeld?), and defensive in nature. One point I'd like to make is that powerholders especially detest this form of warfare because it does come dangerously close to the celebrity death match model.
The idea is that to powerholders war is just a game, a game that they desperately want to win, and are willing to sacrifice as many young people as is politically expedient and permissible.
Switzerland chose to commit that taboo, and Hitler said, if you're not going to play the way I want to I'm taking my ball and going home.
To which the United States and Britain (by keeping so many of her troops far away from home) said, ooh, ooh, we want to play! We'll even do everything we can to piss off Japan just to get a chance to play.
And sure enough, 200,000 American dice came up snake-eyes.
I'm ranting again, but I think we need to. And I think we need to be unrealistically idealistic in our rantings, though perhaps willing to compromise in actual legislation until greater liberty is restored.
 
I think you still havn't justified your original statement or explained how murdering an evil person can be morally justified.

Hint: the answer probably wont have anything to do with the judicial system.
 
I made an assumption that we were calling the person evil because they had murdered first. The "murder" of such a person can only be justified as a last resort for justice. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
Again, as a Juris Naturalist, I don't advocate the "murder" of any criminal unless it is proven on Natural Law grounds to be a fit punishment for the crime.
As a Christian, I don't advocate the use of force beyond meeting the force of an agressor to stop the agression.
It should not matter whether a person is evil or good. It should matter what they have or have not done.
Nathan
 
Even if a person has done many heinous things and is a notorious criminal; Still, how does that justify the taking of his person by some invisible "society", either in the Court system or in this game of Risk.

Whose rights "ought" to supersede the individual? And why? Is a killing deserving of a death sentence as a legitimate counter-aggression?
 
Nathan,

This is beside the main point, but I can assure you that if it were easy to assassinate Hitler, the U.S. or Britain would have done it in a heartbeat. And I don't think either country was especially eager to send troops to die. I'm curious what you would have done if you were in a position to make decisions about WWII.

Is your argument that we would not have been attacked if we didn't have any military bases in the Pacific?
 
Actually, I'm much more conspiratorial than that. I think the US and Britain WERE eager to send troops to die, and that's my point.
If it were my decision and I were England I would have brought all my troops home from Colonial exploits. Ditto for the US (esp. the Phillipines) If I were the US I would not send aid to either China or England.
WWII was over before the US entered it.

But what about the Jews?
Many more were killed AFTER the US entered the war then before. If the Nazi regieme had been allowed to peter out on its own rather than the Allies demanding "absolute surrender" the Holocaust may have only been half so bad.
Besides, the Soviets killed just as many innocents.
 
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