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Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden Redux again

Continuing on the same theme, this article is worth reading. It deals with the philosophical issues presented by the rejoicing over Bin Laden's death.  One idea is presented in the article that strikes me as particularly profound. Harvard philosophy professor Christine Korsgaard stated that a commonly held view is that killing in war can be justified as a means of incapacitating an unjust enemy, when all other means are exhausted. Another, common, but more controversial view is that a murderer deserves to die for their actions. If the two desires are conflated, one may come to believe that another person deserves to die merely for being the first person's enemy. Since terrorism has elements of both war and crime, it is not surprising, that in keeping with the aforementioned sentiments, some people would begin to rejoice at Bin Laden's death.
I did not rejoice. I personally feel that while killing may be in some cases justified, it is an act that should be treated with the utmost seriousness. I feel that celebrating a violent death, is a failure to take killing seriously. When we fail to take killing seriously, we start down a slippery lope that ends in unnecessary bloodshed. This is not to say that finding relief in the demise of a dangerous figure is a bad thing. The same goes for black humour; deriving humour from a concept doesn't mean it's not being taken seriously.
I also think that it shows a sickening level of small mindedness, to rejoice at the death of a foe. To me, it indicates that they think there is no fate worse than death. I can think of a few, like a life sentence at ADX Florence, or having your mind erased (it can, and has been done, sort of, go read about MKULTRA subproject 68). It takes a rather small mind to think that either of the above is preferable to death.

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