Friday, April 20, 2007

Deliver us from evil

According to the AP. Iraqi insurgents are now fighting each other, as "moderate" Sunni terrorists tangle with "extremist" al-Qaeda whose brand of Islam is so radical that it prohibits placing cucumbers beside tomatoes because these vegetables have different genders.


Iraqi police and security forces — not Americans — have been negotiating with 1920 Revolution Brigades fighters, who have said "they want some help against al-Qaida," Baker said.

"That's a plus for this place, and we're going to try to exploit that," he said. "We're not making allies with anybody ... but we are monitoring what's going on."

American officers say the clashes have weakened the insurgency. In the last month in Diyala, 1920 Revolution Brigades fighters eased up attacks on Americans, largely turning their guns on al-Qaida, Baker said.

What makes men kill each other over tomatoes and cucumbers? What makes people kill each other at all? In the last few hours a gunman at the Houston space center took fellow employees hostage, then killed one before killing himself. Over the past few days the US has experienced an epidemic of threats on schools by Cho wannabees, each swearing to break some kind of sick record for psychosis. The spike in these incidents is interesting because they resemble the outcome of a controlled experiment. The numbers of guns out there has not varied much in the last week, but the media coverage of such deranged acts has. The one factor has been held constant while the other has been varied. And the results are strongly suggestive of what my childhood confessors used to emphasize: that bad thoughts have consequences.

As a child I was taught one could "sin through thought, word and deed". Somewhere in the intervening years society seems to have forgotten about the "sins" of thought and word largely because it refused to believe in taboos. There were, the school chaplains used to say, dark doors beyond which it was dangerous for the mind to go. There were thoughts you could not think -- unless you were strong enough to wrestle with what you would find beyond the portal.

Pedophilia, bestiality, extreme cruelty, monstrous behavior -- these are no longer ideas which we dare not entertain or cast out of our minds should they fleet through our consciousness out of the fear of "sin". No.Pedophilia has itself become a cause for enlightened people. The North American Man-Boy Love Association argues children must have sex with adults "before eight or it's too late". Instead we have cast out the idea of sin itself and made the conception of sin as sin our only societal taboo.

But maybe we can "sin through thought and word" after all. Perhaps the school chaplains were right; or at least correct in giving warning about what lay beyond the portal or the "Confirm before you click" warnings on websites. Personally I have gone back to confessing to evil thoughts during Lent; they are sins once again; I am wary anew of the dangers of standing before demons. There may be some beyond my strength.

Malevolence lives in the mind much more than it does in inamate things. Recently the quarter-century crime statistics of two towns, one in Georgia and the other in Illinois were compared. One had forbidden the ownership of guns and the other had made their possession mandatory. The results as you may or may not have guessed, are that crimes in Guntown had dropped while crimes, especially violent crimes in the Gunfree-zone had soared. Like the Virginia Tech incident, people will debate the meaning of these statistics. But like the Virginia Tech case it ought to raise the question of whether, in regulating things, we are regulating the wrong object.

It may be just be possible that bloodlust, the exhortation to cruelty, the legitimization of barbarous violence eventually corrodes and then corrupts completely. The Middle East Times tells us that the Christian evangelists who were recently killed by suspected Islamists in Turkey were savagely tortured. With only knives too, but with the idea to drive it.

Dr. Murat Ugras, a spokesman for the Turgut Ozal Medical center, told the daily Hurriyet of hospital surgeons' fruitless efforts to save Ugur Yuksel, one of the three victims of the massacre at the Zirve (summit) publishing house, which distributed Christian literature.

"He had scores of knife cuts on his thighs, his testicles, his rectum, and his back," Ugras said. "His fingers were sliced to the bone.

"It is obvious that these wounds had been inflicted to torture him," he said.

The two others who were killed, Necati Aydin, pastor of Malatya's tiny Protestant community, and German Tilmann Geske, a Malatya resident with his wife and three children since 2003, were also tortured, press reports said.

The abuse lasted for three hours as the five men detained at the crime scene interrogated the three on their missionary activities, they said.

What made these men torture those evangelists? It was more than the knives in their hands. If one didn't know better, it would be possible to imagine the conflict among terrorists in Anbar as a scene from the squabbling imps of hell. In the end, nothing protects us so much as our sensibilities. A healthy culture instills in its members guideposts, as orderly societies put up highway signs, not in order to block the roads, but to guide us in our freedom.

36 Comments:

Blogger allen said...

“At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning.”

[…]

“You begin to see the point? Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things.”

___C. S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters

Jihadist Video Shows Boy Beheading Man



Edwards ‘embarrassed’ by haircut

4/20/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

As a young man I derided the concept of evil, choosing instead to believe that I was witnessing insanity. At middle age I know evil exists and believe that evil is increasing in the world.

Imps from hell in Iraq? No doubt about it. Lately I've wondered if I died and woke up in hell.

4/20/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

C. S. Lewis was not a pacifist. He believed that evil must be fought by both the individual and the community.

4/20/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Part of the problem, philosophically speaking, is we have freedom. Freedom is typically regarded as a gift; and so it is. But it is also a font of unimaginable power.

Fantastic wonders are ours to achieve. The cure of cancer. The exploration of out and inner space. Teleportation. But equally vast horrors are within our compass. Much of the clamor for government regulation, I think comes from people who want to return our freedom; who don't trust ourselves with it. "Take it back! We don't want it!" And so we give all our power to a few other human beings and trust them to save us from ourselves -- only to discover, to no one's surprise, that they are also men to whom whispers also come at night.

Perhaps the real attraction of the environmental movement is the unconscious desire to return to Eden. To go back to the time before we had freedom; to die younger, perhaps, but untouched by what we no longer dare to name.

Unfortunately, there may be no escape from freedom; no return to paradise. The way out lies forward, past all the menacing shadows we glimpse ahead. The advantage of generations past was that they knew the meaning of those shadows, and the best of them guarded themselves on their way. But today we prefer to whistle in the dark and repeat to ourselves that perils do not exist. For so terrifying are they that for some it would be worthwhile to deny everything for so long as we could deny the reality of our suspicions.

One of the most interesting things about the Internet is that it has the ability to magnify ideas, to amplify means. To give shape to notions. Think something and write something and it may well come true. It's a really scary thought that a thought typed into your keyboard can take shape and knock on your door. The American Thinker speculates on how much of what was on Cho's brain was picked up from his English classes as described on their websites. Nobody made Cho do it. But damn, there's that accursed freedom again.

4/20/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

just in,

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070421/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_child_executioner

Jihadist video shows boy beheading man

Now the taliban are beheading each other...

excellent...

In a strange way those that have countries & religions that praise these suicide bombers, mass murderers, jihadists and such are doomed to be eatten by the very beast they created.

time after time i have watched the jihadists go after israeli, jewish, american & christian targets only to then go after their own with those means in 10 fold expansion..

let the lions loose onto the lions....

4/20/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Hyenas, WIO, sounds better than lions.

4/20/2007 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

some murderers are born.
psychopathic ones about whom we hear stories like: they tortured animals when they were young children.

but the vast majority are not born but made/taught.

islam is the biggest teacher of it today. that's just fact; one has to only look at the headlines: beheadings in Philippines in iraq in africa in any pace there is jihadism.

one major source within islam is misogyny, and polygamy. both treat women as chattel.

if you are raised in household in which you are taught to believe that can be honorable to kill your own sister, then of course you will find it easy to kill infidels - whether they are monkey-jews or shia apostates. or bahai or buddhist or animist or hindu or christian.

the west should eradicate misogyny and polygamy the way we eradicated slavery.

only then will we have drained the swamp.

(we have posted extensively on this at my group blog.)

4/20/2007 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

re: But damn, there's that accursed freedom again.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

___II Timothy 4: 3 & 4 (KJV)

Uncouth, uncool, unsophisticated, but apparently true

4/20/2007 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The principal reason why I detest al-Qaeda with such vehemence is not merely because of what they do to others, but the fantasies they unleash within me of what I would like to do to the terrorists.

I resent them not merely because they do evil, but because they seek to plunge the rest of us into their hell. It is less the evil they commit that infuriates me than their desire to impress others with how evil they are. Their exhibitionism unleashes two reactions within me. One dislikes the evil they do. The other is to feel offense against their exhibitionism, to be utterly unimpressed by the level of evil they are committing precisely because I suspect what I'm capable of if my mind goes in the wrong direction. I'm reminded of the Crocodile Dundee quote, "That's not a knife. This is a knife."

Sadly, actions regarded as atrocities early in war usually become standard practice as the war grinds on. And this leads to a paradox of tyranny -- a tyrant uses torture to stop the laughter against him, and yet it is the free mind that is capable of greater cruelty precisely because his greater imagination and greater access to knowledge leaves him able to cook up horrors worse than the pedantic totalitarian can.

A free society can be more cruel and horrific than a despotic society precisely because the impulse toward cruelty has access to more information.

4/20/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

How does one fight the evil then? One goes to war against any evil that one finds. We have to establish our values and declare war on the other. We have to stay true to our values because 'to the other' we are evil.

Witness a fight that is underway at the moment over the multicultural definition of evil. We're evil! No they're evil! No we're evil! Oh well, it's all relative.

My dying butt it's relative. It's a call for a cleanup of attitudes and a prosecution of a war against a rightly defined 'evil.'

4/20/2007 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

alexis:

a murder and an adjudicated execution do not have the same moral character.

neither do jihadist acts and the acts of those of us who are counter-attacking against jihad.

when you equate them you are making a false analogy.

the jihadists don't make us like them when we hunt them down and kill them.

you false analogy does.

abandon the moral relativism.

fdr and churchill were not responsible for any of the dead or wounded in ww2.

they were all victims of nazism and japanese imperial militarism.

you should no more blame fdr than blame the cops who arrest a KKK lyncher, the judge and jury who tries & convicts him, and the executioner who gives him what they deserved.

they are categorically different acts, morally speaking.

so put your fears and loathing aside.

relish the good fight.

as churchill said:

These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.

http://www.winstonchurchill.org
/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=423

4/20/2007 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Whether Pamela's querries will prove fruitful remains to be seen, but Cho's "Islamic" connections bear watching. Who knows, the pajamas media may score another hit on a reluctant and PC MSM.

By the way, additional search warrants were served by the Virginia Highway Patrol late in the day. Among other things, these seek Cho's cell phone records, the PC of the first female murder victim, and the records of Cho's treatment by the University's mental health clinic.

H/T Gateway Pundit

Who or What Taught Ismail Ax to Kill?

The Symbolism Behind Ismael Ax

Finally, Dymphna offers a first rate analysis of The Radical Loser

***

4/20/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

mike h,

Well said.

4/20/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Benedict started a brouhaha when he argued that faith in the end had to be reconciled with beauty and truth. He recalled the debate between the Byzantine Paleologus and his Muslim interlocutor. 'God will not demand what is rejected by reason,' argued Paleologus. God or Allah was not such that he would arbitrarily require us to torture children.

The Islamic fundamentalists have a book in which cucumbers and tomatoes must be separated; the Jew hunted down, the Infidel dispatched. It is a faith without doubt, when in fact faith requires doubt in order to exist.

And because we are sometimes unsure what God wants of us, we listen to reason. We use our freedom not to consort with the demons but to listen to our angels. The smiles of our children, the counsel of the truly holy, the message of the sunrise.

We are men because we can think; just as we are angels or devils because we are free. Never settle for being half a man, but choose the kind you will be.

4/20/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

...in fact faith requires doubt in order to exist

That makes sense. It can't be faith unless it is believed by a free will.

4/20/2007 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

reliapundit:

Of course we are fighting the good fight. No civilized society can survive unless it can defeat ideologies such as al-Qaeda.

Was area bombing really necessary during World War II? If it were possible to win the war on the battlefield against Germany and Japan without using area bombing, there would still be a case for bombing civilians from the air because Germany and Japan introduced the tactic of bombing civilians into modern warfare and as such must be shown what "total war" really means. Taken out of context, the bombing of Dresden would clearly be a war crime, but Germany's declaration of "Total War" leaves no doubt that this bombing could be logically expected from its own policy. It is the very precision of our armaments that leaves us able to keep al-Qaeda's cheerleaders from feeling the brunt of their own policy of atrocity.

That which makes me regard al-Qaeda with special loathing is not that I wish them dead, but rather that their behavior incites within me a desire to see the leadership of al-Qaeda and its allied clerics hanged, drawn, and quartered; impaled; or worse torments that I would rather not describe in a public forum. My resentment against the jihadists putting snuff video onto the airwaves leads me to feel a level of violence that goes far beyond a desire to merely kill the perpetrators. I hardly regard it to be self-loathing to dislike how I can imagine myself torturing leaders of al-Qaeda or how I would enjoy the process of killing them.

I'm reminded of the scene from "Lawrence of Arabia". To paraphrase a scene, Lawrence says, "I killed a man." The British officer asks, "So?" Lawrence replies, "I liked it." The fictionalized Lawrence was caught a civilized revulsion against the enjoyment of killing people and his very human enjoyment of killing as sport.

Events in this war may eventually lead to the massacre of entire tribes and cities of people who support al-Qaeda and what it stands for, but if we go about enjoying a blood sport to annihilate the root culture of al-Qaeda without feeling at least some revulsion against the barbarity of enjoying the destruction of peoples and cities, something within us will be lost.

Justice sets limits to violence. Al-Qaeda's behavior incites violence without limit. That's why I loathe al-Qaeda with special vehemence.

4/20/2007 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

Alexis,

Very nice post.

4/20/2007 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Re: We are men because we can think; just as we are angels or devils because we are free.
___Wretchard

“While one man, with his freedom, was showing us a picture of hell, another was testifying with that same freedom to freedom’s source and purpose.”

Hell on Earth

H/T Tiger at Observanda
A Reflection Of Hell On Earth - Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

***

4/20/2007 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Faith is a very dangerous thing, and can lead to all sorts of non-sense.

"Be a sinner and sin strongly, but yet more strongly believe and rejoice in Christ, who is the conqueror of sin, death and the world. So long as we are as we are, there must be sinning; this life is not the dwelling place of righteousness."

"This is the acme of faith, to believe that God who saves so few and condemns so many, is merciful; that He is just who, at his own pleasure, has made us necessarily doomed to damnation, so that He seems to delight in the torture of the wretched and to be more deserving of hate than of love. If by any effort of reason I could conceive how God, who shows so much anger and harshness, could be merciful andd just, there would be no need of faith."

Luther

This non-sense can be more than matched in the islamic tradition, and I believe, equaled in the Jewish, though it takes more looking.

Granted, the more modern theologians have watered these outlooks down considerably, at least in the Judeo/Christian tradition.

God is not mocked.

4/20/2007 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Dry Bones

What was missed by the cartoon is the absurdity of richly rewarding such behavior in the Islamic world. That will, I am certain, be covered acerbically on another day.

H/T Dr. Sanity

4/20/2007 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Abu Yussif said...

true, "A healthy culture instills in its members guideposts, as orderly societies put up highway signs, not in order to block the roads, but to guide us in our freedom." but an unhealthy society does the same, only in a perverse manner, leading it to eventual destruction. one could reasonable argue that if the jihadists prevail via the vehicle of their depravity, whatever society that emerges is doomed to self-destruction via the same depravity, regardless of the imposition of prudish islamic piety.

4/21/2007 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Cucumbers and tomatoes? Come on. Everyone knows that it's bananas and kiwis that don't mix.

4/21/2007 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...it prohibits placing cucumbers beside tomatoes because these vegetables have different genders."

YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4/21/2007 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Look, just move the damn tomatos. Is that so much to ask, for Peace?

4/21/2007 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

How does one fight the evil then?

Be even more evil. The difference is civilized people can turn it off when the job is done and recognize it only as an expedient. For them its a way of life that can't be turned off.

I have no problem resorting to methods almost everyone would find repulsive if it gets the thing over with quicker. Its the same logic Truman used when he nuked Japan.

4/21/2007 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Wretchard: It is a faith without doubt, when in fact faith requires doubt in order to exist.

Straight to the point. Well done, and worth repeating.

4/21/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist

H/T Wizbang

4/21/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

re: Look, just move the damn tomatos. Is that so much to ask, for Peace?

Sure, just throw in the towel! And what, pray tell, will you do when they come after your BLT? Hmm?

4/21/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger doolz said...

My take on the whole thing.

4/21/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Another View of Psychoanalysis

4/21/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/21/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Allen, 11:15, LOL--

4/21/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen,

re: Islamic sexual finger foods (with or without goat cheese)

Can Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber soothe Muslim sensibilities?

If not, how does one behead a cucumber or a tomato?

As you consider the possibilities, you may find inspiration from the

Water Buffalo Song

***

4/21/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger JakeGint said...

Greetings Wretchard! Long time, no comment, but I've been reading regularly, and I still find myself catching my breath reading your rich, almost mystical Catholic prose, and the great (and learned) commentary of your frequent guests here.

For a mood lightener, one of my kids sent me this short flick... hearteningly it's actually an Italian production, maybe proving they all don't hate us so much (or, more cynically, they know where the $$$ is?). Anyway, perhaps the end is the best for Belmont realists, reminding us of the peace that follows necessary conflict.

4/21/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Exactly, well said.

murder and an adjudicated execution do not have the same moral character.

neither do jihadist acts and the acts of those of us who are counter-attacking against jihad.

when you equate them you are making a false analogy.

the jihadists don't make us like them when we hunt them down and kill them.

you false analogy does.

abandon the moral relativism.


Alexis sorry but I do not accept the idea of there being a limit in war. I also realize that I may have to do things that I would find revulsive things that may haunt me for the rest of my life. Such is war. Better that than to lose the war. But to despise Al Qaeda and Islam for forcing this upon us is almost the same as resenting the hurricane for forcing us to barricade our windows.

4/22/2007 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

//Reply to Alexis at bottom

Evil seeks to destroy everything. But it also ends up destroying itself, either intentionally or unintentionally. We know that is true. When people say "you're going to become what you fight, the more you use the tools that evil uses", what do they actually mean? I think they mean that we are weak, like evil, and that this means if we try to fight, we will fall to the Evil and become Evil. It was in fact, this ethical dilemma that motivated me into writing about Good and Evil, in an attempt to more clearly understand what is Good and what is Evil, and the difference between them.

My answer is simple. Yes, we will use what evil uses, we will seek to control entropy and we will destroy people and things, just as evil does. But we will not become evil. Why? Because evil is weak, we are not. They cannot control the tools of destruction, they cannot harness and resist entropy, and they cannot prevent their own destruction. We can. We have. And we will. Why would the Good be better than Evil, if good people were not fundamentally better than evil folks? But are good people better than evil folks just morally, some kind of "purity" that is spiritual in origin but never applicable on the ground? No. For Good to be... well good and better than Evil, Good has to be fundamentally and practically better than Evil. And good people are better than evil because the United States Marine Corps is not only stronger, wiser, faster, and hardier than the terrorists they fight, but the USMC is also able to wield more destructive forces without falling to corruption, infighting, jealousies, factionalism, abuse, and temptation. Sure, every human can choose good over evil, but people who are good are able to resist weakness far better than evil folks who have given into their weaknesses.

What is most commonly believed about evil folks like Saddam and Zarqawi? As events have shown, it is that evil people find it easy to terrorize and kill the weak, but when fighting against vast odds, they will crumple just like Saddam surrendered and Z-Man run like a chicken from Fallujah 1 after he had promised that they were going to fight. Why? Why is it that folks like Saddam care about their own lives, but effortlessly sacrifice the lives of others? Cause they're weak, and they are weak because all that matters to them is their lives, their status, and their goals.

America is strong because we know how to work as a team. One for all, and All for one. Never leave a man behind. Give me liberty or give me death. These almost contradictory values, strong individuals combined with self-sacrifice for the team, is best expressed by taking a look at the United States Marine Corps. Why is it that the USMC focuses so much on individual prowess, strength, and the value of each soldier, yet their goal is supposedly that of an army, which works together as a team, as something that follows orders, a sort of machine collective? If Saddam's evil caused him to look after himself and value himself, then doesn't the USMC fall to the same temptations when they value the individual over the greater good, such as contributing huge amounts of resources to bring back one of their own (ala Blackhawk Down or just CSAR)? No.

The difference is simple. Good people do not have to sacrifice personal strength to work as a team for the greater good, to build something of worth, and to protect women and children (the future). In point of fact, having weak people on your team decreases the power of your teamwork. So why doesn't Saddam, with all his personal power, work in a team, relying upon others to cover his back? Because evil people are weak, their power lies in terror and intimidation, not protection and trust. They can't work as a team, their members are too selfish and untrustworthy. The United States Marine Corps have hit upon the secret to strength. Personal strength and power is important, the warrior ethos, and it is promoted in the Marines. But what is more important is elan, spirit, and self-sacrifice. Duty in otherwords.

The Marines, like the Japanese samurai of old, are able to do what they do because they have de-prioritized saving their own lives. There is no hesitation when a grenade is thrown amongst a Marine's friends, with no time to throw it back. One for all, and All for one. Or to use the American version. Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Saddam can't do that. He can't ever NOT think about saving himself.

That is the key to strength. Not suicide, not giving into death and entropy because it is "easy". No, this strength derives from your will and your values. It is a choice, of putting everything you have into the service of what you believe, of the Good. Everything, without limits, without hesitations, without regrets. That is a concentrated force, that is hard to beat.

So think about this for a second. If the United States truly is "better" than the terrorists, as the Left keeps telling us, then isn't it time we acted like we were better than terrorists instead of creeping around worrying about how we will become the terrorists? Since when has being stopped by fear, the path to greatness and glory? Or if someone cares not for greatness and glory, then how about duty. How will you fullfill your duty to your buddies, your friends, your children, your family, and your nation if you won't release the limits because of your fears for yourself? US soldiers full of strength and vitality have thrown themselves upon grenades to save their fellows. People back here talking about how staining their hands with blood is to be avoided, should be ashamed of their weakness. For weakness invites Evil into the hearts of men.
****

The above portion was actually a segment I wrote in reply to the topic in the comments here. But it was part of a larger post in relation to Wretchard's writings.

Good and Evil, what's the difference

the other is to feel offense against their exhibitionism, to be utterly unimpressed by the level of evil they are committing precisely because I suspect what I'm capable of if my mind goes in the wrong direction.

That is fundamentally a good reaction, Alexis. It is far more preferable to feeling helpless and in the role of the victim. Taking a pro-active psychological position against violence, by feeling contempt for the violent doers, is one of the best preparations for handling violence. And not being frozen when it occurs in your presence.

Physical barriers are nothing compared to the barriers we place in our minds.

But I understand what you mean. Because I also had the same reaction over time, to the terrorists. You simply have to deal with your dark side, Alexis. Don't confuse your fear of your own dark side, for the justified anger you feel towards the terrorists. They are not the same thing, and should not be connected together.

Hate the terrorists for what they are, but don't hate them for what you are. It isn't going to help you. You have to accept and deal with your dark side, as all of us are required to do at one time or another.

The Israelis and also David Weber describes your viewpoint very well. Which is "I do not hate the Arabs because they have killed our children, I hate the Arabs because they made me kill theirs".

In my view, that does occur, but shouldn't.

And this leads to a paradox of tyranny

I think my post does an adequate job of explaining how it isn't a paradox.

My resentment against the jihadists putting snuff video onto the airwaves leads me to feel a level of violence that goes far beyond a desire to merely kill the perpetrators. I hardly regard it to be self-loathing to dislike how I can imagine myself torturing leaders of al-Qaeda or how I would enjoy the process of killing them.

This process is very common as a reaction by civilized people to unjust attacks by barbarians. It's a basic question of "Am I becoming a monster". Equal parts hate, fear, and distaste. You fear what you may become. You hate what lead you up to this situation, and you have distaste for the actions you visualize.

All of these problems hinge upon justifications. How do you know you are justified in doing these things, and without an ethical framework, you can become lost and make mistakes. The Celestial Hierarchy system combined with the Meta-Golden Rule should be enough to treat terrorists with the justice they have earned with their actions.

Events in this war may eventually lead to the massacre of entire tribes and cities of people who support al-Qaeda and what it stands for, but if we go about enjoying a blood sport to annihilate the root culture of al-Qaeda without feeling at least some revulsion against the barbarity of enjoying the destruction of peoples and cities, something within us will be lost.

David Weber wrote that there is a difference between satisfaction in a job well done and joy in killing.

You can have one without the other. A person can feel satisfaction that they are lessening the threat of terrorism by being more scary than the terrorists, but he need not feel joy at killing, at the same time.

I do not describe my emotions towards terrorists as "joy". It is more after all, contempt. Contempt based upon the belief that the terrorists when they executed Nick Berg did a piss poor job of scaring folks, compared to what they could have done with more creativity and access to free minds.

Distilled further, it is righteous anger. Good people feel anger when they see acts of injustice. Good people seek to redress injustice, to bring balance back. This is not the same as enjoying killing, not even close. But it is a very dark emotion and side of things. Instead of repressing, use it and control it. Face it.

If you fear becoming a monster or seeing others becoming monsters, then face your fears, explore the issues. Find out whether you are or are not. Self-honesty has always been a strong point for free men and women. Something the Islamic Jihad certainly does not have.

Alexis, you might like David Weber's books (some available at Baen library), if you haven't already read him. He explores many of the topics you have written about here, in his stories and characters.

4/22/2007 09:46:00 AM  

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