Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Courts are sacrilegious. They presume to deliver judgement. That is wrong. Only God can judge.

Now many of the people that support the killing of bin Laden support this argument on the argument that bin Laden was evil. I am a supporter of killing him but I do not presume to know that he was evil. His actions were evil, but I, since I am not God, do not know and have no way of knowing that he was evil. Who knows? If I had been raised in the same society and milieu as he was, perhaps I would have ended up thinking the same things he did and doing the same things. I am not particularly committed to the proposition that he wasn't a bad guy, he probably was. But the larger point remains that all through history we have seen people do things that to us seem unquestionably evil but that to them and the societies they were a part of were seen as necessary or even virtuous.

I only know that his continued existence on this Earth was dangerous to innocent people, not only for the further evil actions he was in all likelihood planning but for the example that he set to the world of being able to publicly gloat and boast of defying the US and inflicting a grievous and humiliating defeat on the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth.

But that is a prudential argument, not a moral catharsis argument. I regard the pleasure and pride with which most Americans greeted the death of bin Laden at the hands of our brave soldiers at the direction of our able president as justifiable and innocent. Still, justice, if it is to be done, will be done by God. We cannot inflict enough pain to expiate the pain caused by his crimes nor claim the moral standing to judge him as an individual human being.

But the fact is that his acts were evil. His acts put him beyond the protection of any human laws. Weather he deserved to be punished in the deepest, moral sense it is beyond my power to judge, but that his death was necessary and useful is beyond anyone's power to seriously question.

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