Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, June 24, 2002

This is what most rational people have been saying about the morality of suicide bombing for some time now.

This ideology of death is not then the product of hope denied, but hope fed. Fed not just by money and arms from neighbours, but fed, above all, by the folly of the West. The hope that terror will bring concessions, the hope that the West is weakening, the hope that fanaticism will prevail, is daily reinforced. That hope is nurtured by movement towards a Palestinian state which is accelerated, not delayed, by bombing. It is encouraged by news that decisive action against one sponsor of terror, Iraq, has been delayed. It is supported by news that the world’s most energetic sponsor of terror, Iran, is to be appeased by the granting of EU trade privileges.

It is also advanced by the moral confusion which suicide bombing has produced among Western elites. The campaign has been designed to obscure the wickedness of ethnic mass murder by seeking to place the killer on the same moral plain as his targets — both are to be seen as “victims”.

But that is only true in the sense that a Khmer Rouge, Waffen SS or Interahamwe footsoldier and those he slaughters are “equally” victims of totalitarianism. One is implementing an ideology of death, the others are that ideology’s necessary sacrifices. To contextualise the acts of the killers by arguing that they have no hope, to see “nobility” in their blitheness about the consequences as they take others’ lives, is to locate moral reasoning in individuals who wish to erase the most fundamental moral principle — respect for life itself.

It is difficult for the civilised man or woman to admit that barbarism can take possession of a soul, or a society. But unless we do, we cannot stop its advance.

< email | 6/24/2002 11:54:00 PM | link

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