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Thursday, December 16

Moral Goals - Violence reduction

While looking up the subject of moral goals, I ran across an interesting article from the Telegraph.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday urged America to recognise that terrorists can "have serious moral goals".

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He said that while terrorism must always be condemned, it was wrong to assume its perpetrators were devoid of political rationality. "It is possible to use unspeakably wicked means to pursue an aim that is shared by those who would not dream of acting in the same way, an aim that is intelligible or desirable."

This might be so. I'm not sure what the point is exactly.

"Violence is not to be undertaken by private persons," he said. "If a state or administration acts without due and visible attention to agreed international process, it acts in a way analogous to a private person. It purports to be judge of its own interest."

Who should judge what's in one's best interests? My best guess would be oneself although it might be good to consult good/better people one knows about this. When it comes to violence within America, though, when and where to use it has been mutually agreed to be best decided by an independent jury. The "necessity" for violence is determined by an impartial jury and carried out by a select few who are also constrained by laws and culture to deal out forceful or violent means of stopping badness. One benefit, I think, is to allow most people to generally avoid violent behavior and focus on doing better things. It also allows those permitted to use violence in the prevention of badness to become very skilled at both violence and at using the least violent methods of stopping badness.

This really struck me when I was starting a new job a while back and the security person spoke to the new group of employees I was with. While watching some video footage of various shoplifters and of the security team forcefully restraining people, he mentioned the care required and that he happily applied to NOT injuring or harming the person. This put him at greater risk, but he seemed pleased that this was part of the job. It amazed me how this person who spent his days looking for badness in people and trying to stop it seemed to feel a genuine sort of kindness toward even the people who would have harmed him. I thought it was a good thing. It seems that even people who make their honest living with violence are finding ways to avoid it.

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