Killing as a political tool or Watering the Tree of Liberty

| Sunday, January 9, 2011
Now and then I hear references to 'watering the tree of liberty with blood', meaning that freedom has a price and we must remove corruption. Exorcise it. It makes me laugh, and sigh, and cry, to hear it.

This was originally a much longer post. I decided to trim most of it and just go with my point, with no distracting tangents, except one that I think must stay, or maybes or well but also thises.

There will always be politicians with whom we disagree, or I disagree, or you disagree. How we handle that inevitability is important.

I'm slowly making a list of factors which make some countries inevitably better than others: richer, more advanced, more free, safer. One of these is treatment of women. As a general rule, the better women are treated, the better a country will be. Any intelligent person whose mind isn't poisoned can see that suppressing 50% of a population doesn't just make us lose potential from them, but from the other 50% as well. Slavery has similar corrupting effects.

Another factor is not killing people with whom we disagree. It sounds almost trivial. What do you mean, we don't kill people just for having other opinions? It sounds like basic civility, doesn't it? Yes! Exactly!

Violence is mutually assured destruction of ideas and civilization. It's not a beautiful idea, but mediocre stability beats anarchy and chaos.

Would you rather live in America or Ivory Coast? Britain or Sudan? Canada or Iraq? There are many factors that separate those countries, but one of the biggest is government stability, and there is no stability when there is murder. Even our chaotic, constantly turning over and flipping Congress and Executive are solid rock compared to the second countries on those lists.

I'm not saying I don't wish that the Hitlers of the world weren't all dead, but we need to recognize that Hitlers are pretty hard to identify. How many people even saw Hitler coming? What we can do is damage control. We can limit power, debate, argue, march, yell and scream and throw back the tear gas canisters, but killing fixes very few problems compared to the number it creates.

Or in short form: Political killing gets us nowhere.


Tesh said...

Political character assassination doesn't help much either.

Reala said...

I'm sure this point was in one of your trimmed tangents but, taking Hitler as an example, as much evil as he did, he was not a product of a stable, happy society. His rise to power was made possible by a broken and desperate people, and if had not have been him or had he been killed off before his time, I'm willing to bet another would have taken his place with more or less the same results. You still see this all over the world, unfortunately.

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: It doesn't. But at least it's slightly less permanent.

@Reala: It wasn't in my tangent, but I'd planned to write it for a followup post this weekend. But you're right, evil comes from systems and societies, not from individuals. Unfortunately we focus too much on Hitler and the Holocaust and not enough on how. Not to imply that the Holocaust isn't worthy of attention.

Post a Comment

Comments in posts older than 21 days will be moderated to prevent spam. Comments in posts younger than 21 days will be checked for ID.

Powered by Blogger.