Thursday, September 13, 2012

Proportionality and Responsibility

Yesterday I already wrote a piece about the ransacking of US consulate in Benghazi.

Now we know that the US ambassador is one of the casualties.

Now we also heard that the US embassy in Yemen was attacked by the mob.

So, I think it deserves another comment.

First, kudos for the Libyan people. Many of them apologize for the attack. They don't give any excuse, they don't victimized themselves, they truly regret that attack.

Second, I want to introduce a concept that seems foreign and unknown to the angry mobs everywhere: Proportionality. A reaction has to be proportional to the action. A punishment has to be proportional to the violation. That's why even the most eager supporter of death penalty NEVER asks capital punishment for vandalism. You know what follows after you disregard proportionality: you lost respect. That is one of the reason why the Qin dynasty lost power, they punished every single violation of law harshly, losing respect from their own people who finally had enough and rebelled. In case you still don't get it, killing for a movie IS UNPROPORTIONAL! If you read my previous article, killing because you feel offended is even MORE UNPROPORTIONAL!

This phenomena has correlation with one basic principle of power. If you use your "power" cheaply, nobody will respect you. Just like one of the quote in my 10th Amazing Quotes article said about power:

The architects of power in the US must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight, it begins to evaporate.
-- Samuel P. Huntington in “American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony” p. 75.

Third, another concept foreign to the mobs is RESPONSIBILITY. The mobs burned, looted, and killed US consulate, although it was not the US government who created the movie. Predictable. These mobs live according to tribal mentality, they regarded "The United States" as one big tribe who is "responsible" for ANYTHING one of its member did to their tribe, regardless the absence of connection between that individual and the US government.

On the other hand, many people don't want to blame the Muslims. We have "to understand them" means, when they were insulted, they would understandably stage a riot. Check Andrew Klavan's video on the right, he put it humorously and perfectly.

So, now you know the root problem of this fiasco. Some Muslim radicals have screwed up concept of proportionality and responsibility. On our side, we also sometimes messed up the responsibility for these tragedies. We, the civilized people should not take this lightly. We may not become a hostage of those radicals feeling. "Indifference" to injustice is never enough. Indifference to these radicals is deadly. We have to show them that such barbarism is intolerable, and won't go unpunish. The Libyan government reaction to help the US to track the attackers down and put them to justice is a good step to that direction.

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