On the Morality of Assassination


Ilya Somin of The Volokh Conspiracy:

In my view, targeting terrorist leaders is not only defensible, but actually more ethical than going after rank and file terrorists or trying to combat terrorism through purely defensive security measures. The rank and file have far less culpability for terrorist attacks than do their leaders, and killing them is less likely to impair terrorist operations. Purely defensive measures, meanwhile, often impose substantial costs on innocent people and may imperil civil liberties. Despite the possibility of collateral damage inflicted on civilians whom the terrorist leaders use as human shields, targeted assassination of terrorist leaders is less likely to harm innocents than most other strategies for combatting terror and more likely to disrupt future terrorist operations.

Agree. The only better scenario would be to capture him live to be put on trial, however that would probably be too much public relation trouble for an American President to desire.

On the merit of success and failure


Being having a lot of interesting conversations lately.
My chat with a friend last night reminded me of two posts i wrote on success, failure and free will.

The fundamental view that form the bases of both post (not a radical view at all, its a view share by philosophers in general) is that since success, failure or whatever attainment a person result in is cause by the accumulated interaction between the genes and the environment (good and bad). And that both the genes that conceived and the environment that raised us are the result of chance. Therefore neither success nor failure should form the podium to condescend from or the pit to be condescended to.

Chanced Entitlement


off All persuasion, the conclusion i draw from the debate over free will in that the free will is incoherent and ultimately fallacious is perhaps one of the two most fundamental pillars of my moral philosophy. The other being The Golden Rule.

it is with this in mind, i reject the view that those who possess properties that happens to be preferred by the society are somehow more worthy then other. in fact, i cant help but feel a little disgusted by people with their unapologetically entitled demeanor. These people claim superiority just because they happens to be born in a developed country, with wealthy and nurturing parents, grow up in nice neighborhood and received expensive schooling. These people are ignorant of the fact that their better traits, developed taste, high culture, achievement and sophistication are not the fruit of their own initiative but simply the result of luck.

sure, people are entitle to value themselves as they see fit. and my view on the subject are not some sort of metaphysical truth. I just want to rant how i am disgusted by these people, because these days i seem to meet more of these narcissists with all their barely concealed sense of entitlement.

Update 2010/12/20: when i originally wrote this, it was not intended to be a serious piece, but a quick rant. The part on the golden rule is later added. One more point. I of course dont mean to imply that those who are supposedly success, in spite of their background poor environment can claim their superiority. They cannot. Simply because whatever kinds of success or failure a person end up attaining, it the result of the accumulated interaction between the genes and the environment (good or bad). And that both the genes that conceived and the environment that raised us are the result of chance. Therefore neither success nor failure should form the podium to condescend from or the pit to be condescended to.