greg (grysar) wrote,

Tangents on strength

There have been a scattered discussions of strength and weakness lately. So here are some thoughts probably too late and tangential to draw comment, but I'm satisfied to publish anyways, I even know a few people will read or skim :).

I tend to view strength as its own reward. Pride and arrogance based on ability is quite a reasonable trait, indeed far be it from me to knock arrogance. Other feelings are fairly complex so I'll stay quiet until i have something worthwhile to say.

The tangent is on the association of strenght and weakness with oppression and terrorism.

The difference between oppressors and terrorists is largely one of power. Terrorists who gain power tend to be despotic, oppressors use the veneer of power to use tactics that would be described as terrorists were they not committed by a state. They are often two sides of the same coin. Of course this is intentionally an oversimplification, there are many shades of gray, but a few, such as Bin Laden's group and the taliban fall nicely into it.

So, the strength/weakness connection you ask? Well probably not, but I ask on your behalf! :)
Both oppressors and terrorist justify their tactics using weakness.

  • We can't appear or fight in the open, so we fight the only way we can, using terror
  • We'd like to have a democratic state, but given the instability only a one party system can work
  • The world is anarchic, therefore because we are threatened we cannot be so foolish as to apply morals in our policy.

This is how weakness can be despicable, particularly when the strong claim they are forced to act from it. What these factions forget is that weakness, while it does limit options, doesn't justify evil.

The weak or strong if you choose to exercise violence, to be justified you must choose the most ethical way you may complete your goals, and have goals adequate to allow for that level of harm.

As I'm describing organizations and nations the relavent justifications include self-defense, prevention of atrocities, defense of an ally, freedom and self-determination.

The weak will have less ability to choose a minimum harm approach, but this does not lift the obligation to have an end that justifies the violence in the first place! If an ethical means to meet the goal does not exists, perhaps its worth the time to get better leaders and plans before doing evil in the name of the greater cause.

There are also those who would advise the most powerful nation in the history of civilation, the first among a now predominently democratic world, the leader of an alliance with more military might than the rest of the world. If your advice is that we are weak and threatened, and living in a scary anarchic world I have a simple response.

I am a proud American, you are weak or a fool, perhaps both, trouble us not for we have choosen a great destiny.

(See why I don't come down hard on arrogance)
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