Sunday, September 21, 2008

Collective responsibility

This is a crime, during conflict. If an army kills villagers as a reprisal for an offensive action by an individual, that act of collective responsibility is classed as a war crime.

But what if an army kills villagers who opposed the offending action? Or the inhabitants of another, entirely different, village - even one hostile to the one the perceived offender came from? What is the moral position of that action?

At least Paulie isn't at war.

3 comments:

dearieme said...

"If an army kills villagers as a reprisal for an offensive action by an individual, that act of collective responsibility is classed as a war crime." True, but that's a very individualist Western view, surely. In a multi-culti world we should surely recognise that in those parts of the world where the atom of society is the family and not the individual, butchering a whole village is merely sound policy.

Paulie said...

I suspect that you picked up the puckish tone in that post Peter? If you can't wind people up in your middle years, what's the point in going on?

I think you know enough about the sociology of right-wing politics to know that most right wingers are more interested in pulling up the ladder that they used themselves than in any notion of 'liberty' they way that you would frame it.

Your position, like mine (a rather extreme version of democratic determinism) are both reliant upon a huge amount of conjecture. I think that, after the last couple of weeks, mine *could* get a bit of an easier hearing than yours if there were any justice in the world.

But there isn't. 'Libertarianism' has been advanced my many deep-pocketted non-libertarian people in a very instrumental way. For this reason, I doubt if many of the punches thrown by people like me will land very squarely for very long.

Peter Risdon said...

Yes, Paulie, I did.

I hate anyone who pulls up the ladder, right or left. I'd like to dump them, barefoot, in Tottenham, with nothing more than the pallid white flesh of the palms of their hands to ransom for their next meal.

I agree with you about the motives of some so-called libertarians. But that doesn't mean that the inevitable corruption of an all-powerful state is the answer.