Saturday, October 22, 2011

The killing of Gadhafi- self defense or revenge?

I can't join the majority in the celebration over the killing of Gadhafi.

Yes, he was a very, very bad guy. Almost everyone who seeks political power is. Any one of his victims would have been fully justified in killing him in self defense. But... the old monster was not a credible threat any more- he was no longer the ruler and was not engaged in an initiation of force at the time he was killed. He was killed in revenge, not in self defense. I also don't see any justice in it.

I think revenge is wrong. Understandable, but wrong. I'm not saying I would never again do anything in revenge, myself, but if I did I would be wrong. I have done a few things in revenge in the past. I was wrong.

When I smeared poison ivy all over the toilet seat, and my wife's vibrator, before I abandoned my house to her and her new boyfriend, I was wrong. If I had it to do over again I hope I would make the right decision this time. I have the benefit of years of libertarianism to guide my actions now.

The rebels, who are now falling all over themselves in the rush to set up another State to abuse them and violate their liberty, were wrong for killing Gadhafi. And they are wrong for allowing a new government to be established. Actions have consequences. Watch what happens next.



  1. wait you did what with poison ivy??? wow.

    But otherwise I wholeheartedly agree - it was a revenge kill, extrajudicial murder, not justice.

  2. "...[E]xtrajudicial murder" you say? In a chaotic condition like Libya at present what judicial system do suggest to turn him over to for trial? The UN? They're made up of states. The AU? Ditto. Libya at the present time seems to be in between regimes and appears not to have any independent non-Qadaffi organized courts so that's out too. Let him flee for his life and hope he won't come back? Nah. Best to just plug the bastard and be done with it. Maybe that's not the perfect solution you'd get from an anarchist-philosopher king like Robert Nozick but real life means dealing with real problems in real time. One man's justice is another man's extrajudicial murder I guess. But what happens when there is no independent judiciary available?

  3. Personally, I'd count on him trying to initiate force, or threaten or delegate its initiation, at some point soon (old habits die hard) and let him be killed in self defense. I don't ever trust government-run courts, anywhere, to produce justice.

  4. Did you see the movie *True Grit*(2010)? Mattie and the Marshall find a lynching victim strung up on a very high tree branch along the trail. Mattie asks the Marshall why they hung him so high up? The Marshall replies that he doesn't know but possibly in the belief it would render the man "more dead". Heh.

    It seems to me that if you're gonna vanquish a foe do it all the way; half measures won't suffice. The Libyans that captured him wanted Qadaffi to be as "dead as possible" after 42 years. Call it revenge, "extra-judical murder", mob violence, or whatever you like just as long as in the end Qadaffi is as "dead as possible" is the result. Real world.

  5. i wanted to be okay with the killing (human nature, right? humans understand 'revenge'), but i watched the videos online and i just felt awful. disgusting. sick.

    i think i'm okay with not wanting that sort of end for anyone.