There have been some developments from this year that have troubled me on the subject of the Satanic tenet of vengeance.
In July of this year, one Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers in Dallas before being killed himself, and he did so with the primary intent of killing white people, particularly white police officers, apparently because he was troubled by the shootings of black men by police officers. That many of the people shot by cops were in fact not only white but also either armed or trying to resist arrest in spite of a lack of arms available was probably lost on him. If he had any serious objections to the idea of black men being killed by police officers as being racist, then was he not concerned that by seeking to murder people on the basis of their white skin would make him racist as well? Micah was not alone. Throughout the year America has seen fresh stories of shootings by cops, as well as a hell of a lot of obfuscation surrounding the facts of those stories, and riots committed by members of the African-American community where they begin to target white people in acts of racial violence, as though this is somehow a kind of justice.
Also, recently, Vocativ put out an article claiming that supporters of Donald Trump on the Internet doxed journalists who were opposed to Trump. Mike Cernovich, a notable political media personality who supports Trump, shared the article on Twitter but made no attempt to deny the claim made by the article and even implied that the journalists deserved it. Cernvoich’s fans claimed that the potential doxing of anti-Trump journalists is justified based on their claim that mainstream media journalists doxed Ken Bone, a man who became very popular after the 2nd presidential debate, by digging up his browsing history, and the claim that they doxed Roosh V, even though he was actually doxed by Anonymous (a group also known for doxing KKK members and Martin Skreli, as well as attempting to dox Donald Trump). They also think it’s justified because they think not only that the mainstream media is corrupt but that it is also at war with them. We can be fairly certain that the American media is quite corrupt, being willing to collude with Hillary Clinton in order to artificially elevate her presidential campaign, but the idea that the media is actually at war with supporters of Donald Trump should be treated with more skepticism. Oh, and they think that there is no such thing as unethical tactics, only bad targets, just like Bob Chipman said, and when you point that out to them they deny that there is any ethical similarity between their attitudes because of their separate ideologies, as if your ideology changes the worth of your actions somehow. They appear to be unconvinced of the possible lack of ethics behind their support of doxing. Also: if they are right about journalists doxing them, then they have to accept that if they are in favor of doxing them back, then they accept doxing as a valid tactic and do not hold the right to privacy as a principle, and if they are wrong then they are just accepting doxing as a valid tactic and are happy to use it based on what is probably a lie.
That’s why I wanted to start a debate on the premise of vengeance. I want to focus on the following questions:
- What is the appropriate scope of vengeance that can be pursued by the individual before he/she passes a point where the individual seeking retribution becomes the miscreant that is the source of the desire for retribution?
- If you are opposed to a bad action being committed against you or others (like say fraud, doxing, killing etc.), does committing the same action to that person not make you the miscreant you wanted to smite in the first place for committing that action?
- How literally must “an eye for an eye” be applied?
Just to clarify, this isn’t necessarily intended to cover such things as self-defense, which is generally a more immediate act following immediate wrongdoing committed to an individual (rather, you being attacked right there and then, and then having to resist that attack on the spot).
I would also like such a debate to touch on the subject of vigilantism, which I consider to be related subject, where the response to a crime being committed is to hunt down the criminals and take law or justice into your own hands rather than have them dealt with by invoking the laws of your society. The obvious question resulting from this being “is it appropriate to take the law into your own hands?”.