Monday, 5 March 2012


There's this rather swagalicous (now a word) quote from the Star Wars Character Boba Fett, and it goes like this:

"Everyone dies. It is the final and only ever lasting justice. Evil exists; it is intelligence in the service of entropy. When the side of a mountain slides to kill a village, this is not evil, for evil requires intent. Should a sentient being cause that landslide, there is evil; and requires justice as a consequence, so that civilization can exist. There is no greater good than justice; and only if law serves justice is it a good law. It is said correctly that law exists not for the just but for the unjust, for the just carry the law in their hearts, and do not need to call it from afar. I bow to no one and give service only for cause. "

The idea here is perhaps one you are very familiar with. At some point in your life, you've realised that you don't 100% agree with the laws we have. I'm not suggesting you want to kill someone, but you've decided that maybe it doesn't matter if you drink before the legal age, that there appears to be no reason that you can't watch adult movies before you're 18. Do drugs, just don't get caught. Once again, I'm not saying I agree with all these things, however those examples where chosen as they show the laws most commonly broken. Do you jaywalk? You've probably committed some form of verbal abuse, perhaps not with serious intent, but the point stands. 

To ask a more serious question, are you an absolutist about the law against murder? What about war? What if someone was trying to kill you? What about the case of Osama Bin Laden? Technically he was murdered. I'm sure you can all think of instances where you would steal, perhaps reluctantly, but steal nonetheless. Why is the idea of the vigilante so appealing? 

In legal terms the vigilante is merely a criminal. He may steal, trespass, kill, harm and threaten people. He almost certainly breaks the law. Vigilantism is discouraged (illegal) by your local law enforcement, mostly because life is not a movie, but the appeal of this figure represents something very fundamental about our society: There are a set of values we agree on.

To qualify that statement we need to ignore fringe groups. This is necessarily dangerous as it cuts out certain amounts of the population, as we must exclude psychopaths (who, last I heard, make up 3% of the population, but you should fact check that), and people in desperate situations. 

Now I can make a sweeping general comment. It appears that we have something resembling a universal morality. There is a set of values we agree on. Killing is bad. If someone honestly doesn't think that, we put them down as criminally insane. Theft is wrong. Generally. Please raise your hand if you  approve of rape. 

With the exception of rape, these things will change in certain contexts, i.e extenuating circumstances. Now of course you can say "Well isn't everything an extenuating circumstance?" - but that's just a smart ass pseudo intellectual comment. Because how many times in your life, do you come across these circumstances? I'm not saying it never happens to anyone, but there are 7 billion people on the planet. It happens to some people, sometimes. 7 billion is a fuck load. 

We have decided our own laws, we have our own laws. We debate the non-esstianals, and we have our own sense of justice. Laws are for the unjust, because the just do carry the law. Perhaps not in their heart, but the point still stands. 

So next time someone tells you about morals being relative, stab them in the throat and steal their pocket money. Just don't rape them. Cause that's never okay. 

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