The Western world, the blogosphere, the mainstream media and even the alternative media are in a massive celebration at the news (available here) that the former Iraqi dictator will be hanged.
This, of course, is perfectly understandable. I too feel that humanity will be better off without him, although, I do have significant reservations about glorifying such punishment as it invariably leads to bloodlust of Homeric proportions. That said, putting the issues of whether this will quell the violence (as the US president suggests will happen) or whether capital punishment in any scenario is justified aside, let us assume that Hussein deserves this fate.
Since just about everybody (myself included) believes that Hussein deserves some manner of horrible fate, it is worth taking a moment to apply this relatively simple moral conclusion to ourselves and see if the empathy we claim to have for Hussein’s victims, is universal and worthy of being called empathy.
Let me begin by saying that empathy, in order to be genuine, MUST be universally applied. It is disingenuous at best to state that we have empathy for one group of oppressed individuals when it suits our convenience and then to turn around and show little to no empathy for another group of oppressed individuals when it does not suit our ends.
So, if we’re to hang Hussein out of empathy for the horrors visited by him upon his victims, we must also have empathy for victims of other similar villains. Even a basic understanding of history and current political affairs shows that we have little such empathy.
Continue reading ‘If we’re going to hang Hussein, there are others who deserve the same fate’