Saturday, November 06, 2010

Braggarts and bravery

Conventional wisdom says that it takes courage to break the law, and especially to kill. But is that necessarily true? Take for example the case of a young man who has been beaten for participation in a protest event. The event itself was peaceful, legal and even given some sort of governmental protection. However, the opposition is an explicitly pro-violence organization, that (of course) portrays its members as brave soldiers protecting something old and revered. But when the young man was beaten, he was alone, and the people who attacked him were three. Not only that, but they used the element of surprise, and left quite fast after they were discovered by bystanders. The young man knew that by attending the event he is putting himself at a certain risk of this incident. They knew that the government is secretly in favor of their agenda, so the police will never actually catch them. They committed a criminal act, but were they courageous?
Another example. An officer is presented with the following choice: point out the position of the nearest of his own units to the rough-riders that caught him, or die in a brutal way by being beaten to death with a baseball bat. He has every reason to live, probably kids at home and all that, and still he does not choose that, and he dies. Whose example is to be followed - his or that of the band that killed him?
There are of course countless situations where active violence takes guts, but in a not negligible portion of cases it is the less noble way to go. Especially if your numbers are greater than those of the opponent. Now what does that say about those people who put the following quote in their signatures: „Put this in your signature if you are not afraid to admit that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.“? Of course you are not afraid! You are the majority, and even if you do something outrageous, the rest of the flock stands behind you. To be an atheist and open about it, however, takes more guts, even if one is not violent about it. (This applies mostly to America, but not only.)
Be proud of what you are, there is nothing wrong with that. But please, do not be pretentious.

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