[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas

Joy Vriens joy.vriens at gmail.com
Sat Jun 12 04:49:22 MDT 2010

Back again,

> Especially legal systems where the death penalty is still
> > active, and where certain groups of the population seem to be more
> present
> > among the executed than others.
> this sort of sloppy conflationaryism [to coin an ugly word] is a
> disservice,
> and hinders rather than sharpens thinking.

"When one runs out of rational arguments, one resorts to name-calling and

> Without even getting into great
> detail let me again simply invoke the distinction between innocent and
> guilty.
> Bug exterminators, same thing?
I don't get this. Please tell me first who are the bugs and who are the bug

> http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,946853,00.html
> At some level it may be important to examine the lines that run between
> Aztec sacrifice and, for instance Vedic yajna, in which the sacrifice was
> also envisioned as guaranteeing and furthering the continuance of the
> culture and the cosmic order (Rta). Or, again, the apparent power of such
> images -- such as a well known religion that centers itself on the bloody
> execution of its deity, and places the death implement on buildings, in
> buildings, around their neck, pantomiming it with their hands during prayer
> or while repelling vampires.

This reminds me of a French anarchist joke. If the Christ hadn't been
crucified, but impaled, what sign would his followers have made?

> Metaphors can be useful tools for thinking, but they can obscure as well.
> If
> I really thought that you don't see the chasm of difference between the US
> judicial system and the Aztecs' sacrificial system, I would bother to
> explain that for you.

A judicial system is about order and social peace. It's not perfect and
can't allow itself to apologize for its mistakes and repair them due to
potential loss of authority. The very rare exceptions confirm the rule. The
innocent that are condemned and perhaps executed are victims, but useful
victims, since they help to maintain the social peace (Rta) AND the judicial
system. In some cases when public opinion is thirsty for "justice", it is
better to find just any suspect and to keep that suspect until the mob goes
quiet again. If necessary the suspect may be released and another random
suspect be arrested. In such cases there isn't even a condemnation and
therefore not even a judicial mistake, but the fact is very similar to that
of a proper condemnation and/or execution. Such suspects are victims that
pay the price of the Rta. They may not lose their biological life, but they
certainly lose plenty. Religion is everywhere, especially there where it is
said to be absent.

Attali's musical metaphor has a certain appeal, but in
> the end it seems to be more about cleverness than elucidation (I could be
> wrong).
> Yes I think it is cleverness too, but we do need cleverness.


More information about the buddha-l mailing list