Who and What is the Happy Warrior
This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.
(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The highjacking of "Compassion"
The video did not include this important portion of the statement (see below). The last line (which I've bolded) will forever stand as one of the most morally confused statements:
"In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity.
"It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people.
"The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.
"Mr Al Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.
"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.
"Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available.
"Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown.
"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated."
Since when did compassion trump every other quality? But before you paint me as a cold hearted soul (a judgement which those who hardly know me would hasten to make after reading a few short sentances), consider the possibility that Mr. MacAskill is involved in what could best be described as a sophisticated Greek tradgedy. His desire to show compassion is ultimately incompassionate and is damaging the beautiful concept. Is not discipine, incarceration, corrections and chastisement really compassionate at the core? Is not compassion a virtue that should apply not only to the individual but equally (if not moreso) to the community/society?
My natural inclination is toward compassion (which is best evidenced and best demonstrated at the individual level -a personal quality which those who know me well will quickly defend) so I am even more angered by the adulteration of the concept and the word -this is yet another example of the battle over language and meaning in our post-modern society. "Good" has become "evil" and "evil" has become "good" (which is at least not as sinister and destructive as entirely dismissing the concept of evil entirely).
So we have added "compassion" to those words, concepts and values that trump everything else (other words elevated to this level are tolerance, love, equality, etc.). These form an inpeneterable forcefield behind which the politically correct can establish their motives and declare both moral superiority and humanistic immunity. But tell me this, how is the release of a calculated mass murderer who engaged in a purposeful terrorist act that extinguised the lives and futures of 270 innocent people (yes, men, women and children) compassionate to the family members of those victims? What about the demands of society? If Mr MacAskill wishes to effuse compassion great, but Mr. MacAskill was not the only object of offense. Compassion is a micro (person to person) level quality but justice is the essential macro (societal) level quality. The irony is that our society is actually becoming less compassionate by applying it at the general and anonymous (macro) level instead of where it really has an impact and can positively change the world (and coincidentally is much more difficult and demanding of us) -at the individual level.