Is the “Dear Leader” Il?

Something fishy’s going on in North Korea. Kim Jong Il hasn’t been seen in some time, supposedly because he’s in mourning over the death of his favorite concubine. Reports indicate that the cult of personality around Kim and his father may be eroding, and it’s certainly odd that portraits of the “Dear Leader” are reportedly coming down from very prominent places. Anti-Kim leaflets have reportedly been popping up in inconvenient places. Japanese politicians, who normally limit statements about their nutty neighbor to vague nothings, have begun to mention the possibility that change is in the air. The last Stalinist regime on earth might be quietly undergoing major internal power struggles.
Some speculate that a coup’s in the offing, spurred by China at America’s request (in return for a major concession in our Taiwan policy). I remain skeptical, so I’ll keep watching to see what else shakes loose. Let me know if you spot something pertinent.
On a related note, the demise of the nuclear bunker buster bomb project will figure prominently in the geopolitical calculations of our adversaries, especially in Iran and North Korea.

Muslim death cultists aren’t subhuman

Again with the beheadings.

Today the Islamists have sawn off the head of Jack Hensley of Marietta, Georgia. Yesterday they sawed off the head of Eugene Armstrong of Hillsdale, Michigan.
I’m not surprised. Hopefully we’ll preserve our collective outrage over this, but I suspect this kind of thing’s already becoming blas&#233 in our jaded and media-saturated culture. Amid all the outrage expressed in the blogosphere, I’ve noticed a theme that needs correcting if we’re going to keep the right perspective. My blogging brethren often express their fury with epithets like “animals” and “subhuman scum” when they refer to the evil men who saw off captives’ heads in the name of a “merciful Allah.” It’s understandable to use those labels, but it’s not right because it lets these evil muslims off the hook for their actions.

We feel anger when we find out about these slaughters precisely because these evil men are more than just animals. They’re people, and that means they know better. When a cougar mauls a child, we hunt it down and kill it without much passion because it’s a dumb animal with no sense of morality. When men shoot fleeing children in the back or saw off the heads of helpless civilians, they earn our undying enmity because they know they’re committing evil.

For you left-leaning readers who feel uncomfortable with arguments based on right and wrong, think of this from a legal perspective. The Model Penal Code (which forms the basis for many states’ criminal codes) breaks down most crimes into four categories, asking whether the perpetrator committed the crime negligently, recklessly, knowingly, or purposefully. If a man fires a gun through a flimsy backstop in his backyard and the bullet accidentally kills his neighbor’s child, we’ll likely prosecute him for negligent homicide. But we hold him less culpable than the man who recklessly fires his gun into the air and kills the child playing in her yard two streets over. Worse still is the man who fires his rifle over a crowd of children, knowing he’ll probably kill someone. Worst of all is the man who fires a bullet into a fleeing child’s back for the purpose of killing her. Even our legal system emphasizes degrees of culpability and the importance of the perpetrator’s state of mind. It’s about as close to moral condemnation as our relativistic legal system ever gets.

I think the moral argument and our inherent sense of right and wrong provides the strongest foundation for holding these evil muslims responsible as people who consciously choose to do evil. You might find the legal approach more comfortable. Either way, intentions count for a lot.

From now on, I’m going to try extra hard not to understate the depths that these men have sunk to. I’m not going to call them animals or subhuman scum; these muslim death cultists are evil, and that’s why I’ll smile when they die violent and painful deaths.

I hope my fellow bloggers will do the same.