“‘Unbounded’ morality ultimately becomes counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality.”
There’s a story about Robespierre that has the preeminent rabble-rouser of the French Revolution leaping up from his chair as soon as he saw a mob assembling outside.
“I must see which way the crowd is headed”, he is reputed to have said: “For I am their leader.”
People who exercise violence in the pursuit of what they hold to be just causes are alternately known as “terrorists” or “freedom fighters”.
They all share a few common characteristics:
A hard core of idealists adopt a cause (in most cases, the freedom of a group of people). They base their claims on history – real or hastily concocted, on a common heritage, on a language shared by the members of the group and, most important, on hate and contempt directed at an “enemy”. The latter is, almost invariably, the physical or cultural occupier of...