Monday, December 05, 2011
Sam Harris on Violence and Self Defense
Sam Harris has recently posted one of the finest pieces on self defense I've read in a very long time. There's no nonsense in it at all -- it's clear-headed and focused exactly on what is fundamental.
As he points out, one is justified in using deadly force when an enemy has signaled a threat, has the ability to carry it out, and has the opportunity... and one doesn't have a lower cost means of resolving the situation. Harris also does a nice job of explaining why neither non-resistance nor tough-guy approaches make sense. And he makes clear something I've pointed out before -- the job of the police is not to protect citizens from attack in progress, it's to investigate the aftermath.
I had just started reading Harris' The Moral Landscape, and wondered whether he had any of his thinking on ethics on his website. Finding this one is like finding a gold nugget.