This whole business of European countries or the EU or the US or the West as a whole, including well-meaning NGOs, criticizing, even condemning other countries on matters that concern their domestic affairs is in fact part of the whole fabric of what John Mearsheimer and others call liberal hegemonism, a form of imperialism, at the very top of which is concern with democracy and human rights and going all the way down to whaling and eating sharks' fin to LGBT rights.  Atlantic cod and haddock have been fished to near extinction, but there is no talk of banning the fishing of them, only of sustainable fishing, because Europeans and Americans enjoy cod and haddock.  But whale meat most don't eat except perhaps for Norwegians and Icelanders, unless they continue whaling only for the Japanese market.  In the case of sharks' fin, it is of course extraordinarily cruel to cut off the fins and dump the rest of the sharks into the ocean, but who among Chinese or other Asian fishermen would do that?  Chinese fishermen in particular would not waste any part of a catch.  If there are scoundrels after fast money who harvest only the fins, that's a different matter.

The problem in fact has very deep roots.  When the Greeks invented philosophy, they also invented the idea of apodeictic certainty.  When you are convinced that you've got the truth with finality, you are intolerant of alternative views.  Neither Plato nor Aristotle pretended to have attained insuperable understanding, but others with less adventurous imagination sometimes have no doubt they've got direct revelations from God or something akin to that.  Then we have Jesus' teaching of the universal fellowship of humanity and the missionary zeal of the Christians, many of whom not only want others to hear the Good News too, but have persuaded themselves that they've got the truth and God is on their side, so that all others worship false gods and really ought to convert.  Of course, there was a time early in its history when Buddhists also exhibited that zeal, which, however, has long since dissipated.  So when it comes to religions, we have mostly only the two Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam, contending for the championship of intolerance, though it is true the Hindutva of the BJP and the power behind its throne, RSS, is also distinctly intolerant of Islam and Christianity within Indian borders.  But the intolerance of Hindutva seems primarily politically, not doctrinally, motivated.  In any case, Western intolerance of other countries and peoples' not behaving nor believing as we do won't go away soon.

What the pretenders to insuperable wisdom forget is Jesus' saying about seeing the mote in other's eyes, but not the beam in one's own, and they also fail to see that forcing others to believe and behave as we do in fact contravenes the principle of freedom or self-determiination, which is really the bedrock of Western beliefs, showing that they really don't even quite understand their own beliefs.

Yen-Ling Chang

-----Original Message-----
From: "William D. 'Will' O'Neil" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Jul 7, 2018 8:00 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [NBR's_Japan_Forum] Criticisms by EU countries on the executions of Aum Shinrikyo convicts

I've been seeking for more than half a century, first in California and more recently in Virginia, to secure the abolition of the death penalty. What counts of course is not the polls but the legislators and in talking to them I continue to hear that it is not an issue where they feel they have much electoral support, regardless of personal views. There are ardent opponents but also ardent supporters, with the majority is mildly in favor of of the death penalty. (This does vary, of course, with constituency.) News of exoneration of the condemned by good evidence swings the opinion somewhat against, but news of any notorious crime swings it back the other way. The death penalty has been suspended more than once by executive or judicial (i.e., elite) action, but legislators always feel popular pressure to restore it. For better or for worse, legislators in the nearly unique US system are more sensitive to vox populi than in parliamentary systems.

Everyone who reads this list is assuredly a member of the political elite, but it behooves us to try to understand the shadings of popular opinion.

William D. O'Neil
 

On 7/7/2018 1:47 PM, Todd Kreider wrote:
[log in to unmask]">


 William D. O'Neil  wrote:

"In the US polls show that the death penalty for those who commit notorious crimes is broadly popular, while elites generally oppose it. So far as I have seen much the same is true in the EU as well."
 
---------------------------------------------------

I wouldn't say that the death penalty is broadly popular for those who commit notorious crimes in the U.S. In the 1990s, support for the death penalty, always for murder, was at a high of 80 percent, the same as Japan. But for various reasons, including discovering through DNA testing that many who were innocent of the crime were executed or on death row, American support dropped over the years to 50 percent in 2016 (up to 55 percent this year.) A recent survey shows that 80 percent of Japanese support the death penalty; however, a Cabinet Office survey found in 2014 that 34 percent "staunchly support" the death penalty.

Todd Kreider

The Japan Times


----------------------------------------------------



In the US polls show that the death penalty for those who commit notorious crimes is broadly popular, while elites generally oppose it. So far as I have seen much the same is true in the EU as well. It's all related to the very difficult issue of how best to further reduce the incidence of violence within our species.

I am willing to be proven wrong, but I imagine that there is no broad popular protest in the EU against the executions. The interesting question is how it serves elite purposes to rail against executions of terrorists in Japan. Much of it, I suppose, is that projecting outrage against so distant a nation, with a culture perceived to be "foreign," is an easy and safe way to proclaim and build one's identification with the chosen elite group. In any event I would suggest that Japanese have issues of much greater and more immediate concern.

William D. O'Neil

On 7/6/2018 8:13 PM, Minoru Mochizuki wrote:

Seven out of 13 condemned convicts from the religious-violence group, Aum, were executed yesterday, according to various reports (e.g., Nikkei 7/7/2018).. The remaining six convicts will be executed in the near future. There were three incidents caused by Aum as intentional attacks on the Japanese society which 29 people were killed and several thousands were wounded as well by the group, while there were also few members of Aum killed by it according to their rules. As much as I can understand as a layman, Aum, particularly its leader, Mr. Asahara, believed that the society is sick and needs to be corrected and the corrective action has to be violent. Aum group was fairly well organized, having established its headquarters on the foothill of Mt. Fuji, and produced such deadly gasses like Sarin and VX with the help of its well-educated chemists. In fact, Aum had many college and graduate-level scientists and engineers among the believers. The group established its own shadow cabinet and para-military organization in preparation to take over the existing government.

 

Thus I accept the execution as something necessary for the existing government to do as a self-defense measure. That has nothing to do with the fact that I may have complaints on the existing government and the incumbent ruling political party.

 

On the other hand, I cannot agree with the strong criticisms on the execution expressed by EU countries, such as Germany, as well as other international societies such as Amnesty International (headquartered in London), criticizing the decision of the Japanese government the seemingly on two grounds: (1) death penalty is not effective on the prevention of crimes; and (2) death penalty is an inhumane and cruel punishment.

 

In my view, such executions based on laws are much more justifiable than wars between nations. If EU and a peacenik society want to be humanistic, they should criticize wars between nations, or military interventions in other nations first. EU nations, e.g., UK, France, Germany and most other EU member nations, if not all, have some forms of military powers and are ready to kill people of other nations at the first sign of aggressions. Moreover, they sent their aircrafts, ships and tanks to other nations in order to enforce “humanism” in other nations, e.g., Iraq and Syria. Isn’t that a double standard or irrational, just like their criticism on Japan’s whaling? They obviously believe killing chicken or pigs or beef cows are OK, simply because their religious beliefs approve them.

 

Minoru Mochizuki

 

 



To unsubscribe from the list, send an email to: [log in to unmask]

--


William D. O'Neil
Author • Defense consultant
[log in to unmask]
1.703.256.4146
http://www.analysis.williamdoneil.com/
Blog: http://www.blog.williamdoneil.com/



To unsubscribe from the list, send an email to: [log in to unmask]


To unsubscribe from the list, send an email to: [log in to unmask]

--


William D. O'Neil
Author • Defense consultant
[log in to unmask]
1.703.256.4146
http://www.analysis.williamdoneil.com/
Blog: http://www.blog.williamdoneil.com/



To unsubscribe from the list, send an email to: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>


To unsubscribe from the list, send an email to: [log in to unmask]