Essay #3 November 25th 2011
Word Count: 1304
The Morally Blasphemous
In the following essay, I will argue that modern day suicide bombers are not morally blameless by Camus’s standards. To be morally blameless in Camus’s terms, modern day suicide bombers must absolutely meet two vital criteria. For suicide bombers to be morally blameless, Camus stresses that these terrorists must have a just cause, and secondly meet the qualifications of proportional atonement. Since some suicide bombers have a just cause, but all do not meet the criteria of proportional atonement, they are therefore considered not to be morally blameless by Camus’s standards. In the following paragraphs, I will lay out the framework and foundations to explain why the majority of suicide bombers do not meet the criteria for proportional atonement. Secondly I will attempt to demonstrate how some of the terrorism committed by these people, may be in the name of justice but then again look at fluent counter arguments that point out that suicide bombers are breaking one of Camus’s important deontological constraints. Proportional atonement for Camus is the ability for any terrorist, and in this case Kaliayev, to reflect on his actions after having committed the act of violence against the Grand Duke. The terrorist or suicide bomber must then have the courage to pay the ultimate price with their own life. In Kaliayev’s case, this means to refuse any form of acquittal and to suffer the punishment. For Camus, paying with one’s life is the highest price an individual can pay. Therefore a terrorist willing to go through with his or her plan must understand that by doing so, he or she is acting under the pretenses that they are giving up everything. Those who provide an argument in saying that terrorists do pay a proportional...
Cited: Camus, Albert, and Stuart Gilbert. Caligula & Three Other Plays. New York: Random House, 1958. Print.
Merari, Ariel. Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
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