Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Parable of the Dying Do-Gooder

The Parable of the Dying Do-Gooder

In a certain city there lived a man who always treated others better than himself. One day this man found himself in a conflict with another man, a bad man, in a dark alley. In the conflict, the bad man pulled a knife and was threatening to kill the good man and violate his wife. The good man, wanting to demonstrate his goodness, ran away home. When he arrived at home he was very pleased with himself and celebrated his goodness by saying, “O, how happy I am with myself for not being like that bad man. For I have never pulled a knife on anyone. I have never threatened a man’s life or willed to violate his wife for I am too good for such things. Why I am even too good to respond with violence to such threats, for I was armed with a gun when the bad man threatened with his knife. O what a good man am I.” That night the good man and his wife were awakend by a sound. When the good man went downstairs to see what the sound was he discovered that the bad man was there.

“I told you I would kill you and rape your wife you foolish man,” said the bad man. “You should have believe me and killed me when you had that gun with you.” The good man smiled and said, “Friend, I could not have killed you, for that would be to stoop down to your level and then you would have won. Far be it from me to allow that to happen. I cannot deny myself by compromising my principles.”

“Well that pleases me to no end,” said the bad man, as he stabbed the good man fifteen times. And as the good man lay dying, listening to his wife’s screams for help while the bad man made good his threats upon her body, the good man smiled, thinking to himself, “O what a good man I am for not surrendering my principles and stooping to his lev--.”

The dead man’s widow lived to have a different opinion of her husband.

The bad man lived happily ever after, life preying upon the goodness of fools like our dead—dumb ass—hero.


  1. Aside from a few hardcore pacifists, who really thinks like our "protagonist" in this story?

    I must ask: would it not in fact be more moral to first at least attempt to restrain the person until they could be arrested? There are nifty things like mace, tasers, etc along with other methods of rendering someone temporarily harmless without resorting to taking their life as an initial point of action, no?

    If those methods were unavailable,
    I don't see a dilemma here between preserving the life of the innocent and the unfortunate necessity of taking the life of someone who would murder them in cold blood.

    It's hardly something to revel in, however.

  2. This parable is a satirical metaphor for the way in which bleeding heart liberals approach counterterrorism.

  3. Bleeding heart liberals like the ICRC? ;)

  4. Steve,

    You might find this pertinent or interesting:

    I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on some of the questions posed at the end of the linked post.