Murder and armed robbery are morally wrong, period.
So one cannot commend or admire the Somali pirates who hijack
passing supertankers and hold them to ransom.
Yet neither can one deny the enterprise of people who, living
in extreme poverty but watching the wealth of the world float past their coast,
decide not to sit waiting for help that never comes.
Neither can one deny that they run a sharp operation.
Weapons and speedboats are cheap. They also hold their own lives cheap, so they
have little to lose but much to gain. The potential rewards are enormous and
the risk is reduced by the amazing fact that most of the valuable target ships
are unarmed. The pirates are also professional in that they usually honour the
deal once a ransom is agreed.
Certainly they show more business sense than shipowners who
end up paying a seven figure ransom because they fail to spend a few thousand
dollars on a gun locker with a couple of automatic rifles.
It is testament to the growing insanity of our legal system
that it seems that they are worried about the potential litigation that might
result from shooting a pirate!
It seems that murder and armed robbery are wrong morally but
not necessarily legally.
Meanwhile, there are two lessons to be learned from the
The first is that human enterprise is a wonderfully powerful
force, unstoppable even in the most adverse circumstances.
The second is that where that force of enterprise cannot
find a legal outlet, it will inevitably be directed into illegal activities.
Governments of all types – not just of failed states like
Somalia – should bear that in mind before prohibiting or over-regulating honest