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If someone respects criminal's ability, is this ok?

For example, there is someone who respect Paul Joseph Goebbels's ability to incite the public. He knows that Goebbels is wrong, but thinks Goebbels's outstanding ability to brainwash deserves to be respected. How do you think about this, and why?

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  • Sep 11 2013: Of course you can respect someones particular skill,
    The link is often assumed that if a person admires a criminal's skill, they automatically admire the person
    That is of course false.
    Many dark figures in history were outstanding leaders and extremely talented speakers, sure, detest them for the crimes they did, but do not persecute one for respecting the certain individual's talent/s, that's just wrong.
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    Sep 11 2013: Hi Jong Ho Song,

    This is a great question! I will contribute with what I have found - hope this helps.

    Crime is defined by law. If there is no law there is no crime.

    SO your question is about law. And I will describe my ideas about law.

    In most communities, law is established. The wise recognise that things change, and a law that was good yesterday is bad today.

    This is not a simple thing - because things change at different rates - and if your law expects all things to be the same forever, it will fail.

    As change happens, the old laws become a thing to exploit for personal advantage. For instance, the current laws allow a tactic of legal-bleeding that permits the person with more money to exhaust the legal ability of an opponent regardless of justice - and law goes to the richest.

    I would say - just to begin - that law is a stupid way to define crime. Skill is skill - if it works now, it might work tomorrow, but maybe not.

    For instance. Right now, the best way to gain advantage is to defeat an advantaged person - you can do that with a gun or a knife. The risk is being detected by the police - the kill-dogs of law. But the kill dogs learn their power, and then they make laws on-the-spot to get whatever they want regardless of any written law. This is the only way that a legislative body can pay so little for their dogs. Policemen are always paid low pay because it is known that they will exploit their power. In that way .. the dogs are no more than wolves.

    Can you blame a wolf for being a wolf?

    We humans destroy the ecology - we remove the functions of that ecology by stealing the roles into our own species. Hence, wolves are replaced by muggers and thieves.

    If you were the planet .. ask yourself - what's best? A wolf .. or a human that does a wolfe's task?

    So far .. I think that humans make a poor copy of what the Earth made over millions of years.

    The criminal's ability is a matter of necessity. Is it OK?
    No it is not. We are not good at it.
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    Sep 10 2013: Yes, it is ok.
    An evil genius is stll a genius. If you take 'evil' out of the equation, use the abilities for non-criminal purposes, you still have a genius. Ted Kaczynski was a brilliant mathematician accepted to university at 17, I don't see why anybody should deny that. Recognising a criminal's abilities may and should be part of the rehabilitation process, it can help them get back to and serve society again.
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    Sep 10 2013: Hello Jong Ho Song, and welcome to TED conversations!

    Yes, I think it is beneficial to respect a person's skills and talents, and in doing so, we may be contributing to changing some criminal behaviors. Many of the incarcerated men I interacted with while volunteering with the dept. of corrections had various skills and talents that often can be used in a way that is beneficial to themselves and to society. If we can encourage them to use their abilities in a beneficial, legal way, they may have a chance to support themselves with something other than crime when they are free.
  • Sep 11 2013: "Respect" is some kind of subjective value. But I think it is quite hard to consider that respecting criminal's ability because it sounds strange a little bit to me. Of course, this problem depends on individual's thought. So there is not any strict standard to divide which is good or not (only laws exist). However, people mostly use a word "respect" in a positive way.
  • Sep 11 2013: Many people respect george bush, Duh Rumsfeld, Penile Cheney and their co-conspirators.
    and they respected those friends of P. J. Goebbel's enough to copy and use what they learned.
    that is one reason Doc Mengele was helped to escape. He was the only (sic) scientist who
    wrote down what he did and they wanted to learn from that. and they did, big time.
    "It's not torture if there is a doctor present and you don't intend on hurting the person, and
    we don't intend on hurting them with our water-boarding. By the way Fred, are you a doctor?
    No, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night. Well, that qualifies then. Good enough."
    People desire power and money, so they are influenced to achieve that by whatever means because those
    who have done so, used any means and continue to use any means to keep what they have and to
    build on it.
    Do you think for one moment that what the nazi's learned about brainwashing has not been used elsewhere since?
    Who has the means whereby to do that? Your average citizen?
    Billions of dollars are involved in sports betting. Do you think for one minute that those who stand to benefit enormously from these potential sums of $$$$ would risk their fortunes on chance like everyone else?
    No. They ensure that their money will win, which does mean that professional sports are all rigged.
    There is just too much money at stake.
    Once the Hunt brothers sat down at the global poker table with the new Saudi wealth, they stood to lose it all because the oil sheiks could lose and lose and eventually win because they had so much more money to play with. If you have it, you rig it or else, like the fool they would see you for, you will lose it.
    It's not criminality per se. It's smart, sensible and survival.
    To get rid of it (virtually all crime world-wide), get rid of the monetary system. Create a just system.
    The corrupt system/s we have can never be made just. We have to begin with just.
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    Sep 20 2013: Haha! I see that I slipped in my own definitions. Or rather that 'admire' can also be used in two ways.

    I can see no ethical objection to the rational observation and recognition of criminal skill. Indeed, I think this is necessary to combat it. This takes us into a third part of the semantic area covered by the word 'respect' - that of acknowledgement of a threat in order to deal with it. As in that it is wise for a sailor to 'respect' the sea and the wind.

    The only form of respect for criminal skill that is ethically objectionable is the type that would encourage it.
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    Sep 19 2013: This question serves to illustrate the two distinct meanings of the word 'respect'. One is to appreciate the quality of something, the other is to admire, support or approve of something. Under the first definition, there is nothing strange about admiring criminal skill.
    • Sep 20 2013: So you think there is no ethical problem?
  • Sep 13 2013: First, ask who is a criminal. Many have committed minor offences and got away with it (including me I stole an pencil and paper from work - am I a criminal?). Many offences committed by the rich and powerful are never brought to court, so convictions don't follow but are they criminals? 'Criminal' is not a helpful description of any person but could be used of a habitual offender who appears to be incorrigible, but without question it will not be the only description that will fit a person and his behaviour. People who have committed crimes can be as kind, educated, skilled or talented as anyone else and if these characteristics are used positively should be acknowledged and 'respected' as such. Goebbels chose to use his talents for bad ends but the same talents have been used by many through the ages to persuade by rational discussion and argument.
  • Sep 13 2013: admiration is ok, idolization is not.
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    Sep 12 2013: It is very unwise to have no respect for the striking power of a rattlesnake.
    • Sep 13 2013: right, those that study the methodology of a criminal most likely develop a respect for the accomplishment but also have an understanding on how to counter the actions as well.
  • Sep 12 2013: impressive skill is impressive. malevolent direction is deplorable.
  • Sep 11 2013: Sure it is.

    You can respect the ability and be appalled at the result.

    Hitler was a genius at RealPolitik. And he brought Germany into a new age of prosperity. His other actions were not so impressive though. Just as one example.
  • Sep 11 2013: The sad truth of it is that a person's morality, objective or ideology have very little to do with his or her abilities.
    In fact, many of the worst criminals throughout history have been talented people in their own fields.

    Competent and good/bad (in of itself a subjective truth) simply have nothing to do with one another.
  • Sep 11 2013: Always learn To be evil is another matter.
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    Sep 11 2013: Yes , there are so many examples like this if someone has a special special ability it can be used for both constructive and destructive purpose it truly depends on the individual. my favorite example is Frank William Abagnale who had the ability to find loophole in the system and exploited it his actions changed so many procedures in banks , airlines etc once he was caught he worked along FBI and caught other fraudsters using his ability which helped many law enforcement agencies, now he has a security consultancy agency where world famous banks come for his advice .
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    Sep 10 2013: admiring a monster does not make you a monster. only actions can make a monster.
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      Sep 10 2013: Hmm... But admiring a monster may make you a copycat if admiration is strong enough to incite action. That has happened often enough to coin the term 'copycat'.
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        Sep 10 2013: if you become a copycat of a monster, that is bad. but that does not make admiring the monster bad per se. one needs to know one's own weaknesses, and act accordingly. if the best way to avoid doing bad things is not to look at bad things, do just that. but that strategy does not carry over to another person with a different set of weaknesses.
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          Sep 12 2013: Agreed. We should differantiate between admiring a person's non-criminal abilty and a person's evil deeds. Respecting somebody's intelligence, ability, rhetoric or incredible culinary skills - ok. Admiring criminal activity - not good.
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    Sep 10 2013: Yes, you are entitled to respect it because you know you are just amazed by their ability. And actually some people can use their ability either to commit a crime or help to reveal and stop the crimes. For example , there're some extremely talented cheaters in playing cards during gambling, after they had cheated many people over their money, finally they found it's boring and decided to change to teach people how to look through the cheater's tricks. It's a true story I once saw on TV in China.So what's wrong with people's ability?it's people's soul that decides whether he wants to turn it into evil or helpful to others.