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The reason why we think that the store clerk who defended himself against robbers and was fired for it got a raw deal (see the link here) is because the privilege of self-defense is derived from our (Western, Christian) conviction that we are worth something.

We are convinced we are worth something because Jesus Christ became man, and thus in a sense we were raised to the level of the divine. Around the eleventh century this gave rise to the creation of the doctrine of self-defense. Of course, many of us are now no longer Christians, but the idea lingers on.

Therefore, we think, that is, most of us think, that if a person exercises this privilege it is not right that he should be punished for it. It is a privilege, and it is has a centrality about it: it cannot be impinged upon without challenging that which we most deeply, indeed now even instinctively, feel.


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