July 3, 2009

Walking the Plank

The historical tradition of walking the plank actually has a unique sense of morality doesn't it? It's not murder in a strict letter of the law sense. It's a self-inflicted punishment. You simply have no choice whether or not to enter into it. Pirates traditionally believed their ships to be sovereign vessels under the rule of no country or man. But they willingly submitted themselves to their ship's captain and the code of the ship. They took it seriously. Stealing from others was ok. But, all stolen booty must be shared among your fellow shipmates at the penalty of death. There were "good" pirates. It's only if you believe in a different set of ethics that you view pirates in the barbarous sense that you do. In terms of avoiding hypocrisy, many pirates lead the way. It's fascinating, and makes you wonder if in God's eyes, we're simply "good" pirates. Decent people only in comparison to the rest of the lot. It's worth noting that in those days, if a King ever caught a pirate ship, he had no respect for their claimed sovereignty and held them guilty according to his laws.