A key reason we have the form of government we do is the founding fathers realized mobs are scary things. They can coalesce quickly. They can work themselves into a violent frenzy even more quickly. And they can be wrong.
Obviously, this is even more true today than at the time of our country's founding. The internet facilitates and emboldens mobs of all kinds.
I worry about mobs. They dispense vigilante justice, without a trial. Frequently, without all the facts or context. And, as often as not, even when they get a real "bad guy," the ex post facto punishment for which they clamor doesn't really fit the crime.
Mobs tend to get carried away. Whether its the BLM riots or January 6th or game 6 of a Stanley Cup playoff series, things typically escalate beyond the original plan and get out of hand.
Here is the mob I am worried about right now:
The Free World.
I am with you. In this case, we clearly do have a bad guy in Vladimir Putin. And we seemingly have enough information - there is no adequate reason for him to have invaded Ukraine. Certainly, not any of the reasons he gave. And there is no punishment too harsh for this thug.
But, here is the problem in this case. This thug can destroy the world.
Picture a bully picking on a defenseless kid. A group of good kids see it and intervene. Their righteous anger starts to have a life of its own. Everyone is anxious to take their turn at giving the bully a "little feedback" - like, right in the nose. Let's stipulate that he deserves it.
But, what if the bully has a gun?
As individuals and companies and countries line up to take their turn to kick Putin while he seems to be down, please remember that.
It may not be fair or just, but we only have three choices:
not piss him off (probably too late for that),
concoct a foolproof way to disarm him (unlikely), or
give him a way to save face.
We needed to stand up to him. In fact, we should have done more of that well ahead of the invasion. But, unfortunately, it seems the only feasible answer right now is to design a way for Putin to save face. And we have to do it before the momentum of the mob pushes him beyond the brink.
Otherwise, we will have stopped the defenseless kid from being picked on, but will have gotten him and everyone else killed in the process.
Frighteningly, western leaders are much less intelligent than they think they are - and that's not even counting the senile President and clueless Vice President of the United States. Fortunately, Joe is just a follower in this process (in spite of what he is claiming). But, even the European sophisticates naively thought a war like this would never happen again. They need to quickly take a crash course in understanding human nature, and they should use Vladimir Putin as their first case study.