The World Was Wide Enough is a famous and remarkable hip-hop song by Lin Manuel Miranda, which raises the question of whether killing is a socially justifiable choice to quell a conflict. The techniques that people utilize to resolve imminent disagreements remain a question of controversy for scholars since time immemorial. Despite scholars from different social, political, and religious backgrounds providing differing views over the justifications of killing someone over disagreements, moral viewpoints stand a better chance to rationalize whether culling an individual is indeed the best option. In the song, the death-end shootout duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that led to Hamilton’s dead left scars of regrets, sorrow, and pains in the hearts of not only the villain but also the society.
Killing a political opponent is an immoral act that leaves irreversible pain in the hearts of society. Ideally, people in society usually lend their immense hope to benevolent political figures who listen and address their needs. The differing political opinions and influences are eminent in the political sphere. However, such differences should be addressed using conventional means rather than choosing choices that can cause more harm to society and doer than good. As such, when Burr shot and killed Hamilton, the society was engulfed in grief and pain for losing their beloved political leader compared to the villain’s personal gains (Neu 9). Notably, in the song, Miranda says wailing engulfed the streets immediately after society realized that Burr had murdered Hamilton to demonstrate that the deceased’s death left unimaginable pains in the minds and hearts of societal members. Hence, Burr’s choice of murdering Hamilton to gain political superiority is unjustifiable, wrong, and immoral to the society since the act resulted in more harm than good. Thus, choosing to kill someone is unjustifiable, immoral, and wrong since the act causes much harm to society.
Additionally, using death to quell a political wrangle is ideally wrong since the act ruins the doer’s reputation politically. Burr’s decision to kill Hamilton was premised on wrong, unrealistic, and harmful choices that resulted in self-harm in his political career. Natural justice began working towards the fall of Burr from the political sphere. If the political Burr’s political rival and hindrance to his political success had died, he would have become the most influential and powerful politician in American history (Neu 16). However, what Burr forgot to comprehend and prioritize was that social values welcome the social value of going unto others the way you expect others to do unto you. He thought that the wrongs belonged to others while good deeds should be preserved for him. However, the societal speculations of his murder commenced to fade his political reputation and influence in society, which later resulted in the burial of his political career. Notably, Burr’s supporters dissociated themselves from him and lost trust his trust, which necessitated his political failure. If he had applied conventional techniques to increase his political fame, such as seeking advice from his rival, he would not have encountered his political downfall. Hence, killing a competitor is the wrong choice, as the move can license the villain’s failure in life.
More so, murdering an opponent to immunize one from political competition is unjustifiable because the act causes regrets, pain, and suffering to the villain. Burr never analyzed keenly the consequences of his actions before he recommended a duel shootout contest with his political rival, Hamilton. His single-minded end of attaining political superiority in the aftermath of a dead shootout brainwashed him from envisioning the entire picture that his actions would cost him. The question as to why Burr felt sad rather than joyous upon murdering Hamilton paints a clear-cut picture that killing is against personal conscience, moral values, and natural laws. Feelings of guilt, sorrow, and regrets that engulfed Burr’s mind after committing a heinous act against his political competitor is just a realization that killing violates the natural laws that forbid ending a person’s life (Agrawal et al. 2). For instance, in the song, Burr says that he is painted by his mistakes of killing Hamilton. Burr would not have gone through the unending pains if he had approached his political competitor as a role model p who motivated him to advance his political career.
Furthermore, terminating someone’s life is an unjustifiable approach to resolving disagreements because the move violates the innate human trait of empathy towards others. Hamilton was a champion of empathy because he refused to challenge his opponent in the shootout duel (Bartelds et al. 531). Having an empathetic, loving, and selfless heart are key values that might have influenced Hamilton to withdraw from shooting his political competitor, Burr. Hamilton had equal chances like his opponent Burr in a deadly shootout contest, but his prioritization of love against killing might have contributed to his restraint from shooting his rival. For example, in the song, Burr recounts that he is pained by the fact that his competitor shot in the air to denote significant differences in values that each individual cherishes. While Hamilton is remorseful towards Burr, Burr is selfish, callous, and determined to end his opponent’s life. However, Burr’s innate social values of empathy trigger his conscience after irreversibly killing his political competitor. Burr is pained for not realizing that his actions were less empathetic upon murdering his rival.
However, the killing can be justified in the song because Hamilton had concise knowledge of the duel’s aftermath, and the end game was that one of the two competitors must die for the other to survive. The nature of the killing depicted in the song is valid since the two contestants willingly agreed to participate and comprehended the rules of the death duel (Garrant 4). Hamilton’s death would have been unjustifiable if one of the parties had been coerced to participate. In contrast, Burr’s motive of choosing a shootout competition, regardless of having other options, such as voting and changing his political tact in influencing the masses, infers that he wanted to end his competitor’s life to attain political superiority. As such, comparing the consequences of losing a life over attaining political power makes Burr’s action of choosing a shootout competition immoral, unjustifiable, and unlawful.
Conclusively, killing of any nature to resolve conflicts is indefensible across social, political, and religious lenses. Burr’s reasons for terminating his political competitor’s life through a shootout duel are immoral, unlawful, and unjustifiable since a person’s life is incomparable to a political position. Life is priceless, while a political position has a net worth. Besides, when lost, a life is irreversible and can be lost and reacquired. As such, Burr’s actions to kill his rival in a death duel are unjustifiable because the move resulted in much pain, suffering, and regret not only for the villain but also for society. The society lost a prominent individual who would have led them to a better future. Hence, individuals should seek conventional methods of resolving misunderstandings rather than killing people who compete with them.
Agrawal, Mayank, et al. “Scaling up Psychology via Scientific Regret Minimization .”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117, no. 16, Apr. 2020, pp. 8825–35. pans. Org (Atypon), https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915841117.
Bartelds, Hanneke, et al. “Students’ and Teachers’ Beliefs about Historical Empathy in Secondary History Education.” Theory & Research in Social Education, vol. 48, no. 4, Oct. 2020, pp. 529–51. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, https://doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2020.1808131.
Garrant, Lindsey. The Review: A Journal of Undergraduate Student Research at Fisher | St. John Fisher University. 2018, https://fisherpub.sjf.edu/ur/.
Neu, Jessica. “An Ethical Revelation of the American Revolution: An Analysis of Communication Ethics and Hypertextuality in the Musical Hamilton.” Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal, vol. 45, no. 1, July 2022, https://doi.org/10.56816/2471-0032.1141.