We live in a vindictive world. When retired superintendent Frankly Chu was jailed for three months for hitting a bystander during the Occupy protests, the anti-government crowds demanded he lose his multimillion-dollar pension despite a lifetime of public service. Now that University of Hong Kong legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting and lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun have been convicted and jailed for their roles in the 2014 protests, the conservative pro-government forces in and outside of the legislature are demanding both lose their jobs. Enough is enough! These are testing times for our conscience and intellect. Let justice administered by an impartial court take its course. The rest of us, however much we disagree with and despise each other, should try not to contribute more to this terrible mess we have made ourselves. I am no fan of Tai or Shiu. For a smart guy, Tai must be the most politically naive and misguided man I have met; and I blame him for helping to initiate a movement that has done more harm than good to Hong Kong and the rest of China. Will Occupy pair Benny Tai and Shiu Ka-chun keep jobs after being jailed? But I don’t doubt his sincere commitment to his ideals. Should Tai lose his university job? Absolutely not – on practical, pedagogical and legal grounds. It appears whatever procedures and protocol there are at the University of Hong Kong, it’s a matter of discretion from senior management whether or not to initiate a disciplinary inquiry that could lead to his being fired. Tai has done enough damage by himself; targeting him now will just make him a cause celebre for the “yellow ribbon” crowds and their foreign cheerleaders. And it is also guaranteed to galvanise the radical localist student body. Tai himself, what he teaches and advocates, is a supreme teachable moment for our young people – about political means and ends; the nobility of belief and its unintended consequences; violent and peaceful dissent; and contempt and generosity. They are what German philosopher Max Weber – someone Tai is well-versed in – calls the eternal tragic struggle between the ethics of responsibility and the ethics of absolute ends, in his classic lecture, “Politics as a vocation”. These are no mere academic distinctions, but real-life descriptions not only of warring camps, but of the internal struggle in the mind and heart of a single person. Tai may yet become a better teacher of youth after serving his sentence. Just please, no more Occupy and such likes. HKU, don’t fire him; promote him instead.