I find the recent news about Somali pirates to be... well, exciting. I think that rampant economic success is more positive than all the talk about bailing people out of their failed investments. There has always been a romanticism attached to pirates, and the news that pirates have captured the largest vessel ever seized... right here in my own time... I look forward with a mathematical interest as the scenario is played out in the headlines. The economics and game theory involved makes it an intriguing situation, and certain elements are, to say the least, more interesting than the typical news about corrupt politicians and suicide bombers.
I realize that piracy is a big inconvenience for some people, and I am not saying that I would really be a pirate. I think that making a living by striking fear and terror into the hearts of people who wish I had never come into their lives is (while oddly similar to being a math teacher) probably not what Jesus would want me to do. Yet from an academic standpoint, I find it exceedingly interesting.
Evidently the perfect combination of factors has come around again to give the world a high seas piracy problem that is not easily solved. The US Navy was established to fight pirates off the African coasts, was it not? And the legitimate world approached the problem by employing unsavory characters to fight the even less savory characters, and there were official boats and captains in the Queen's employ, and some of them were practically pirates themselves and it was such a rich subject of history because: the best laid plans of the world's strongest nations were at the mercy of a few renegades.
And perhaps it does go further than the academic perspective.
The pirates make us dream because they are rich as kings and free as birds, and we in proper society only have experience with poor birds and burdened kings.
And for that reason, I think that there is within the human soul something that loves a pirate. They stir our hearts and remind us of the things that we were created to desire, a freedom and a treasure that surpasses the 'cold comfort' that is offered to those who fall in line with this world's priorities.