When you enforce the law, you look like an insane puppet. But in the end, others are relieved that you did so, which required that you are not afraid to be a fool.
Because you have been a vacillating hypocrite in the past, that is no reason to continue to be a vacillating hypocrite in the future. To say "Well, I've let the pain infliction continue for years--why do something to stop it now?" does not follow. "Well, I've caused my own share of pain, so I shan't stop this."
Many alien races may not have contacted us. The airwaves are weirdly silent. Why? Perhaps, quite plausibly, because they got to a certain point of development and blew themselves to kingdom come. How did they do that? Through weapons of mass destruction. How did they get used? By flouting whatever flimsy international laws--laws that begin to acknowledge that the alien race in question consists of members of a species--they had put in place. Such as, for instance, the condition of possibility for international law on Earth, which is the law against the use of chemical weapons.
The law that begins the saying that humans are humans--in however distorted and ineffective a form--says, pretty much in the first few breaths, that chemical weapons not be used on other humans.
This is a terribly interesting law from an ecological point of view, because one ecological task is to realize that I am not strictly myself, but an unconscious actor in a gigantic, emergent being--a hyperobject--called the human "species."