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I learned from Ayn Rand that one only defends oneself, not initiates attacks on others. There is no evidence that Iran has actually attacked the US as a matter of State policy. Until they do, we should restrict ourselves to reasoning with them.

What Ayn Rand taught you is correct, and in general that principle holds. However, the individual and the state are two different contexts and what constitutes the initiaiton of force from another nation are very different things. She did not in any way suggest that we should wait until states "attack" us as a matter of "State policy." Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. As such, it has already initiated.

You would do well to maybe look at what Rand had to say specifically on the topic of foreign policy and what organizations such at the Ayn Rand Institute are saying on the same topics now. You would find yourself in error.

<a href="http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5207&news_iv_ctrl=1021" target="_blank">http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...ws_iv_ctrl=1021</a>

<a href="http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15153&news_iv_ctrl=1063" target="_blank">http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...ws_iv_ctrl=1063</a>

That second link specifically deals with the topic of "reasoning" with Iran.

Edited by KendallJ

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The question of to what extent the United States should guarantee the safety of its citizens overseas is complicated, particularly because we live in a mixed economy.

For me, the issue is complicated since defense is funded through mandatory taxation. Thus, if any U.S. citizen wishes to pursue a perilous venture overseas, he would be doing so at taxpayer risk if the U.S. is to defend him. Given a quasi-Capitalist states whose defense is still funded through mandatory taxation and given that this country lives in a world with many other states whose governments may not effectively secure individual rights, there would most likely be a list of foreign countries where the quasi-Capitalist government will guarantee your freedoms and ones where it will not. Needless to say, to determine which nations are in the former category and which are in the latter would be non-trivial.

That being said, I think it is very dangerous to allow crimes against U.S. citizens who are outside of U.S. territory to be committed with impunity. Individuals have natural rights regardless of their geographic location.

Sure, secure individual rights. For example, the taking of an American hostage overseas, or a similiar life-threatening event that would be internationally condemned would present a valid case for a government acting on behalf of the citizen. However, a company that is operating in a country and then is nationalized? Give me a break. There is no reason why the government should act on behalf of a company on the basis that the company's property rights were violated on foreign soil. The company made a poor investment choice.

Sure, and I'll second Darkwaters' response about protecting property rights overseas. But the point is that there was that the USA was acting within its rights to do so - and you cannot say that Iran is absolved of any of the responsibility for murdering our citizens. Thus, the response to said murder is not effected by any consideration of the propriety of acting to defend property rights. As I said above, it is a separate and unrelated question to the question of what we ought to do to retaliate.

And I submit to you that when British Petroleum (the company operating in Iran) was nationalized, there should have been no retaliation on the part of the British government. I'm sure we could spar over this point, but that isn't even the crucial point. Let's assume that a country is justified in protecting its own industries property rights in a foreign country. Understand that there was no United States company in Iran which had its property rights violated; it was a British company. The fact is that the British invited the US to participate and the US did, and this is absolutely ridiculous. Operation Ajax, as it was called, was a disgraceful foreign policy mistake on the part of the United States. Truman saw this, but when Eisenhower took office the British again invited us to participate and Eisenhower conceeded.

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Sure, secure individual rights. For example, the taking of an American hostage overseas, or a similiar life-threatening event that would be internationally condemned would present a valid case for a government acting on behalf of the citizen. However, a company that is operating in a country and then is nationalized? Give me a break. There is no reason why the government should act on behalf of a company on the basis that the company's property rights were violated on foreign soil. The company made a poor investment choice.

That is an equivocation on the concept of rights. Property rights derive from individual rights. To allow them to be violated is not much different. When we start thinking about rights, only in the limited sense as they apply to our persons, we already corrupt the concept and begin the capitulation...

Whether our country should defend against such violations is an interesting debate. You do agree however, that this is an examle of rights violations (not of poor investing) and that had it not be allowed to happen across the globe, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today with most support of terrorism coming from excess oil revenues.

Or are you trying to minimze the crime committed against these companies?

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There is no reason why the government should act on behalf of a company on the basis that the company's property rights were violated on foreign soil.
There is. The function of government is to protect rights, especially of its citizens. When in a civilized foreign country, an American's rights would be protected by that country's government, thus your rights in Japan, France, Germany etc. will be protected by those government. When those rights are egregiously violated in a foreign country and especially when the violation is by the very agent who is supposed to protect those rights -- the Iranian government in this case -- there is a very clear reason having to do with the very reason for government.
The company made a poor investment choice.
That same reasoning would say that a store should not open in a high-crime neighborhood and the police should not protect a store-owner in a high-crime area, because that is a "poor investment choice". In fact, men have the right to open businesses and engage in free trade anywhere they want, and that right is not cancelled by the fact that criminals are known to operate in that area.

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1. What makes you think that a group confident in Allah's protection values their life in the first place? In other words, why would individuals willing to kill themselves care about your show of force in Iran?

For the same reason why the Japanese stopped fighting after their homeland was hit with two atomic bombs. There will be those who will not be persuaded, but there will be many others who will recognize that waging war in the name of Islam will not achieve anything other than ignominious defeat. Needless to say, the war against militant Islam will not end with the capitulation of the Iranian theocracy. It would nevertheless be a step in the right direction.

Our troops joined specifically to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.

This sounds like a Libertarian fantasy. I am confident that young people volunteer for the military for a wide variety of reasons, not because they are all strict constitutionalists.

Although it is horrendous to send a volunteer army to fight an altruistic war, such practice has unfortunately been an integral part of the United States foreign policy since the Roosevelt Corollary. I do not see why it is a violation of rights.

Edited by DarkWaters

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That is an equivocation on the concept of rights. Property rights derive from individual rights. To allow them to be violated is not much different. When we start thinking about rights, only in the limited sense as they apply to our persons, we already corrupt the concept and begin the capitulation...

There is no concept of rights in such irrational countries/economies. Even less important is a derivation from the concept of individual rights.

Whether our country should defend against such violations is an interesting debate. You do agree however, that this is an examle of rights violations (not of poor investing) and that had it not be allowed to happen across the globe, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today with most support of terrorism coming from excess oil revenues.

Or are you trying to minimze the crime committed against these companies?

Absolutely not. I most definitely agree that this is an example of rights violations and a criminal act. And furthermore, I agree that if this had not been allowed to happen, terrorism would indeed have less support from oil revenue. Now, where I differ from you is that I believe that there is no single government, person, or company that could stop the nationalization of oil from happening, without that entity incurring adverse undesirable effects. Understand that the mess we are in today does not come from excess oil revenue. It comes from ideological beliefs and irrational thinking on the part of individuals in charge of countries other than ours. There is no method of imposing the correct ideas on any government or individual. The best one can hope for is that eventually, rationality will prevail and the incorrect party will fix its ideas. Until this happens, there can and will not be any way of dealing rationally with the incorrect party. So, to any company looking to profit in the immediate moment by partnering with such irrational people: Do so at your own risk, and understand that your property, whether intellectual or physical, will not be protected by law.

That same reasoning would say that a store should not open in a high-crime neighborhood and the police should not protect a store-owner in a high-crime area, because that is a "poor investment choice". In fact, men have the right to open businesses and engage in free trade anywhere they want, and that right is not cancelled by the fact that criminals are known to operate in that area.

This example is dissimiliar because in any high-crime neighborhood in the United States, the concepts of individual rights and property rights are still clearly defined and enforced by law. This is not the case in a foreign country which is ideologically opposed to the concept of property rights.

You reminded me of an experience I have had that seems relevant so I am going to share with you...

I used to be a General Manager for a large Domino's Pizza franchise in Washington, D.C. The first store that I managed was in the Southeast neighborhood of D.C, historically known as one of the worst neighborhoods in the country. I was offered a large amount of money to accept this position, with the promise of being promoted to a store downtown near the White House within 2-3 months, a position which would earn upwards of 120k a year. I was 18 years old with not too much too lose I suppose, so I took it. But believe me, every day when I drove into work I accepted the fact that I was putting my life in danger and that there was nobody who would look out for me except for me. All of my drivers carried guns in their cars, and I carried one as well at all times.

Now, I recognized that there was not any semblence of rationality when working in this area. The only thing one can plan for is the immediate moment, with absolutely no concern beyond that. Somebody did break into my store late one night and another night we were robbed.

Now, of course, we are in the United States so we were protected under the law, which makes this differ from an area where you are not granted any right to your own property. But the point is, when working in such an area, it is you who must conform to the way things operate around you. And you will conform quickly, regardless of what you believe is rational. What is rational or proper does not matter. You cannot deal with irrational people by using rationality and you will not be able to change the way that an irrational being thinks. Before you begin your business venture in such an area, you must accept these facts and weigh them as risks.

My problem with a government interceding on behalf of a company which has its property rights violated in a country that doesn't respect property rights, is that the solution will be a quick fix and will also have adverse effects on the interceding government. This is because there is no way to deal with the real problem, which lies beyond the realm of economics or politics, and in the realm of ideas.

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I'm much more fearful of a car accident, my wife getting raped, or an armed robbery than of Iran.

That's because we have a military that's strong enough to keep out states that would enslave and kill Americans in mass. You're as safe as you are, because we are willing to defend ourselves to a certain degree, even if we aren't finishing the job. Still, 911 proved that we aren't as safe as we ought to be so long as these Islamacists roam the earth.

And, if you look at Europe in particular, you can see what happens when you don’t stand up to them. They are slowly taking over there, and that will happen here if we don’t stand up to them.

But there is another point, the fact is rape and armed robbery are police matters and are decoupled from military matters. I mean, if you live in Miami you may be more fearful of hurricanes, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned with national defense and doing the job right.

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This example is dissimiliar because in any high-crime neighborhood in the United States, the concepts of individual rights and property rights are still clearly defined and enforced by law. This is not the case in a foreign country which is ideologically opposed to the concept of property rights.
The concept of individual and property rights is still well-defined in totalitarian regimes, it simply isn't respected -- just as crooks in bad neighborhoods don't respect the rights of property owners. That is one of the reasons why it is right to send in police or soldiers to protect rights, in bad neighborhoods or countries.

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The concept of individual and property rights is still well-defined in totalitarian regimes, it simply isn't respected -- just as crooks in bad neighborhoods don't respect the rights of property owners. That is one of the reasons why it is right to send in police or soldiers to protect rights, in bad neighborhoods or countries.

Not only are individual and property rights not respected in these types of regimes, but they are actually held as concepts that are morally incorrect and invalid. If it was simply a case of disrespecting what is an idea that is seen as just and moral, as is the case of a criminal here in the United States, then it is just and right to send police in to protect either a.) an individual, or b.) an individual's property. However, it is not right to send in soldiers to protect an individual's property in a society that does not sanction or recognize the right of individuals to own property.

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However, it is not right to send in soldiers to protect an individual's property in a society that does not sanction or recognize the right of individuals to own property.
Why? Are you presuming that rights are only valid in a rights-respecting country, so North Koreans don't have a right to their own life because they live in a dictatorship? Presumably you just made a typing error when you italicized the word "property".

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However, it is not right to send in soldiers to protect an individual's property in a society that does not sanction or recognize the right of individuals to own property.

Not right by what standard?

Natural rights, including property rights, exist everywhere no matter what cultural norms are, no matter what the established law or religion of a region is and no matter what anyone thinks or feels.

Just because a dictator has a lot of military might to enforce his whims does not mean that his victims do not have rights. The rights of his victims are just tragically not protected.

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Why? Are you presuming that rights are only valid in a rights-respecting country, so North Koreans don't have a right to their own life because they live in a dictatorship? Presumably you just made a typing error when you italicized the word "property".

The right to own property is only valid in a country that sanctions the right to own property.

Now, one can choose to invest in property in a country that does not recognize property rights, but he must do so with the full acceptance that his property can and most likely will be taken from him at any given time, by any given person, and for any given reason.

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Oops. Sorry, didn't see your post before I responded to the other one.

Not right by what standard?

Natural rights, including property rights, exist everywhere no matter what cultural norms are, no matter what the established law or religion of a region is and no matter what anyone thinks or feels.

This is an incorrect statement because there are not property rights everywhere. There are no property rights in a numerous amount of countries. That is what we are discussing.

Just because a dictator has a lot of military might to enforce his whims does not mean that his victims do not have rights. The rights of his victims are just tragically not protected.

This is my point. There is no protection of any rights whatsoever. So, if you choose to do business there, you are doing so with the risk that your property can be taken from you and that you will be left with no legal claim on your former possessions.

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Well, Objectivism holds that an individual has rights, which themselves are objective, even if he lives in a region where they are not protected or legally recognized. If you want elaboration on this, I recommend reading Ayn Rand's essay Man's Rights as well as her essay The Nature of Government. Both essays are in The Virtue of Selfishness.

Please understand that this is a forum for individuals to discuss issues using Objectivist principles. This is not a Libertarian or a general purpose messageboard. Of course, you are welcome to politely disagree or request clarification. However, please note that this is not the appropriate thread to debate such a fundamental issue. If you wish to dispute this, you are welcome to do so in the "debate" subforum.

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The right to own property is only valid in a country that sanctions the right to own property.
That's a pretty fundamental repudiation of the concept "natural rights". However, it does explain a lot about your argument. But then surely you must recognise that, as a legal entity, the US has a right to use whatever means required to recover stolen property.

[forgot to mention...]

Now, one can choose to invest in property in a country that does not recognize property rights, but he must do so with the full acceptance that his property can and most likely will be taken from him at any given time, by any given person, and for any given reason.
Not necessarily. The US government might, for example, send troops or agents to the offending country to secure the rights of those who have had thrie rights violated. As in the case of Iran, for example. I do think businesses recognise that there is a risk that our government will not in fact fulfill its obligation to protect rights, but that's a separate matter, just as it's a separate matter that the police may decide it's not worth their time to go after petty criminals (even though it's their job). Edited by DavidOdden

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Inspector,

1. We've hit a dead end on the topic of retaliation, but I found your answer to my Mogadishu example very interesting; you said "it's a little late." Why would an event in 1993 be too late for retaliation, yet an event in 1979 or 1983 be ripe for it? Honestly, I think you guys are using these events as excuses to attack Iran, while your true reason is a misguided belief that they are the "center" of Islamic terrorism.

2. I am distressed to see how eager and willing you are to "flatten" entire cities and countries. You said so about the Soviet Union and you say so half-heartedly about Somalia. You justify the latter not based on any threat Somalis pose to Americans, but based on the fact that 18 Americans were killed during a UN-backed humanitarian nation-building mission. Welcome to Objectivism 2007 :lol:

3. We certainly did not need to nuke Soviet Russia in order to avoid the Korean and Vietnam wars. There is a much easier way to not get involved: don't. Don't send troops overseas in meaningless proxy wars.

DarkWaters,

1. Please let go of these World War II analogies. The Japanese were extremely Westernized and industrialized at this time, they were not mystics on the order that Islamists are. If you're fighting for God, and you believe martyrdom will secure your soul and those of your family, seeing Teheran vaporized will not discourage you, it will be a call to war.

2. You may not have noticed, but that "Libertarian fantasy" was a paraphrase of the first sentence of the oath all enlisters and officers take at the beginning of their service. Regardless, here's a simple way to show how wrong you are: If sending troops on an altruistic mission doesn't violate their rights, then restricting them with altruistic rules of engagement also doesn't violate their rights - after all, that's an "integral part of United States foreign policy" as well. Doesn't that mean you disagree with ARI?

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That's a pretty fundamental repudiation of the concept "natural rights". However, it does explain a lot about your argument. But then surely you must recognise that, as a legal entity, the US has a right to use whatever means required to recover stolen property.

I think that I am not expressing myself well enough for you and DarkWaters to see my point here, because you are assuming I am a libertarian or that I am against Objectivism, neither of which is anywhere close to the case. I am going to try to make it more succinct.

My point is that there are some cultures which believe that the right to own property is not a natural objective right. These cultures are philosophically opposed to the concept of property rights. My statement is that when one does business in such a culture, he cannot expect to have a legal right to his property, whether such property is intellectual or physical in nature. Therefore, there is no legal precedent or protection to prevent a nationalization of property from occuring.

The obviously legitimate statement that the right to own property is a natural right derived from mans nature is a statement that will not apply under the legal system of a country which is philosophically opposed to mans nature.

This is why I say that a company which chooses to do business in such a country, must enter its venture with a great deal of caution and skepticism, while weighing the risk that it may lose the totality of its monetary investment. As it occured in Iran after this happened with BP, the British government stepped in to install a government that was friendly to Western capitalist interests, and thereby prevented nationalization.

But one must understand that the entire world is not ready for capitalism, irregardless of whether capitalism is objectively the only moral political system or not. The philosophical ideas that justify capitalism are completely at odds with the philosophical ideas in a country that does not grant property rights. Therefore, by installing a capitalism-friendly government without a wholesale change in the philosophical ideas of the country, all we are doing is putting a band-aid on a rotting corpse, and in the process irritating other parts of it.

Why not just let the corpse rot?

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And I submit to you that when British Petroleum (the company operating in Iran) was nationalized, there should have been no retaliation on the part of the British government. I'm sure we could spar over this point, but that isn't even the crucial point.

It really is not a crucial point. I am not arguing the specifics of whether it was in our national interests to defend property rights in Iran. I am saying that whether or not it was in our interests, Iran had no right to "retaliate" against it and it is proper for us to respond to their attacks against us.

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1. Please let go of these World War II analogies. The Japanese were extremely Westernized and industrialized at this time, they were not mystics on the order that Islamists are. If you're fighting for God, and you believe martyrdom will secure your soul and those of your family, seeing Teheran vaporized will not discourage you, it will be a call to war.

Surely you will find examples of Islamic extremists who will dedicate their lives to destroying the United States if Tehran was annihilated. You will also find many examples of those who will question their faith, as if their beliefs were true, then they would be winning.

If you have any interest at all in exploring the World War II analogy, then I suggest you read some of the Objective Standard articles on Islamic Totalitarianism, starting here. If you are not interested, then we are finished discussing this.

2. You may not have noticed, but that "Libertarian fantasy" was a paraphrase of the first sentence of the oath all enlisters and officers take at the beginning of their service.

You claimed that young people volunteer for the army to specifically defend and protect the United States constitution. This is very different from swearing an Oath to indicate that after enlisting in the army.

Regardless, here's a simple way to show how wrong you are: If sending troops on an altruistic mission doesn't violate their rights, then restricting them with altruistic rules of engagement also doesn't violate their rights - after all, that's an "integral part of United States foreign policy" as well. Doesn't that mean you disagree with ARI?

Although you did not articulate why this is a violation of rights (a deductive argument using floating abstractions does not count), I did some research and noticed that Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein describe sending troops to fight an altruistic war as a violation of rights of the volunteers. I am still not sure that I understand this, but now I will give it more serious thought.

By the standard of individual rights, a nation can morally go to war only for the purpose of self-defense, and can morally do in war only what is necessary for that purpose. Both wars of self-sacrifice (“humanitarian” wars) and wars of aggression—and acts of self-sacrifice or aggression within war—violate the rights of citizens, especially of soldiers. Both entail forcibly sacrificing the lives and money of individuals for the sake of some “higher” cause—whether relieving the suffering of the Somalians or satisfying the power-lust of a President.

It is still moral for a just nation to overthrow a dictator, such as Saddam Hussein, as long as they do not wish to replace him with another brutal dictatorship. To execute this morally in practice in a quasi-ideal capitalistic society, a separate division of a volunteer army would need to be established for the purposes of such missions.

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Why would an event in 1993 be too late for retaliation, yet an event in 1979 or 1983 be ripe for it?

Because the Iranian regime responsible for the '79 and '83 offenses is still in power and they still, to this day, continue to attack us. The Somali warlord and the mobs of people who attacked our soldiers are likely dead or gone and they don't posses the capability to threaten us any more. Supposing that we had some reasonable intel that had the location of the warlord or some of those responsible for the attacks, I would have no objection to dropping a few bombs on them from high altitude.

Honestly, I think you guys are using these events as excuses to attack Iran, while your true reason is a misguided belief that they are the "center" of Islamic terrorism.

Iran is a center of Islamic terrorism. It is not necessary that they be the center - there can be other centers, which can be next on our target list if necessary. Nobody here is saying we should stop at Iran or that Saudi Arabia shouldn't be the next focus of our attention.

You justify the latter not based on any threat Somalis pose to Americans, but based on the fact that 18 Americans were killed during a UN-backed humanitarian nation-building mission. Welcome to Objectivism 2007 :huh:

AGAIN, you seem to conflate the fact of it being a bad idea to be in a place with an aggressor's moral right to get away with murdering our citizens. It does not matter if it is a bad idea to be in a place. If someone murders our citizens, it is a failure of national defense to let them get away with it. Not the least of which because it encourages and emboldens our enemies.

3. We certainly did not need to nuke Soviet Russia in order to avoid the Korean and Vietnam wars. There is a much easier way to not get involved: don't. Don't send troops overseas in meaningless proxy wars.

You do not seem to have grasped what I was saying. I said that there was no reason why Korea needed to be a great sacrifices of our citizens' lives and our military budget. We could have fought it properly at minimal cost if Truman hadn't harbored an irrational fear of "escalation." There would have been no need to nuke the Soviets because if we had simply stared them down, they would have blinked. They did not present a credible nuclear threat until decades later. Our leaders knew this, but were altruistically concerned with there being a big war - even if they knew we would win it and not at great cost.

In light of this, if the Korean war had been fought properly, I doubt Vietnam would have even happened at all.

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My statement is that when one does business in such a culture, he cannot expect to have a legal right to his property, whether such property is intellectual or physical in nature. Therefore, there is no legal precedent or protection to prevent a nationalization of property from occuring.
Well, the legal precedent is set in US v. Barbary Pirates. If you have a legal right to property, then you can expect to have a legal right to property (every "is" also implies an "expects"). The one thing that you can't expect is that your property rights will be automatically respected. Certainly you can't expect it from the rogue nation, but I argue that the US should as a matter of policy protect the rights of Americans in general, not just when they are on US soil. In other words, we need not concern ourselves with the miscreant legal system of dictators.
This is why I say that a company which chooses to do business in such a country, must enter its venture with a great deal of caution and skepticism, while weighing the risk that it may lose the totality of its monetary investment.
Of course. But it is still right if the US acts to mitigate those losses.
But one must understand that the entire world is not ready for capitalism, irregardless of whether capitalism is objectively the only moral political system or not.
Ugh. The entire world is ready for capitalism. Are you suggesting that Iran needs to go through periods of Marxism, Benevolent Socialism, Religious Dictatorship and Fascism in order to be "finally ready" to be free? I don't see why there should be any period of preparation.
Therefore, by installing a capitalism-friendly government without a wholesale change in the philosophical ideas of the country, all we are doing is putting a band-aid on a rotting corpse, and in the process irritating other parts of it.
I don't see how this applies to the case of Iran -- we did nothing whatsoever to encourage capitalism in Iran. All we did was dispose of the excrement left by the Najlis.

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Ugh. The entire world is ready for capitalism. Are you suggesting that Iran needs to go through periods of Marxism, Benevolent Socialism, Religious Dictatorship and Fascism in order to be "finally ready" to be free? I don't see why there should be any period of preparation.

I'm suggesting again, as I did in my post above, that capitalism will not be accepted until the culture sheds its philosophic ideas that conflict with the nature of man.

The entire world is not ready for capitalism. This doesn't mean anything about what types of political systems a given country should cycle through, or how long a period of preparation a particular country will need. It means that the ideas which justify capitalism as the only moral political system are not shared by all countries and cultures. There is no set period of time or amount of political systems a country will go through before they find this moral justification. It is more dependent on when the leading intellectuals of a given culture step forward and defend capitalism than on anything else.

I don't see how this applies to the case of Iran -- we did nothing whatsoever to encourage capitalism in Iran. All we did was dispose of the excrement left by the Najlis.

That is precisely my contention. That there is nothing we can do to encourage capitalism in Iran. It is hopeless. The ideas need to be accepted and justified within Iran's culture before they can be converted to political philosophy.

.....Edited to ask DavidOdden: Did you receive my PM?

Edited by adrock3215

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It is still moral for a just nation to overthrow a dictator, such as Saddam Hussein, as long as they do not wish to replace him with another brutal dictatorship. To execute this morally in practice in a quasi-ideal capitalistic society, a separate division of a volunteer army would need to be established for the purposes of such missions.

Although this is probably subsumed under the term quasi-ideal capitalistic society, I'd like to point out that the government, and therefore the army should be voluntarily funded. Perhaps going as far as creating a special fund where those interested in a specific mission could contribute, financially or otherwise.

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Although this is probably subsumed under the term quasi-ideal capitalistic society, I'd like to point out that the government, and therefore the army should be voluntarily funded. Perhaps going as far as creating a special fund where those interested in a specific mission could contribute, financially or otherwise.

Yes, this was intended to be subsumed under "quasi-ideal." Transitioning from forced taxation to fund the legitimate function of government to voluntary financing is surely the final step in moving from a mixed economy to an ideal Capitalist society. In terms of trying to draw moral judgments applicable today, it definitely helps to recognize that defense is funded through involuntary taxation.

Edited by DarkWaters

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Yes, this was intended to be subsumed under "quasi-ideal." Transitioning from forced taxation to fund the legitimate function of government to voluntary financing is surely the final step in moving from a mixed economy to an ideal Capitalist society. In terms of trying to draw moral judgments applicable today, it definitely helps to recognize that defense is funded through involuntary taxation.

A starting point might be to have each tax payer indicate (on his tax return) what percentage of his tax should be spent on which governmental activity. This would maintain the overall yield, but might greatly change the composition of government expenditure.

Capucine

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