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ernie

Rwanda

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After reading The Virtue of Selfishness, I'm pretty sure I undersand Ayn Rand's position on military intervention in foreign affairs. She basically says the right to intervene exists when a foreign nation is violating the rights of its citizens.

Between April and June, 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in 100 days. Yes, the united nations did intervene, but they pulled out long before the genocide was over.

When an event this evil takes place; when nearly 1 million people are brutally murdered, how can the motivation for sending troops be anything other than altruism? My primary purpose on this earth is to live the greatest life possible, on my terms and for my own purpose. At the same time, however, I would absolutely risk my own life to save another's, even someone I did not know, if they were the victim of injustice. Does this make me not an Objectivist?

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I would say the right to intervene is not the same as an obligation. If the US will derive no benefit from intervening in Rwanda then we should not do so.

I would say you are not an Objectivist, but since I'm not one either I may not be qualified to judge. I will leave it to RadCap to tell you whether you are an Objectivist or not.

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Any government that enslaves its citizens does not have the right to exist. Thus, any free country has the right but not the obligation to destroy it. Claiming that someone’s (the Rwandans, Tutsis, Bosnians, etc) suffering is a claim on your life is not only altruism, but if the government uses your money to take it out, is an initiation of force against you.

Under some circumstances, I might risk my life to save a stranger, but it would be immoral of me to force someone else to do so at gunpoint – which is essentially, what you seem to be advocating. If you want to go fight in Africa, that’s your business, but the US government has no business doing so unless those nations pose a threat to America.

Aside for that, peacekeeping efforts in Africa are doomed to fail no matter what their motivation. Most of Africa is ruled by barbaric dictators and strongmen, and nothing short of a fundamental restructuring of their society (ie: re-colonization) is going to change that. Until Africans learn to respect individual rights, such bloody conflicts are going to be inevitable.

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Aside for that, peacekeeping efforts in Africa are doomed to fail no matter what their motivation. Most of Africa is ruled by barbaric dictators and strongmen, and nothing short of a fundamental restructuring of their society (ie: re-colonization) is going to change that. Until Africans learn to respect individual rights, such bloody conflicts are going to be inevitable

I would appreciate an expansion on this. If I undserstand you correctly; African peoples are in need of European "leadership"? I conclude that you mean European leadership by the use of the word "Re-colonization".

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I would appreciate an expansion on this.  If I understand you correctly, African peoples are in need of European "leadership"?  I conclude that you mean European leadership by the use of the word "Re-colonization.”

Africans are in sore need of Western values, not of the current variety of “European leadership.” My point was that only something as comprehensive as re-colonization can stop the perpetual state of tribal warfare going on in Africa, not to advocate it. The only thing that can make Africa civilized is the recognition of individual rights – something that is unlikely to happen until the Western world explicitly recognizes them first.

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Or, you could look at it from the perspective that these countries are still reeling from the vacume left by the end of colonization: as political entities African countries are still very young. When i've been to Africa i've never been overwhelmed by the notion that the people i've met are intellectualy incapable of recognizing individual rights: quite the opposite. They look to the western values displayed in places like bosnia and chechnya and draw quite different conclusions to your own.

(respectfully guest?)

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Why do you name Bosnia and checnya as the poster countries for capitalism? Even though both countries are a mix of capitilism and socialism (far more socialistic then United States though). What about Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, United States. Those countries have the highest standards of living in the world and consequently they are the freest countries in the world, thanks to capitalism.

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Those countries have the highest standards of living in the world and consequently they are the freest countries in the world, thanks to capitalism.

I agree with your point, although I would rephrase your last sentence somewhat: "Those countries are the freest countries in the world and consequently have the highest standards of living in the world..." Don't want to reverse the causal relationship involved.

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Why do you name Bosnia and checnya as the poster countries for capitalism?  Even though both countries are a mix of capitilism and socialism (far more socialistic then United States though).  What about Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, United States.  Those countries have the highest standards of living in the world and consequently they are the freest countries in the world, thanks to capitalism.

I mentioned the countries I did because the post I was refering to said that africans are in need of "Western Values"; which I took to include more than just capitalim. My point was that for every functioning and free western society that a person in africa could look to as a reflection of western values; there is one (particularly since the fall of the soviet union) that they could look at as being as chaotic and brutal as anything in africa...

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They look to the western values displayed in places like bosnia and chechnya and draw quite different conclusions to your own.

What western values? Trying to kill people just because they belong to a different ethnic group or religion is not a western value. That's what's causing the chaos and brutality, not western values.

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Exactly Godless. The term "western values" is diluted and corrupted by the existence of places like these. I got involved with this thread (after linking here from nasiac thanks!) when someone earlier talked about african's "needing" to be lead, and needing western values. I take issue with the idea that one group of people is inherently better suited to "leading" another. This is a premise of imperialism and orientalism: two ideas that should have been left behind long ago (though obviously they both still help shape some people's perception of the world we live in).

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Guest?

You mistake values for practices. For instance, murder is practiced by many in Western Civilization. However, that does not make murder a Western value (in fact, it is considered a vice - an injustice - according to Western civilization. It is NOT one of its virtues).

Furthermore, all the statement is saying is that those who DO embrace Western values should teach those who do not. Unless you are trying to claim some moral relativism here and suggesting that one system of values is no better than any other system.

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I think he is saying that.

Guest?, are you saying that western values like respect for individual rights and freedoms are not superior to the values of some other cultures like enslaving one's enemies, mutilating women, forcing children to act as soldiers, and so on?

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