Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

would you rather: the wars as they are now or no wars?

Rate this topic


James Bond
 Share

Recommended Posts

Would you rather the wars as they are now, inimically endless, or no wars at all, as leftists would have?

This is one area where I tend to disagree with many objectivists.

I think the wars as they are being run now actually make the country less safe, as well as bankrupt the country, and the loss of our soldiers.

It looks like we'll be in these wars for another 8 years, and unfortunately Neocons and hopefully (not objectivists) seem to be okay with that.

The whole situation is just terrible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I just don't see the sensibility of this question asked the way it is, something RationalBiker has already remarked upon. If you are going to offer those two alternatives, especially the latter without context you might as well offer some others, like a rational foreign policy. I am for pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq as I believe them to, currently, be misadventures, however I advocate this in the context that it allows us to re-evaluate our situation properly and act appropriately after this evaluation has been completed.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would prefer there were no wars, but you can't let terrorists just plan and plot with impunity. Unless you go on the offensive they will just keep coming forever.

BTW, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not bankrupting the US, it is social programs that are doing that.

This document is a few years old but there are several similar documents on the web and it shows that even at peak expenditure, the Iraq war cost only 1% of GDP. Speaking purely financially, the US could maintain the current presence in Afghanistan and Iraq "forever" and not go bankrupt.

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/108054.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but this is weasel talk.

Madlibs version:

Do you support _gangs and gang activity_ like _the libs_ or do you want _crime_ to disappear forever like _the conservatives_ do? Surely you and _whatever movement you're associated with_ are against _the continuing rape and murder of innocent civilians_, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you need to analyze is how wars are begun in the first place. It was never the baker in New York who declared war on the Car Salesman in "Nazi" Germany. Wars are always begun by governments, never people, and have historically never accomplished the goal of "security" that they promised. Of all the wars the US was in, tell me which one was justified in the innocent death of individuals? Wars will never end until government ends.

Of course, most Objectivist will critique this argument, stating that the proper role of government is to protect the individual from harm, both foreign and domestic. But 9/11 did nothing to me. I have no qualm with Iraq or Afghanistan. This is not an argument against justice, but rather an argument that the government can never be an instrument of justice: never has been and never will be. We captured Osama in Pakistan, where he has been in 6 years. We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan...

[Edit begins here to qualify]

I don't want to come across as a peace-loving MLK "hippie". I was merely trying to point out that justice stems from an individual, not a "national" or "collective" level. Once these artificial bodies take up the cause of justice, they automatically will use and abuse individuals in such a "pursuit".

Edited by VcatoV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wars are always begun by governments, never people, ... ...
In Western countries where people elect their governments, those governments are pretty representative of the views of the people. For instance, if U.S. politicians will hang on to welfare programs it is because voters really don't want to let them go, if they talk about cutting the budget but try to kick the can down the road it is because voters want to evade that issue. Not all voters, of course, but a significant number. In countries like the U.S. and France and U.K., people generally get the government they "deserve", based on their political and moral philosophy, however confused that may be.

Yes, governments do act independent of their people, and sometimes contrary to what the majority wants. However, that is not routine and long-lasting in a western democracy. And, yes, people in government can sometimes persuade voters to go along with them on some issue, at least for a while. However, they often pay for it when they have "led" from too far outside the mainstream opinion. Then, they are replaced. On the average, the voters get the government they deserve. So, when you want to point a finger of blame look at your neighbors who cheered the U.S. going to war in Iraq, even if they later changed their minds. By and large, the bulk of U.S. voters are responsible for the actions of their government, just as buyers -- rather than Madison Street -- are responsible for the purchases they make.

Of course the famous example is Hitler, who was voted into power, and cheered on, not just by many Germans but look at the cheering ethnic Germans in some countries he marched into.

[P.S. There are other issues with your post, but I just want to focus on this one point because people repeat it in all sorts of contexts, and it is a pet peeve of mine :). I also think that the attitude allows one to feel alienated: us vs. them -- voters vs. government -- and that will lead to the wrong actions (or inaction). One has to identify the real issue in order to deal with it, and it clearly is voter vs. voter. that is to say: it is an issue of conflicting ideologies among a country's voters.]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wars will never end until government ends.

It's not much of an argument, no different than "real capitalism" being impossible. I cannot think of any wars that have ever been justified or carried out in a justified way, but it doesn't follow that all are by definition immoral. No one has even defined what a war is here. If a war is just two governments fighting with their military, of course wars won't end until government ends. At the same time, can you think of any government in existence that defends individual rights and nothing else? Since the answer is no, it's hard to say any war has ever been justified. It doesn't follow that war is always wrong without context applied. There's no reason to say government causes immoral wars, it makes more sense to say immoral governments cause immoral wars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you need to analyze is how wars are begun in the first place. It was never the baker in New York who declared war on the Car Salesman in "Nazi" Germany. Wars are always begun by governments, never people, and have historically never accomplished the goal of "security" that they promised. Of all the wars the US was in, tell me which one was justified in the innocent death of individuals? Wars will never end until government ends.

But Al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers and they are not a government. People can just get together with others who have similar ideas and form groups, and those groups can get ugly. But you can't ban the forming of all groups, what about good groups? You have to look at the fundamental problem which is violence and ban that, and then you need someone to enforce it which is a government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Western countries where people elect their governments, those governments are pretty representative of the views of the people. For instance, if U.S. politicians will hang on to welfare programs it is because voters really don't want to let them go, if they talk about cutting the budget but try to kick the can down the road it is because voters want to evade that issue. Not all voters, of course, but a significant number. In countries like the U.S. and France and U.K., people generally get the government they "deserve", based on their political and moral philosophy, however confused that may be.

But especially in the United States, the government they "deserve" is defined by simple majority, or 50% + 1. That means that 49% are subjected to the whims of the other 50%. Is this a support of individual rights?

Yes, governments do act independent of their people, and sometimes contrary to what the majority wants. However, that is not routine and long-lasting in a western democracy. And, yes, people in government can sometimes persuade voters to go along with them on some issue, at least for a while. However, they often pay for it when they have "led" from too far outside the mainstream opinion. Then, they are replaced. On the average, the voters get the government they deserve. So, when you want to point a finger of blame look at your neighbors who cheered the U.S. going to war in Iraq, even if they later changed their minds. By and large, the bulk of U.S. voters are responsible for the actions of their government, just as buyers -- rather than Madison Street -- are responsible for the purchases they make.

So I am responsible for the choices of others, even if I didn't make it myself? Where is this "social contract" I signed by being born?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But Al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers and they are not a government. People can just get together with others who have similar ideas and form groups, and those groups can get ugly. But you can't ban the forming of all groups, what about good groups? You have to look at the fundamental problem which is violence and ban that, and then you need someone to enforce it which is a government.

There is no possible way to "ban" violence. Groups will form, of course, and some groups (ie. individuals) will act violently. In such a situation, it is only moral for those who were wronged to seek justice. That is not a noose on somebody else to force them to support you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But especially in the United States, the government they "deserve" is defined by simple majority, or 50% + 1. That means that 49% are subjected to the whims of the other 50%. Is this a support of individual rights?
I didn't say it was right that a majority is able to make the minority do what it wishes, or to have the government do what it -- the majority -- wishes. I'm simply pointing out that the notion that governments go to war and people don't is a faulty idea. If you had said that majorities in countries go to war and the minorities cannot do much about it, that would be a different idea altogether.

So I am responsible for the choices of others, even if I didn't make it myself? Where is this "social contract" I signed by being born?
You signed no contract and are not responsible for your neighbors decisions. However, recognize that it is their decisions we're talking about, not some abstract "government" acting independently of "the people". Edited by softwareNerd
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't say it was right that a majority is able to make the minority do what it wishes, or to have the government do what it -- the majority -- wishes. I'm simply pointing out that the notion that governments go to war and people don't is a faulty idea. If you had said that majorities in countries go to war and the minorities cannot do much about it, that would be a different idea altogether.

You signed no contract and are not responsible for your neighbors decisions. However, recognize that it is their decisions we're talking about, not some abstract "government" acting independently of "the people".

I understand that people elect their governments, and that their decisions lead to shaping the society that we live in. My point is that their decision ought not be a noose around my life. Of course there is a difference between things as they are and things as they ought to be, and I am not trying to conflate the two; rather, I am saying that things ought to be such a way as to where each individual is responsible for his own decisions. If an individual voluntarily joins a group, and that group goes to "war", then yes of course they have made that decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you believe this then you truly are a fool of the greatest proportions.

Funny but full of conviction, so I respect it. But are you telling me that it's okay for my work to be stolen from me so that more people can die in wars not of my choosing than the terrorist act on 9/11?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you mean by system of regimentalization?

I qualified it with non-voluntary (so keep that in mind). A system of regimentalization is a structure in power or control which seeks to regiment a group's behavior. A voluntary example is the Christian Church, with the Priest as the "Shepherd" who must watch over the conduct of his "flock". The sheep may graze or herd within certain parameters, but any sheep that strays from the flock must be reeled back in by the shepherd. This translates into a non-voluntary system, such as Western Liberal Democracy, which gives a wide field of grazing grass, but still seeks to regimentalize the conduct of those who stray too far.

The nature of a group is to normalize, even though I don't like that word. It is why all groups exist; your book club is normalizing you into the same books that you guys read; a soccer team normalizes you to the standards, rules, and structures of the team; a religious community normalizes you to the conduct of the group--and to prove this is non-malicious, something as simple as paying in dollars at the gas station is a group normalization...these things exist mostly to facilitate the interactions of like-minded people. My firm belief is that human beings ought to have the ability to choose which group, which interactions, they want to become engaged in. But when a shepherd reels you in from birth, adding you to the flock and regimentalizing your conduct, the proper role to take is to destroy said system. The immoral system, from Feudalism to Nazism, is the one that strips away an individual's right to their own life.

[edit for silly grammar mistakes :P ]

Edited by VcatoV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny but full of conviction, so I respect it. But are you telling me that it's okay for my work to be stolen from me so that more people can die in wars not of my choosing than the terrorist act on 9/11?

Ideally the military, and the entire government, would be voluntarily funded, but given the way things are set up in today's America it was entirely appropriate for the military to respond to 9/11. Now, whether Afghanistan and Iraq were the right response is debatable (I think they were not), but to reject national self-defense entirely on principle is lunacy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no possible way to "ban" violence.

Sure there is. You can't prevent violence, but you can ban it. You have courts and a police force and make it publically known that anyone who is violent will be subject to that system.

Groups will form, of course, and some groups (ie. individuals) will act violently. In such a situation, it is only moral for those who were wronged to seek justice. That is not a noose on somebody else to force them to support you.

But how would seek justice without a government? Do you advocate vigilantism? Surely objectively, evenly applied law is better, and that requires a court system where a 3rd party decides the sentence. Also, by the logic that only the victim can seek justice, nothing would ever be done about murder, since the victim is dead.

I think you have a principled position, but it is not based on rational principles. Rational principles are based on observation. And in the case of organising society, that has to be based on history, on hundreds on years of human experience. On one hand, yes you've got the fact that governments create wars. But on the other hand you have places such as Africa where the government is too weak to stand up to groups such as drug gangs and people's lives are hell, like a continuous state of war refugees. And rationally one must look at all examples, you seem to see only the first set.

I think instead of outright rejection of government, this evidence requires a recognition that there are different types of government. Then you need to distill what elements of each type are leading to success and which to failure. Of course this is not easy, since nearly all the examples are mixed, but the Objectivist position is that it is the capialist, individual rights respecting elements that are causing success, and the force-bringing socialist elements that, to the extent they are present, cause harm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The nature of a group is to normalize, even though I don't like that word. It is why all groups exist; your book club is normalizing you into the same books that you guys read; a soccer team normalizes you to the standards, rules, and structures of the team; a religious community normalizes you to the conduct of the group--and to prove this is non-malicious, something as simple as paying in dollars at the gas station is a group normalization...these things exist mostly to facilitate the interactions of like-minded people. My firm belief is that human beings ought to have the ability to choose which group, which interactions, they want to become engaged in. But when a shepherd reels you in from birth, adding you to the flock and regimentalizing your conduct, the proper role to take is to destroy said system. The immoral system, from Feudalism to Nazism, is the one that strips away an individual's right to their own life.

OO.net forum is an example of immoral involuntary regimentation: Conform to the forum rules or be cast out.

If you stick around long enough to understand the Objectivist method and conclusions then your assimilation into the group mind will be complete. :twisted:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...