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An Objectivist Government Wouldn't Do Anything About The Joseph Ko

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dadmonson
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I'm not an expert on Objectivist foreign policy or Objectivism at all but it seems on this issue Objectivists agree with Ron Paul -- The U.S. Government shouldn't do anything. The U.S. Government shouldn't do anything according to Objectivism because Joseph Koney hasn't initiated any force on U.S. citizens and he isn't a threat to U.S. citizens.

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I'm not an expert on Objectivist foreign policy or Objectivism at all but it seems on this issue Objectivists agree with Ron Paul -- The U.S. Government shouldn't do anything. The U.S. Government shouldn't do anything according to Objectivism because Joseph Koney hasn't initiated any force on U.S. citizens and he isn't a threat to U.S. citizens.

You're wrong. I'm an Objectivist, and I fully support the efforts of the Obama administration (moral condemnation, placing them on a terrorist list, and supporting international efforts to go after them) in addressing this. I wouldn't go any further than that though. This gang isn't the fundamental cause of Africa's problems, they're just a symptom. The cause is the state of civilization on that continent, and I don't think any kind of localized military intervention in that region would facilitate improvement in that area.

Africa can only be civilized by urging them to adopt western values, and nudging them along in that direction through non-military means. Unlike in the Middle East (where Muslim fundamentalists are organized against westernization, and determined to prevent it through violence), there is no coordinated military opposition to the spreading of western values on that continent. Now all that would have to happen is for people who claim to want to help to actually start spreading awareness of western values in Africa, instead of awareness of Africa's problems in the West. I hate to tell the people who engage in campaigns like the one this video is associated with, but we are about as aware of Africa being a hellhole as we are of breast cancer. Mission accomplished fellas, awareness levels are at maximum. For the love of God, stop with the pink ribbons and graphic videos (haven't watched the thing, but I bet it's graphic), and start working on the actual problem. Lack of awareness in the West is not it.

As for Objectivist agreement with Ron Paul, that is absurd. Objectivism and Paul's stance on foreign policy couldn't be more antithetical.

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It is not the US government's duty to sacrifice individuals or their possesions to save outsiders. If you feel strongly about the issue, feel free to hire mercanaries to deal with it.

That's a correct statement, as long as you understand the meaning of the word sacrifice. It does not exclude the possibility of using a country's military and budget to save outsiders, it just restricts it to such cases where doing so is not a sacrifice.

But if you're suggesting that it is always a sacrifice to save an outsider, that is a simplistic statement that does not accurately represent the Objectivist position.

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You (dadmanson) apparently think that the US ought to intervene. This is a philosophy forum. Let us hear what philosophical considerations have led you to your conclusion.

I wonder why you think (if indeed you do) that such intervention would improve things. Most such actions have had the opposite effect. Grenada in the 80s and the Dominican Republic in the 60s are probably exceptions. Maybe Bosnia, though that's questionable if you subtract the bombing deaths and damages. Germany and Japan ended up with better political systems, though in these cases you have to adjust not only for war damages but for the fact that the war resulted in communist takeovers in China and eastern Europe.

Most here would agree that the US shouldn't intervene militarily in this case, and presumably Paul would too, but that does not mean we agree with Paul in essential respects.

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That's a correct statement, as long as you understand the meaning of the word sacrifice. It does not exclude the possibility of using a country's military and budget to save outsiders, it just restricts it to such cases where doing so is not a sacrifice. But if you're suggesting that it is always a sacrifice to save an outsider, that is a simplistic statement that does not accurately represent the Objectivist position.

I agree, but I do not see how intervening in this situation would benefit the United States in anyway. THe purpose of military action is self-defense, and Joseph Cony has not done any thing to threaten the United States.

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Nicky: are Paul's and Objectivist foreign policies really antithetical? Sure, they're not entirely congruent, and there are a number of issues on which they disagree (Iran being the most obvious one), but I shouldn't hardly say that they're complete and total opposites. Paul understands that America's traditional reluctance to become involved in foreign conflicts are justified by more than just good diplomacy; that they come from the idea that no American individual's resources should be spent for a militaristic cause that is not directly related to the protection of his own rights and safety. I'd say he's got the jist of it, at the very least.

In response to the Kony nonsense, Che's revolution in Cuba killed just as many, and was even on many accounts a blatantly racist genocide. One of those two men is Facebook's least favorite terrorist, and the other can't seem to escape all the celebration that the same teenagers who hate Kony are so eager to give him. How a man is treated by these "activists" is entirely dependent on how the few in the lead can make them feel about him.

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I find it hilarious that the same young liberally oriented people who are calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now calling for the U.S to send troops to Uganda.

It's interesting how effective emotional appeals from young children can be to get people to switch their views so quickly.

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Weston, I agree that Paul's foreign policy is based on principles that have more in common with Objectivism than Nicky is willing to admit. However, please don't forget that Ron Paul explicitly endorsed Just War Theory in the last debate. Obviously, he would implement this principle differently than Bush did, but the fact remains that he is confused.

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they come from the idea that no American individual's resources should be spent for a militaristic cause that is not directly related to the protection of his own rights and safety. I'd say he's got the jist of it, at the very least.

I don't know if that's the basis of Paul's beliefs, but if it is, then we just found the reason why they are antithetical to Objectivism.

Objectivism advocates for a government that upholds individual rights on principle. That is the epistemological opposite of your requirement that every concrete case must be "directly related" to the protection of the person who's money is being spent. The Objectivist view is principled and abstract, this idea is pragmatic and concrete bound.

The analysis on what is and what isn't in the interest of the United States should be done on a much more abstract level than just looking at the interests of individuals. The government should:

1. Establish that it is indeed in the best interest of every American to see liberty spread across as much of the planet as possible.

2. Look for the greatest threats to liberty, across the globe, and defeat them whenever doing so is worth it.

As for the implication that Ron Paul is a principled egoist (which he would necessarily have to be, even to just fully agree with your, I believe mistaken, suggestion above), I've seen no proof of that either.

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The government should:

1. Establish that it is indeed in the best interest of every American to see liberty spread across as much of the planet as possible.

Is that really true? On one hand, I don't think it's America's repsonsibility to Americanize ANY country. I also don't know if that would be in our best interest, seeing as we would have to overthrow a ton of dictatorships, fight multiple wars, rebuild, etc. But on the other hand, this Kony situation really sucks. I wish there was a way to help those kids without using military action.. I guess the only thing to do is donate money to the cause. (But I'm not even sure where that money is going: as my friend said on fb, "Giving Invisible Children money causes the same effect as giving invisible children money.")

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Is that really true?

Isn't it obviously true?

It is not the US government's duty to sacrifice individuals or their possesions to save outsiders. If you feel strongly about the issue, feel free to hire mercanaries to deal with it.

That would be illegal, and rightfully so.

But let's imagine it's not illegal, and someone living in the house next to me does it. Odds are Mr. Koney will send someone to our neighborhood, and blow the guy's house up in response. So now what? Should the US government continue to stay out of it?

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I find it hilarious that the same young liberally oriented people who are calling for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now calling for the U.S to send troops to Uganda.

It's interesting how effective emotional appeals from young children can be to get people to switch their views so quickly.

This was the exact thought I had when I watched the "Kony 2012" video.

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Isn't it obviously true?

Nope? On a national level, where the government's job is only to protect the rights of ITS citizens, I can't see how 'spreading liberty' in other countries would matter. But on a personal level, if seeing other people in pain affects you emotionally and makes you uncomfortable, then you should personally take action until you're content. (ie: if you're deeply affected by the Kony-issue, it's only natural to get involved on a personal level.)

Edited by Michele Degges
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Nope? On a national level, where the government's job is only to protect the rights of ITS citizens, I can't see how 'spreading liberty' in other countries would matter.

Read the sentence you originally replied to carefully. There is a difference between it and your representation of it here: it read "to see liberty spread", and you switched it to "spreading liberty".

My statement is obviously true. You changed it. Don't do that.

If you want to challenge the part where I go further than that, and say that the US government should act to defend liberty abroad in certain situations, quote those parts of my post when replying, and I'd be happy to defend them against your arguments. I split the two different steps in my line of reasoning up into two separate points for a reason. The first step is obvious, and you should just accept it. Or challenge it if you really want to, but challenge IT, not your interpretation of my entire post, with my arguments all tangled up and compounded together.

I'm not trying to be difficult, I just like clarity. Whenever someone changes the words around in another person's argument, that takes away from the clarity of the discussion for no good reason.

Edited by Nicky
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if you're deeply affected by the Kony-issue, it's only natural to get involved on a personal level.

Mr. Kony is a thug. The one and only reason why we are a part of a civilized nation is so that we don't have to deal with thugs on a personal level.

There is nothing I can do, on a personal level, to stop a thug with his power and willingness to brutalize people.

The argument that individual citizens of a capitalist country should use force to achieve their goals internationally is a Libertarian argument, not an Objectivist one.

Furthermore, we live in a world where the legitimate interests of people are inter-connected across borders. And you cannot logically separate the legitimate interests of Americans from those of non-Americans. If the rights of Americans are to be fully protected, the US government has to be the agent who uses force to protect those rights, across the globe. That means acting to protect freedom globally.

Please note that I never used phrases like "Americanize", "spread freedom by force", etc. I'd appreciate it if you would limit your arguments to be against my exact words. I chose them carefully, to represent my point of view and differentiate it from that of neo-cons or liberals.

Edited by Nicky
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That would be illegal, and rightfully so.

But let's imagine it's not illegal, and someone living in the house next to me does it. Odds are Mr. Koney will send someone to our neighborhood, and blow the guy's house up in response. So now what? Should the US government continue to stay out of it?

Assuming you live within US borders, you should get the state involved, though the idea of a 2-bit warlord in Uganda launching an attack on the United States is completely absurd. Kony does not live within the US, will likely never step foot in the US, and will probably not harm and US civilians. I see no reason why hiring mercanaries to fight outside the country should be illegal as long as it is directed against a "looter" government or organization.

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Assuming you live within US borders, you should get the state involved, though the idea of a 2-bit warlord in Uganda launching an attack on the United States is completely absurd. Kony does not live within the US, will likely never step foot in the US, and will probably not harm and US civilians. I see no reason why hiring mercanaries to fight outside the country should be illegal as long as it is directed against a "looter" government or organization.

I just gave you a reason. You dismissed it as absurd though. Not sure why you think it's absurd for an African warlord to retaliate if attacked by an American, but you do.

I don't have any other reasons. In a magical world where American citizens can act with absolute impunity against foreign warlords, we should all just hire hitmen to pick off whoever is acting out around the world, until all dictators, warlords and terrorist leaders are dead. Problem solved.

In this world though, we need a strong government to do that. In this world, African warlords are in fact much better equipped to kill me than I am to kill them.

Edited by Nicky
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I just gave you a reason. You dismissed it as absurd though. Not sure why you think it's absurd for an African warlord to retaliate if attacked by an American, but you do.

Do I really have to spell it out? He comands an army partially made up of children in the middle of Africa. He does not have anything close to the resources necesary to launch an assault on any place within the United States. Even if he did have the resources, he would have to be an idiot to risk such an operation as success would probably result in his entire operation being carpet bombed.

I don't have any other reasons. In a magical world where American citizens can act with absolute impunity against foreign warlords, we should all just hire hitmen to pick off whoever is acting out around the world, until all dictators, warlords and terrorist leaders are dead. Problem solved.

In this world though, we need a strong government to do that. In this world, African warlords are in fact much better equipped to kill me than I am to kill them.

First stop Uganda. Second stop, the other 90% of Africa controlled by oppressive warlords. Third stop, Burma. Fourth stop, the Middle East. Fifth stop, North Korea...

If that scenario is absurd, then please explain why the US government should do something about Kony but not one of the other billion dictators and warlords in the world? You claim that you do not want to go around the world liberating people, yet this is exactly what you suggest.

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Dormin, I've got nothing against mercenary armies. Nicky is portraying a false alternative: either ban the use of all mercenaries, or let them run amuck with no oversight. A government could conceivably set up a legal framework for such activity through licensing, letters of marque, etc. Obviously, a government would not sanction activity that runs counter to its own interests.

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You, today:

First stop Uganda. Second stop, the other 90% of Africa controlled by oppressive warlords. Third stop, Burma. Fourth stop, the Middle East. Fifth stop, North Korea...

If that scenario is absurd, then please explain why the US government should do something about Kony but not one of the other billion dictators and warlords in the world? You claim that you do not want to go around the world liberating people, yet this is exactly what you suggest.

Me, yesterday:

I don't think any kind of localized military intervention in that region would facilitate improvement...Africa can only be civilized by urging them to adopt western values, and nudging them along in that direction through non-military means

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Furthermore, we live in a world where the legitimate interests of people are inter-connected across borders. And you cannot logically separate the legitimate interests of Americans from those of non-Americans. If the rights of Americans are to be fully protected, the US government has to be the agent who uses force to protect those rights, across the globe. That means acting to protect freedom globally.

You specifically stated the the government should use force to protect rights around the world, even if the affected parties are not American. If Kony is a special circumstance, then what should the US gov do, if anything?

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Justice abroad is important, but it is impossible to civilize an uncivlized place without the most brutal of methods, and even then their form of civilization will show signs of their past savagery (Japan today).

If the united states does anything about that warlord, in order to do it correctly many many people will have to die. I don't think people understand that "liberating" a nation often inolves putting most of it to death.

Until those people threaten us, we owe it to them to let those people struggle for freedom and civilization in their own way.

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Justice abroad is important, but it is impossible to civilize an uncivlized place without the most brutal of methods, and even then their form of civilization will show signs of their past savagery (Japan today).

Are you aware of how old a civilization Japan is?

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