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Pre-emptive War: e.g. Should we nuke Tehran?

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QUOTE(~Sophia~ @ May 26 2007, 01:18 PM) post_snapback.gifIt is ONLY when you violate rights of others (by force) that others have a moral right to violate yours (respond with force) (to some limit - not a card-blanche). This is what justice demands.

Yes, but in the case of war, who is the "you"? You establish a clear moral boundary between yourself as an individual and a government acting in your name as an agressor. I do not. Rand does not.

I have taken this from Rand "you are only justified to use force against others in retaliation - against those who initiated the use of force" remember that statement? In case of a war because of the scale of the conflict - there is collateral damage - it can not be fully avoided and its existance can not be used to prevent a country from defending itself. But because there is collateral damage - the amount of force used against a whole region of people - against a whole population is placed under limits dictated by morality.

It is more complex scenario than one on one conflict but there is no area of life which is beyond knowable for man, beyond being able to make objective decisions about.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Are you asking for an exhaustive list, or a general characterization? I assume you know what "threat" means; then threatening the US is making a threat against the US (in part or in whole). For exampl

I'm aware of most of those imaginary claims you consider "knowledge of the situation". I just happen to know they're not real, so I don't consider them when passing judgement on Iran.

If this was true it would be an easy matter to overthrow oppressive states. This won't work because you have reversed cause and effect. Philosophy is what drives history. It is the funda

I agree that a rational country would not empower its enemies, but disagree that a rational country would not allow dictatorships to exist. They could very easily not see a country as a serious threat until it was too late for anything but drastic measures. It could very easily not have a strong enough intelligence network to know everything going on all over the world.

Every dictatorship is a threat, the stronger it is - the stronger the threat is. A dictatorship can not survive on its own - without the outside help. A rational country would also have been the most prosperous country in the world and as thus the most economically influencial. (That is a small point however and highly abstract).

Were we a country, (where you were the woman president :) ) How much of a threat would you view these countries to be?

Very high going back far into the past. I would not have done any business with them for decades. I would not have been influenced by the idea of multiculturalism and altruism and not biased by being religious myself.

If you choose, as I gather you would, to not use overwhelming force in response to every act of aggression,

This is contextual. I think we are comming to the point where that might be necessary. And we partially responsible (the West) for creating this situation.

and later we lost several big cities as a result, would that make you decision immoral or only mistaken.

I don't advocate using less force than what is necessary to asure our safety. If military leaders objectively decide that the theat is large enough that it is required - I would support this decision.

On the other hand, if I chose to use overwhelming force in response to each act of aggression, killing many civilians in their country, and we later learned that they had no nuclear capabilities of any kind, would I have acted immorally or only mistakenly?

This is a false dichotomy. Either I wipe them out of existance right from the start or we are doomed. It maybe true but that is not a default. I think the question weather or not they have nuclear weapons is very relevant.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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On deserted island you would still need your liberty and your life and need to own some items/tools - you have a need for those things regardless if you are arround others or not. Those are not 'social needs' but needs dictated by the requirements of human survival. It is just when you are arround others that you need protection from them in order to be left alone to take actions you need to take to sustain your life.

As I said, politically there would be nobody to violate them. You have to have others around in order to need them to respect your rights. Again, I asked you to look at in what sense Dan used the term - moral or political. Are you absolutely positive that we're not talking past each other here?

Individual rights are moral principles.

I take issue with that, as I have not said otherwise.

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They have a right to stay in existance (to make that choice) even if the conditions of their existance are bad.

Nobody has the right to stay in existence when they act in defiance of existence. Whether they are forced to or not, the citizens of a warmongering dictatorship which threatens a free nation are acting in defiance of existence. Furthermore, if they are not actively fighting the dictatorship, then they are further acting in defiance of the fact that you cannot live under a dictatorship - that a dictatorship is a process of dying for everyone in it. Ayn Rand specifically addressed this:

The question assumes that an individual inside a country should be made secure from the social system under which he lives and that he accepts—willingly or unwillingly, because he hasn't left the country—and that others should respect his rights and succumb to aggression themselves.

The point is clear: there is no "right to succumb to aggression", at least not to do so and go on drawing breath. As she said, "This is the position of the goddamned pacifists."

The only innocents in a dictatorship are those who are actively fighting it - and they welcome the bombs. Those who choose to passively do nothing are morally culpable.

I do believe I have to change my position here:

..but, you may also stay, and be perfectly moral in doing so.

NO! This is an immoral choice. Please re-read Ayn Rand's answer to the the third question here.

Yes, friendly fire can happen and it is unfortunate. But it is the responsibility of such freedom fighters to get the hell out of the way; not our responsibility to hesitate on our triggers. In war, hesitation is death. We would be sacrificing an utterly fundamental aspect of effectively fighting a war: our non-hesitating moral certainty.

And finally, those who die because they were forced to be in harm's way (i.e. those in concentration camps) are the moral responsibility of the dictator, not of the nation acting in self defense. To hesitate to attack would only validate the dictator's use of them as a tactic. If we loudly announced that we didn't care and the death of innocents wasn't our fault or responsibility - and then acted on it - then how many Islamists would build their missile launchers next to hospitals? Why would they bother? They would instead build them in places where they could be fortified.

The point, Sophia, is that a dictatorship and its warmongering are incompatible with human life. Someone must pay the price for a dictatorship. You have a choice: either we must pay it, or the citizens of the dictatorship must. When we are in a position to choose between the two, the moral choice is the latter.

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My statement does not imply using so little force as you may jepardize your chances of winning or barely reach it. It does however imply that you don't have a right to an unlimited amount of excess.

Whoever claimed this? You are still fixated on this straw man? The amount of force we have the right to use is the amount of force required for maximum military effectiveness. The amount that costs us the least and places our soldiers in the least amount of danger while achieving the objective of defeating the enemy.

Clearly, in the case of Iran this means nuking Tehran at least once. (notice that that is not maximum force - we could nuke the entire country into glass) But how do you go from there to the straw man of unlimited and excess. Excess of what? Of what is militarily necessary?

If you are saying that we can not objectively know that line then that argument reminds me of those who say: how can we reasonably know what is color red and what is organge? It is all a spectrum and where you pick the division line is subjective.

I don't think anyone said "cannot;" I believe some have said "do not." There is a large difference.

But because there is collateral damage - the amount of force used against a whole region of people - against a whole population is placed under limits dictated by morality.

It is more complex scenario than one on one conflict but there is no area of life which is beyond knowable for man, beyond being able to make objective decisions about.

And what does morality say? It says, "do what is militarily necessary, regardless of collateral damage."

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As I said, politically there would be nobody to violate them. You have to have others around in order to need them to respect your rights.

You said:

You need others around to create such a need.

It is obvious that if there is nobody around - your rights are not going to be violated. But you still have a need for life, liberty - those needs are not created by others nor they are fullfiled by the presence of others. What others do is present a threat which you need to protect yourself from. So, those needs are not social in nature and it is incorrect to call them as such. Social need would be something that can only be relived by the presence of others whereas when it comes to rights - what you seek is people's inaction towards you. You seek to be left alone so you can take care of what your life requires by yourself.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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Nobody has the right to stay in existence when they act in defiance of existence.

This is shocking. A lot of people belive in God and wrap their entire life around this belief which is in defiance of existance. According to you they dont' have a right to stay in existance.

The point is clear: there is no "right to succumb to aggression", at least not to do so and go on drawing breath. As she said, "This is the position of the goddamned pacifists."

A straw man. Against whom are you arguing here? General audience?

The only innocents in a dictatorship are those who are actively fighting it - and they welcome the bombs. Those who choose to passively do nothing are morally culpable.

They welcome free nation - not their death. Those are who deserve to survive.

NO! This is an immoral choice. Please re-read Ayn Rand's answer to the the third question here.

Ayn Rand said no such thing that it is immoral for people to stay alive when the conditions of their life are awful. It is not immoral to choose not to put your life in danger.

The point, Sophia, is that a dictatorship and its warmongering are incompatible with human life.

And who was ever saying otherwise?

Edited by ~Sophia~
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This is shocking. A lot of people belive in God and wrap their entire life around this belief which is in defiance of existance. According to you they dont' have a right to stay in existance.

I think Inspector means it more in the sense of; people do not have a right to be free from the consequences of their harmful choices and actions.

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QUOTE(~Sophia~ @ May 27 2007, 11:38 AM) post_snapback.gifMy statement does not imply using so little force as you may jepardize your chances of winning or barely reach it. It does however imply that you don't have a right to an unlimited amount of excess.

Whoever claimed this?

A statement " if you are fighting a moral war - the means are only a matter of tactic and not morality" implies that you have a right to use ANY amount of force regardless of circumstances as you are not bound by morality. It does not mean you will use the maximum that is available to you but it does imply that you have a moral right to it regardless of circumstances - just simply because you are fighting a moral war. That is what I disagree with for reasons I already given. The means are not excempt from moral evaluation.

I think Inspector means it more in the sense of; people do not have a right to be free from the consequences of their harmful choices and actions.

And they are not free. They endure their environment every day. It does not mean that they don't have a right to stay in existance.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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And they are not free. They endure their environment every day. It does not mean that they don't have a right to stay in existance.

That is unless their environment and their choices are destroying their existence. "They can't have their cake and eat it too."

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I agree with both of RationalBiker's replies above.

Social need would be something that can only be relived by the presence of others whereas when it comes to rights

That certainly isn't what Dan meant but I think if you want to discuss it further you should talk to him.

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A straw man. Against whom are you arguing here? General audience?

I am arguing against you. You said that they have a right to remain in existence. I am saying that no - they do not have the right to be free from their choice to exit existence. If they choose to die, then there does not exist some right to be free from their own bad choices, that must be enforced at the expense of the sacrifice of our lives. There is no such right as freedom from reality.

Ayn Rand said no such thing that it is immoral for people to stay alive when the conditions of their life are awful. It is not immoral to choose not to put your life in danger.

Yes - sometimes it is immoral to choose cowardice. As you can see, the bombs falling on you are quite dangerous so how is it choosing to not put your life in danger to not resist a dictatorship? That would only be a less dangerous choice if we were somehow morally obligated to not destroy threats to us because of such cowards. But we are not.

And who was ever saying otherwise?

You. You don't appear to grasp the scope of the incompatibility. You seem to think there exists a choice of doing nothing and staying alive in a dictatorship. That is not a choice. There exists no such choice, because the men of free nations are not required to sacrifice their lives to bring such a choice into existence.

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A statement " if you are fighting a moral war - the means are only a matter of tactic and not morality" implies that you have a right to use ANY amount of force regardless of circumstances as you are not bound by morality.

No, it does not mean that you have the moral right to use ANY amount of force regardless of circumstances. You are, in fact morally obliged to not use an inadequate amount of force. What you are morally required to do is use the amount of force that military tactics require to destroy the threat with minimum amount of loss to your side. Period.

Your idea that there is no morality binding the issue is a straw man - you are morally obligated to use what is tactically required - no more and no less.

And they are not free. They endure their environment every day. It does not mean that they don't have a right to stay in existance.

The point is clear: there is no "right to succumb to aggression", at least not to do so and go on drawing breath. If you choose to succumb to aggression, then you have forfeit your right to stay in existence. You do not have a right to shoot yourself in the head and stay in existence. You do not have a right to drink poison and stay in existence.

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There is no such right as freedom from reality.

I am not sure whom you are addressing because I have not been advocating such a thing.

There exists no such choice, because the men of free nations are not required to sacrifice their lives to bring such a choice into existence.

See my comment above.

No, it does not mean that you have the moral right to use ANY amount of force regardless of circumstances. You are, in fact morally obliged to not use an inadequate amount of force.

I think it was clear in what context I said ANY. I certainly did not mean less then required.

I am not going to further reply to your responses in this thread.

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I am not going to further reply to your responses in this thread.

If you're not going to give an honest attempt to understand me and continue to throttle straw men, then perhaps that is for the best. But note that I have not dismissed or ignored you. You have claimed that I have straw manned you but I have replied specifically to you in those cases and shown how that is in fact your position. Additionally, there have been several questions I have asked you that you have not answered. I asked these questions specifically because I thought they would untangle the talking past each other that is going on here so I am disappointed that you chose to ignore them.

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If you attempt to vanquish your dictatorship and fail, why would that mean you have to passively sit back and watch as foreigners ignite you and your loved ones?
You can dodge the bombs, but it would be immoral to kill Americans in your defense.
But wouldn't you agree with this (bold mine):
Nobody has to put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self-defense, for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent. When someone comes at you with a gun, if you have an ounce of self-esteem, you answer with force, never mind who he is or who's standing behind him. If he's out to destroy you, you owe it to your own life to defend yourself.
?

People have a right to want to survive - even the harshest of conditions. They don't have a duty to act as martryrs.
They don't have the right to buy that survival at the price of the violation of the rights of a free people.
If a peasant who (despite his best efforts) has not brought down his dictatorship decides to defends himself against an attacking American, wouldn't the dictatorship be the violator, not the peasant?

Nobody has the right to stay in existence when they act in defiance of existence.
A lot of people believe in God and wrap their entire life around this belief which is in defiance of existence. According to you they don't have a right to stay in existence.
I think Inspector means it more in the sense of; people do not have a right to be free from the consequences of their harmful choices and actions.
I am saying that no - they do not have the right to be free from their choice to exit existence. If they choose to die, then there does not exist some right to be free from their own bad choices.
I don't think it works in any of those senses either. It too closely parallels emergency ethics. E.g. I am taken hostage by 3 thugs, the authorities are going to shoot me in order to get to the thugs, I defend myself against the authority - would I be acting in defiance of existence, or the thugs? Would the moral consequences of the stabbing be upon me, or the thugs? Am I choosing to exit existence and die if I defend myself, or instead have the thugs chosen to die by initiating force in the first place?

IMO all the moreso if the "thugs" are a million-man totalitarian army and the "authority" soldiers of a rational foreign government...

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But wouldn't you agree with this (bold mine):?

That's actually not a bad question. If the situation was actually such then you would be right. But the situation is not such. As I will explain...

If a peasant who (despite his best efforts) has not brought down his dictatorship decides to defends himself against an attacking American, wouldn't the dictatorship be the violator, not the peasant?

Why would it be necessary to shoot at or kill Americans? Can you name an actual concrete situation where this would be necessary - where they can't just run or surrender?

I don't think it works in any of those senses either. It too closely parallels emergency ethics. E.g. I am taken hostage by 3 thugs, the authorities are going to shoot me in order to get to the thugs, I defend myself against the authority - would I be acting in defiance of existence, or the thugs? Would the moral consequences of the stabbing be upon me, or the thugs? Am I choosing to exit existence and die if I defend myself, or instead have the thugs chosen to die by initiating force in the first place?

In order to bring your metaphor fully into line with the situation at hand: imagine that you are a hostage. Imagine that you know that your captors are threatening to blow up bombs which will kill other people and have already killed several people who are outside the building. (i.e. the dictatorship is making war on its neighbors) They are also randomly executing hostages. (i.e. a dictatorship kills its citizens and you are by no means guaranteed survival if you stay put) You know that the police are coming and that they will likely have no choice but to open fire and you will probably get caught in the crossfire. (i.e. they may bomb the city you are in) Suppose you do have a gun and have tried to resist your captors but are so far unsuccessful. Bang! The door gets knocked down and the police start firing. Do you have a right to shoot at the police in "self-defense?"

The answer would be no - you can keep your head down and try to duck their bullets but it would be immoral to shoot back. Shoot your captors, not the police.

IMO all the moreso if the "thugs" are a million-man totalitarian army and the "authority" soldiers of a rational foreign government...

Yes, all the moreso if the thugs are a million man totalitarian army, since in that case the "police" can't tell you apart from your captors, and furthermore the police aren't your agents. They weren't hired to protect you. Unlike the police, whose job it is to protect the rights of citizens (of which you are one), a foreign army's job is not to protect the rights of non-citizens. It is to eliminate threats to its citizens. Which is why it is not a good idea IMO to bring up hostage scenarios and confuse the issue.

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Why would it be necessary to shoot at or kill Americans? Can you name an actual concrete situation where this would be necessary - where they can't just run or surrender?
Surrendering assumes a policy of accepting surrender from civilians - a policy you don't believe America is morally obligated to have? As for concretes:
  • If a plane were about to drop a nuke on a Hiroshima citizen, she might shoot at the plane on the one-in-a-billion chance that she might prevent her whole city being annihilated. Running from an imminent nuclear blast isn't too effective, nor is surrendering to the approaching pilot an individual's option.

Do you have a right to shoot at the police in "self-defense?"
You could just as easily ask if you have a right to run from the police in self-defense. But in answer to your question: no, for all intents and purposes. The policeman, as a matter of policy, isn't going to kill or torture you if you surrender. No promises with the attacking force of a rational foreign government, eh?

A foreign army's job is not to protect the rights of non-citizens. It is to eliminate threats to its citizens.
And you're saying that the job of a person under a dictatorship is to get free or die trying?

The chosen job of a father under a dictatorship may be to protect his children. Getting free may not be a simple matter with the children in tow (i.e. it may take longer than America is willing to wait), and dying isn't going to protect the little ones in any way.

I'm saying that if the Americans come over and kill this father and his family in the course of stopping the dictatorship, the moral onus is on the dictatorship, a statement I believe you'd agree with. But I would go further and say that if the father kills an attacking American (particularly if safe surrender isn't guaranteed), the moral onus is still on the dictatorship that has improperly brought two rational parties into conflict.

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Surrendering assumes a policy of accepting surrender from civilians - a policy you don't believe America is morally obligated to have?

Not in all cases. So no he would not have surrender as an option if the nuclear missile is enroute. Would he have a right to hack into US computers and sabotage the missile (assuming such a thing were possible, which it is not likely), thus sabotaging the US war effort and prolonging the dictatorship?

No. As I said: such questions start in media res. He had a responsibility to do something before it got to that point. He doesn't have a right to evade that responsibility at the cost of endangering American lives - much less openly attacking them. If you could find someone who was perfectly innocent of all such things then maybe you could convince me. But that is an exception within an exception. Some kind of super-rationalistic-not-gonna-happen thing.

No promises with the attacking force of a rational foreign government, eh?

No, not with bombing and such. So the course is clear: you'd better make a run for the border when war is declared. Preferably, well before that.

And you're saying that the job of a person under a dictatorship is to get free or die trying?

That I am. It would appear that I am not alone in this, given the ARI link.

The chosen job of a father under a dictatorship may be to protect his children. Getting free may not be a simple matter with the children in tow (i.e. it may take longer than America is willing to wait), and dying isn't going to protect the little ones in any way.

You know, dictatorships don't happen overnight. What the hell is he doing even having children in a dictatorship?

I'm saying that if the Americans come over and kill this father and his family in the course of stopping the dictatorship, the moral onus is on the dictatorship, a statement I believe you'd agree with. But I would go further and say that if the father kills an attacking American (particularly if safe surrender isn't guaranteed), the moral onus is still on the dictatorship that has improperly brought two rational parties into conflict.

I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which he is not at least partially responsible, through some earlier default in his responsibility to resist or escape, but I think largely this is true.

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Inspector is entirely correct in this issue. A moral country owes nothing to citizens of a dictatorship. Someone in that unfortunate situation should fight the dictatorship or get the hell out - preferably before the dictatorship gets around to threatening free countries.

Anyone left in the country at that point is either responsible for being there (i.e. chose not to fight, chose not to leave) or a victim of the dictatorship (i.e. was thrown ir prision or otherwise forcibly held in the country). The defending country owes them nothing.

It usually is, however, in the interest of the defending country to discriminate. To destroy the dictator and to free those he subjugated, when there is evidence that they actually want to be free. This is not, however, a limitation to that country's moral authority. If it is militarily necessary to anihilate the whole country, that is morally necessary. Frankly, I can't think of a situation where that would be the case. The defending country should never sacrifice its own people to serve the agressor's.

In the specific instance of Iraq, the Kurds are clearly worth freeing. They don't want to kill the Sunnis, they dont want to kill the Shi'a, they just want to be left alone. It would be no sacrifice of american soldiers to post them in defensive positions around Kurdistan, in support of Kurdish troops, with proper rules of engagement.

As for the rest of the country, Saddam has been removed, the military capability has been destroyed. Mission accomplished, time to get out and move on. To Iran. If the Iraqis want to kill each other, thats their problem (and always has been).

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I won't respond to your whole post, but there are a few points I'd like to make.

That I am. It would appear that I am not alone in this, given the ARI link.

This tactic is getting a bit tiresome. In a debate where several of the participants clearly do not toe the line with respect to Rand's opinions, this is a pretty useless argument.

You know, dictatorships don't happen overnight.

Germany would like a word with you.

What the hell is he doing even having children in a dictatorship?

Perhaps trying to make his life as happy as he can, under the circumstances?

I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which he is not at least partially responsible, through some earlier default in his responsibility to resist or escape, but I think largely this is true.

In this case, you are responsible for your refusal to either attempt to overthrow our government or to flee the United States and move to a freer country, such as Ireland.

Edited by Moose
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In this case, you are responsible for your refusal to either attempt to overthrow our government or to flee the United States and move to a freer country, such as Ireland.

There are countries that are mostly free, where it is worth it to stay and try to make them truly free. Then there are countries that are mostly or totally unfree, where the only realistic option is to fight, or leave. To the extent that America is unfree (taxes, regulation etc.) and that Inspector does not act to try to change it, he is responsible.

Myself even more so, for living in Brazil. Speaking only for myself, I'd be out of here long before our idiot of a president chose to threaten America, or another free-er country. But this place is not that bad yet and I still have hope that it can be turned around, and act accordingly.

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There are countries that are mostly free, where it is worth it to stay and try to make them truly free. Then there are countries that are mostly or totally unfree, where the only realistic option is to fight, or leave. To the extent that America is unfree (taxes, regulation etc.) and that Inspector does not act to try to change it, he is responsible.

Our country is much less free than it was when the Founders got together and decided to overthrow British rule. It can even be argued that we have our own royal family, with the way that some political families support each other and, seemingly, always hold high public office. I'm guessing most people aren't willing to join a fight to overthrow the US government, because they enjoy life in the United States more than they would enjoy dying in the process. It is possible, believe it or not, to value your life and family enough that you do not wish to risk getting killed by trying to overthrow a tyrant.

What you and Inspector are attempting to do is to mandate that everyone should behave according to what you would do in their situation. It is not up to you to tell someone whether or not he should risk his own life, in pursuit of a more moral government. It is not up to you to tell someone whether or not he should leave his home and loved ones, in pursuit of a freer continent.

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Our country is much less free than it was when the Founders got together and decided to overthrow British rule. It can even be argued that we have our own royal family, with the way that some political families support each other and, seemingly, always hold high public office. I'm guessing most people aren't willing to join a fight to overthrow the US government, because they enjoy life in the United States more than they would enjoy dying in the process. It is possible, believe it or not, to value your life and family enough that you do not wish to risk getting killed by trying to overthrow a tyrant.

What you and Inspector are attempting to do is to mandate that everyone should behave according to what you would do in their situation. It is not up to you to tell someone whether or not he should risk his own life, in pursuit of a more moral government. It is not up to you to tell someone whether or not he should leave his home and loved ones, in pursuit of a freer continent.

Not to answer for Inspector or Mrocktor, but I think you misunderstand their meaning. An individual can very well choose the "Uncle Tom" path to dealing with servitude. It is nicer to be a house slave, after all. You just can't be surprised and indignant if one of the field slaves takes you out during an escape attempt to make sure you don't notify the master.

In that scenario, the field slave is not responsible for the house slaves death even though he killed him. Ultimately the guilt and moral responsibility is with the slave owner alone. The owner is the individual responsible for creating the conflict of interest in the first place. The house slave does not have a "right" to be protected from the consequences of his choices. He voluntarily put himself in the situation where his interests were more aligned with the master then the slave while realizing the conflict of interest that existed.

The same is true of individuals everywhere tolerating oppression. They possess no right to evade the responsibility and consequences of an immoral choice in an imperfect world at someone else's expense. They can rightfully say, "it is wrong that I must make this choice", but that does not alleviate the responsibility of having chosen to support directly or indirectly a regime because it appeared to be in their best interests at the time.

Edited by aequalsa
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Not to answer for Inspector or Mrocktor, but I think you misunderstand their meaning. An individual can very well choose the "Uncle Tom" path to dealing with servitude. It is nicer to be a house slave, after all. You just can't be surprised and indignant if one of the field slaves takes you out during an escape attempt to make sure you don't notify the master.

In that scenario, the field slave is not responsible for the house slaves death even though he did him. Ultimately the guilt and moral responsibility is with the slave owner alone. The owner is the individual responsible for creating the conflict of interest in the first place. He does not have a "right" to be protected from the consequences of his choices. He voluntarily put himself in the situation where his interests were more aligned with the master then the slave while realizing the conflict of interest that existed.

The same is true of individuals everywhere tolerating oppression. They possess no right to evade the responsibility and consequences of an immoral choice in an imperfect world. They can rightfully say, it is wrong that I must make this choice, but that does not alleviate the responsibility of having chosen to support a regime because it appeared to be in their best interests at the time.

And I don't disagree. My main point in this thread has been about the needless killing of peripheral civilians, a la My Lai. Some people on this board have actually defended such principles, but it does appear that the thread has proceeded beyond that conversation.

I agree that people who put up with totalitarian countries must be prepared to suffer the consequences, if that country is invaded by a freer one. HOWEVER...the decision to put up with a totalitarian country is not necessarily an immoral one, if you have made the rational judgement that you can still lead a life worth living, such that you are unwilling to risk losing it completely in what will probably be an unsuccessful attempt at overthrowing it. Some people seem to be suggesting that, if you are born into a dictatorship, you have the moral responsibility to either fight it, leave it, or die trying. I'm saying...bullshit. It is each person's decision as to what to do with his own life and, given that he is prepared to suffer the possibly negative consequences of that decision, we have no place in demanding that he make a different one.

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