Re: Injustice

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 12:45:58 MDT

The debate over Elian is disgusting. While I typed this message, around
forty children died, thirty of them from starvation. Militarily, at
least, we have more than enough strength to go into those countries and
knock over the tinpot dictators. We don't. Why? Because it would
upset the international teapot, give the US a big honkin' black mark in
the UN's book, make *big* dictatorships like China extremely nervous,
and up the probability of nuclear war by a few points.

The rule of international law and the threat of nuclear war is what
keeps the US from rescuing all the little kids in China. If, for
reasons of either cowardice, or calculated risk, the US refuses to
decide that our system is best and invade every non-democratic country
on the planet, then children will continue to die, sacrificed in the
name of international law. And if we invade, kids will die too, of
course. I didn't say it was easy. In fact, I'm not even advocating a
decision one way or the other. But making a big fuss about Elian, that
innocent little telegenic child, while all over the planet people are
starving to death even as the politicos spew their sugar-coated horse
manure into the microphones, is pure headline-hungry hypocritical slime-grubbing.

If we took this opportunity to reevaluate, as a society, the moral pros
and cons of invading China, that'd be one thing. As it is, the whole
debate stems from the simple fact that no elected politician in this day
and age has the moral courage to stand up and say: "The little child,
Elian Gonzalez, must be sacrificed on the alter of international law.
If we, as a society, want to reconsider our decision to put peace above
innocent children, then we can do so afterwards."

--      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

                 Member, Extropy Institute
           Senior Associate, Foresight Institute

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