Re: Free-Markets: Extro-Nazi's or Extro-Saints?

Rick Knight (
13 Sep 97 21:47:24 CST

Michael Butler wrote:

The very real experience of people starving to death in Somalia, to
name another example, includes as causes the fact that some Somalians
with guns are starving other Somalians without guns, and the fact that
some Somalians don't consider fish to be people food, and will starve
rather than eat the unfamiliar stuff. Both of these are cultural; to
change them would require "cultural imperialism", which we are told is
a bad thing. Do cultures have rights, or do people?

Rick Knight responds:

I find this to be an interesting example because of its philosophical
implications (sucker for a good quandry). To the question, "Do
cultures have rights or do people?" I must ask, if people are
programmed to believe a certain thing and that is all they can
comprehend (without sufficient time and communication to change their
thinking) is their perception more important than their physical life?
Do we let a baby's hand stray toward a hot burner so that it can
assuredly learn the lesson of heat damage to human flesh? Or do we
wish to protect the baby's hand from damage and moreover the child
from pain. If our instinctual parenting directive is to protect
against lack of experience and knowledge where physical damage is a
certain and immediate result, should we not intervene with cultures
who have the same lacking? Logically, would we not want a superior
off-world culture to intervene had an event like the Cold War
substantially heated up?

I'm not a fervent believer in the Prime Directive as you can tell...