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

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 18:57:05 -0700


I try to concentrate on the interesting examples. :)

The Somalian situation is another case where "cultural relativism", in the
sense that some people use it, i.e. "all cultures are equal", really sets
my teeth on edge.

Saying it's OK for Somalian warlords to be the way they are because they've
been that way for thousands of years ("that way" meaning "hard bastards",
in a culture where being a "hard bastard" is held up as an ideal just the
way "anyone can be President" is held up in the USA)--only now they've got
Western-style "force multipliers" like jeeps, armor plate and full-auto
firearms, so they can starve *even more* people, hoard _even more_ loot
than they ever used to be able to... Well, it boggles my mind.

So does shipping emergency aid in such a way as to virtually guarantee it
won't get to the people who need it, which is the way aid programs are
almost always run.

So does thinking that one can _convince_ the "hard bastards" to change
their stripes en masse by _reasoning with them about what's fair_ for a few
hours every once in a while.

I am not convinced that any intervention less than forced, or funded (i.e.,
"baby buying", illegal here but (ironically) accepted in parts of the third
world) exportation & adoption of the next generation of Somalian children
would "work"... even then there might turn out to be a partially-heritable
disposition to what we in this world might call antisocial behavior.

And I'm not proposing such exo-adoption. Just pointing out that "give a man
a fish" doesn't even work if all the man will do with the fish is throw it
on the ground, even if his starving child _might_ have eaten it... :\

_Engineer Peace_(a service mark of C-CAL). Don't just visualize it. Eliezer
is trying, I'm trying; I suspect GBurch is trying.

I like diversity, but diversity like _suttee_? I don't think so.

Just call me a bleeding-heart libertarian.

Director, C-CAL

> 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?
> certain and immediate result, should we not intervene with cultures
> who have the same lacking?

The problem here is the tarlike nature of "intervention" as currently
practiced. What I think of as intervention and what Hillary Clinton (or
Janet "Easy-Bake" Reno) thinks of as intervention are two very different

>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 sure. That's why I still watch _The Day the Earth Stood Still_.

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

Neither was TMA-0. :)

> Rick

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