Re: If we do get Afghanistan, what shall we do with it?

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Tue Nov 20 2001 - 11:56:42 MST

> > > As laudable as these things are, we have absolutely no right to
> > > impose any system of government on Afghanistan or any other
> > > country.
> >
> > I thought you said you weren't a relativist. Some actions, including
> > some practices of government and/or culture, are both inherently evil
> > and inherently dangerous to the safety and well-being of others.
> I thought that you weren't for the US running the affairs of
> other nations. If you believe in sovereign states then it is
> not defensible to disrupt another state just because you do not
> like the way it is run.

Sovereign _individuals_ are more important than sovereign states.
A state that tramples the rights of its people has no right to exist.

> > It's a little harder to make a similar case for Afghanistan,
> > but the idea that there's _nothing_ they or any other nation
> > could do that would justify active intervention is nothing but
> > a total abrogation of the responsibility for self-defense.
> > If, for example, there were old Soviet nuclear weapons there,
> > we would be ethically required to use force to ensure that the
> > government set up there could properly deal with them, or else
> > we would have to remove them by force.
> I did not say that there was nothing they could do, etc. I said
> that there is no inherent right that we have to force our
> cultural values and governmental style on another sovereign
> nation. There is quite a large difference.

But only a relativist thinks all values are "cultural". Some
values are absolute, and a government that violates the rights
of its people has no right to sovereignty, even if 95% of the
people in that country want it that way. Freedom is an absolute
right of individuals, even those in an extreme minority or in
a foreign culture.

> Hmmm. Most of the old Soviet nuclear weapons are still in
> Russia and there is good reason to believe that they are not
> totally well-managed and safe today. Are we then ethically
> required to forcefully go in an seize these weapons before they
> come to harm?

If the Russian government destabilized to the point where
anti-US terrorists could get control of them, yes. Russia is
a bit messed up, but it's not that bad yet.

> > It is a difficult and unsolved problem in libertarian ethics
> > and politics to determine exactly when and under what conditions
> > an imminent threat or danger rises to the level to justify
> > defensive force; but there is such a level, and those judgments
> > do have to be made. Absolute dogmatic non-interventionism is
> > irrational and dangerous.
> Sure. As it is irrational and dangerous for us to go pull the
> splinter out of another country's eye while ignoring the beam in
> our own.

I've never argued otherwise. Indeed, I've prety consistently
argued that the US government is a criminal organization, and that
our foreign policy is stupid and inconsistent. But let's not go
from there to say that we must correct it by completely pulling
out of all foreign relations. We correct it by enforcing policies
that are more sensible and consistent, and some of those policies
can and will call for intervention in foreign governments, so long
as we do it sparingly and for the right reasons.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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