The Atrocity of Hope, Part 11 By Roderick on April 28, 2011 50 Charles Davis on Paul vs. Obama. Democracy, Left and Right, Left-Libertarian, Terror
Stupid, yet common, conflation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Psychologize about ulterior motives all you like. It doesn’t change that the leader of the latter country was promising genocide.
Wait. Ron Paul doesn’t want anything to do with international efforts to stop genocide, but he’ll make liberals care about the murder of non-Americans again? Hmmm…
“international efforts to stop genocide” is just a euphemism for military crusader do-gooding. Once you’ve started, at what point do you decide to stop the bombing, and what do you do about the collateral damage, ie. innocent people killed? Once they’re dead, they can’t ever be brought back to life, and you’ve killed them. Not the hobgoblin you’re trying to destroy.
Libya is for the Libyans. It is their country, and they must solve their own problems.
Right, stopping genocide is merely a way to signal good intention.
Say that the Canadian Prime Minister opens up extermination camps and starts offing a million Canadians a week. Your policy is: absolutely no intervention. Never again! will we try to stop genocide.
That’s correct. It would be a Canadian problem. Nice scenario by the way. I’m glad you didn’t use an impossibly absurd worst case scenario.
It’s logically possible. That’s all that matters. I’m interested in how you stand in the Space of Reasons, not the Space of (probable) Causes.
The line of reasoning that goes: “if ain’t in our front yard, then we stay put no matter what” is, I think, unethical. It assumes Randroid self-interest. And no matter how many times she applies the word ‘ethical’ to that position, it doesn’t make it so.
So you have no problem with killing innocent people in order to prevent others from killing innocent people?
My position in the space of reasons is that by condescending to judge the Libyan situation from a normative standpoint — Gaddhafi is wrong, his enemies are right — you are putting yourself in the place of God. And you’re doing the same thing when you believe you can, through the use of military violence, impose a just solution to the situation. How do you know which side is right and which side is wrong? It’s not your country. You know next to nothing about the politics of the region, not having grown up there, and you have no personal stake in what happens there. How do you know Gaddhafi’s replacements wouldn’t be worse than he is? And if they are, you helped them get into power. And you killed anyone who stood in your way. Now, how are you any better than Gaddhafi?
Regardless of the reason, you’re simply using humanitarian do-gooder rhetoric to justify an offensive attack on foreign soil which will result in the same crimes that you claim you want to stop. If the entire world was to go to war every time they were tired of a dictator, or to take sides in every single conflict world wide, the potential result would be another catastrophe like World War 2 every few years.
Rothbard said all this much better than I can in his talk “Two Just Wars“, which references Isabel Paterson’s essay “The Humanitarian with the Guillotine“. There’s just no way to weasel out of the logic of that essay. Written version of the Rothbard talk.
PS. I’ve never read Rand, and know almost nothing about her, other than she led some kind of weird cult. But she had to endure growing up in a socialist paradise, so she’s forgiven.
I don’t see how that follows from what I said. Members of a military actively engaged in murdering their own people are not innocent. Do you want to say that they are? — To make matters worse, the military is murdering their people because they won’t recognize the regime’s power. Whether they intend it or not, the people enter a form of agorism, and are slaughtered for it. How are the slaughterers innocent?
That’s only the case if cultural relativism is true. And I’m sure that’s fine in LvMI-world. But really, all I have to do is stick with the NAP consistently. Is that playing God?
The people of Libya decide to withdraw consent from the government. The government then uses force against the people to ensure their obedience. The government therefore violates the NAP. That makes the government wrong.
How do you not? LvMI nihilism at its finest.
Rand might oppose intervention (if she opposed it) on the grounds that it would get US enforcers killed. She would celebrate any killing and terrorism done by US enforcers though, as long as they could find a way to do it selfishly.
You’re not following the NAP if you overlook this. Now you’re killing those you’ve sided with, which is what you’ve accused Gaddhafi of doing. And now you’re no better than he is.
Well, duh. What does that have to do with what we’re talking about? You know u.s. troops have been killing a lot of civilians in Libya, right?
Of course I’m not OK with civilian deaths, but I wouldn’t have ruled out an invasion of Auschwitz if I knew some German civilians might die. Would either of you?
No I would not invade, but I would have negotiated an immediate cease-fire and then accepted all the Jews Germany could send me.
And what after Hitler says nein?
He doesn’t. The Nazis would have negotiated peace with everyone except the Soviets (but not on terms of unconditional surrender, which is why the Allies demanded those unreasonable terms).
So as long as you can get, what 50% of the Jews out you’ll settle?
Well, I can’t stop atrocities, without committing the same atrocities myself, because I’m not God. So any saving of life works better for me than committing atrocities as an excuse to “do something about it”.
You can’t stop atrocities without committing the same atrocities yourself? Is that your rule of thumb? ‘Cause there’s nothing logically necessary about that rule. All you’re providing are excuses that function to reify ego-centrism. Is it logically impossible for covert operatives to capture Nazi commanders that agree to shut down the extermination camps? Is it logically impossible to accomplish those ends without putting a Nazi in an oven?
So what is your principle for determining how many murders you can commit in order to prevent how many? (Assuming it’s not just a utilitarian numbers game.)
In any case, the two examples don’t seem very closely analogous.
Rule of thumb for what? That was the example you were defending, no?
Well, that’s mighty white of you.
Would you consider it a defeater for your planned invasion of Auschwitz if the overwhelming majority — something like 70%-90% — of the people that you would be killing in the process of your invasion were the Jewish prisoners you were allegedly trying to liberate?
If not, what would you possibly consider a defeater for a putatively “humanitarian” invasion? If so, then do you not consider it a defeater for Kinetic Military Action in Libya? For any reason other than deliberating in a Patriotically-Correct fantasyland with no cognitive connection to the realities of modern aerial warfare and “humanitarian interventions”?
My principle doesn’t depend on murdering anyone. I believe that one is obligated to put the most proportional pressure possible on the most significant people possible. So I think that when we learn that x is exterminating y, our first obligation is to apply the most powerful pressure possible to reverse the unconscionable events. If that’s not sufficient, then (2) I believe we ought to maneuver to gain the most possible leverage to reverse the unconscionable events. This doesn’t include murder, but merely swarming sites and infiltrating inner circles. If that’s not sufficient, then and only then (3) act in vicarious self-defense on behalf of the victims. Do so in a proportional way (Long, 2011).
If (3) results in the death of innocent civilians, then (3) may properly be viewed as a failure, but the failure is the particular instantiation of (3) — not (3) per se. So if one wants to condemn this particular manifestation of (3), then I see no problem with that. If one wants to condemn (3) as a tool to prevent genocide, then I see plenty of problems.
I’m not defending this particular manifestation of (3), only the decision that (3) was appropriate to prevent genocide.
If I accuse you of being for the murder of toilet-users, and you tell me that you’re against the murder of toilet-users, then I would take your defense in context. Your welcome to take mine out of context, though it wouldn’t be very intellectually honest.
Certainly, but that would be an argument against that particular manifestation of (3), not an argument against (3) per se.
I don’t know the numbers, but a single civilian death opens this manifestation of (3) up to being — justifiably –considered a failure. Even severely injuring a civilian would open up this manifestation of (3) to being — justifiably — considered a failure. But no amount of screw-ups in a particular mission count as arguments against (3) per se.
In case it’s not clear, the means belonging to (1) are reason and negotiation. The means belonging to (2) are axillary and internalize-able structuring. The means belonging to (3) is the minimum necessary self-defense (if possible, based on Aikido principles).
(2) is only justifiable when (1) fails. (3) is only justifiable when (2) fails or there isn’t enough time for (2).
The “context” of your statement was the “… but here’s why my nominal opposition to ‘civilian deaths’ has no effect on endorsing civilian-massacring humanitarian wars.” This is the same kind of “Of course… but…” crap that everyone says about government wars and it’s always the part that comes after the “but” that’s practically efficacious, never the part that comes after the “Of course.” If it weren’t for that specific sentential context I wouldn’t have made the snarky remark in the first place.
As a side note, erasing your agency by referring to “civilian deaths” is also a typical rhetorical move. It makes sense on the internal logic of consequentialism (because consequentialism reduces moral agency to the vanishing point) but that’s one of the problems with consequentialism. The specific question is not whether you are “OK with civilian deaths” (as if it were a matter of balancing a ledger to find out whether action or inaction would lead to more of those) but whether you’re OK with killing them yourself, or with calling on others to kill them for you.
I agree with you about that. I don’t typically endorse moral failures, or plans which are almost guaranteed to be moral failures. But that’s why I don’t endorse government wars.
O.K. So it sounds like we are going with “Patriotically Correct fantasyland” here. I agree that there are some logically possible worlds in which a war against the Libyan government would not be decisively defeated by moral considerations. (Say that Captain America drops in and personally beats the hell out of Momar Gaddhafi without injuring any civilians, of whatever allegiances, in the process.) The question is how remote those possible worlds are from @. In the actual world we inhabit, where the normal laws of physics apply and no known military has Captain America at their disposal, there is no way that modern governments engage in this kind of Kinetic Activity without dropping large bombs on large urban targets from several thousand feet in the air, and in the actual world we inhabit there is no way to go around dropping large bombs on large urban targets from several thousand feet in the air without massacreing a lot of civilians — indeed, making it so that the overwhelming majority of people you kill will be civilians.
OK. My point though is that the prewar situation in Libya opened the door to (3) if the international forces could execute without mistakes. The prewar situations in Iraq and Afghanistan did not open the door to (3).
“Stupid, yet common, conflation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. ”
I’m happy to know that a radical like yourself is there to defend the state when it counts.
I’m not defending the state. I’m defending proportional response per se (Long, 2011). It counts against your supposed anti-statism if you can’t disentangle the two.
Whatever you have to tell yourself to make peace with your own internal inconsistencies – all I’m saying is that many of the stances in your previous replies on this blog make a lot more sense in the context of the defense you’ve provided here.
Look. It all boils down to Molinari vs. Rothbard. I side with Molinari in the belief that government doesn’t entail the state. For me, it’s a matter of common sense. For others, it’s idiosyncratic and threatening to the almighty “anarchy”.
How is the difference between Molinari and Rothbard (on this point) any more than terminological?
Terminology causes framework. If one uses Rothbard’s framework, then one also takes on tactical assumptions. Through that framework, one would, and likely tries to, “press the button” to end federal, state, and local governments all at once. If one uses Molinari’s framework, then one doesn’t take on that assumption. I find Rothbard’s framework too rigid and too restricting. With Molinari’s framework, we can take out all Silence without a high risk of ruining infrastructure via mass and long-lasting cognitive distress.
Molinari uses “government” as the name for the genus, “free government” as the name for the favoured species, and “monopolistic government” and “communistic government” as names for the disfavoured species.
Rothbard uses “protection” or “law” or “defense” as the name for the genus, “private protection agency” or “private defense agency” as the name for the favoured species, and “government” or “state” as the name for the disfavoured species.
I can’t see how this difference has any tendency to generate support for different methods. Molinari and Rothbard each believe in a genus of legal services that has competitive (good) and noncompetitive (bad) species.
The Molinari framework suggests that the current monopolistic government is just the wrong species of it’s genus. The Rothbard framework suggests that the current monopolistic government isn’t even a species of the right genus.
So there’s a genus that has a right species and a wrong species. And they agree on that. But what they disagree on is whether the genus itself is “right”? What does that mean?
Or maybe you’re saying that Rothbard denies that monopolistic and competitive protection services even share a genus. But he doesn’t deny that. He says that he opposes monopolistic provision of protection services and favours their competitive provision. If you think Rothbard denies that monopolistic provision of protection services and competitive provision of protection services are species of the genus provision of protection services, you’re going to have to provide some evidence.
The latter is closer to what I’m saying. But he doesn’t have to explicitly deny that monopolistic government and competitive government are different species of the same genus. I think the terminology you provide is sufficient to show that Rothbard’s framework is fuzzy here and Molinari’s is precise.
I don’t see the fuzziness. The two are making exactly the same distinctions; they’re just using different terms. Admittedly Rothbard’s terms are longer. But surely you don’t think that fuzziness increases with the number of letters!
I mean, in one — classical — sense Rothbard’s framework is more precise. He analyzes the trees. Molinari analyzes the forest. But when it comes to prescription, Molinari has a picture of the forest in view to start, Rothbard has a zero-point “after the revolution.” I want Molinari’s framework because it starts from sense and concept; Rothbard starts merely from concept. Isn’t that why you have to supplement Rothbard with a dose of Wittgenstein?
But Molinari needs even more supplementing. He’s much more of an empiricist, a consequentialist, and a psychologician than Rothbard. In any case, I’m not sure how that’s relevant to this particular issue, or what you mean about trees and forest
Well, I’m talking solely within the perspective taken for prescription. Molinari takes the sense of an interactive world with governments and applies the concept of anti-monopoly to that sense. Rothbard inputs a concept of anti-monopoly and wants it applied.
You say it, but I don’t see it.
You say that Rothbard uses protection/law/defense for the genus. These are all aspects of the high-level organizations most people call governments. But if Rothbard insists on “protection services”, then he’s only picking out one aspect of the reference. The reference engages in all kinds of other services too (legitimately or not). So Rothbard doesn’t account for the genus already there. Molinari does.
But Rothbard’s focus on aspects isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Talk about “government” encourages the idea that legislation, courts, and police all have to be packaged together as part of the same service (when it’s actually rather dangerous to have your court provider be identical with your police provider). Decomposing the service into its subordinate aspects makes for greater clarity.
In the Middle Ages, the roles of barber and surgeon were combined in the barbator. If they had had debates about how the barbator industry should be structured, their terminology might well have blinded them to the possibility that the combination of the two roles shouldn’t be regarded as inevitable.
Oh, I agree. Rothbard’s better with the underlying form and distinctions (I sloppily abbreviated that as “classical” mode of thinking and “analyzing the trees” in previous comments, but we mean the same thing). Molinari’s better at evaluating the big picture (the “romantic” mode of thinking, seeing the forest, etc.).
If I were looking to prompt a paradigm shift, I’d want to start with eyeglasses, not a scalpel. To start: I’d want the broadest, most complete sense possible, revealing all the knots and inefficiencies just as they are. If I start with the scalpel (definitions ready-made and no variables) then I’d worry about whether I’m even in the right operating room.
So if he makes the distinctions, he wins the Trees award but loses the Forest award. And if he doesn’t make the distinctions, he wins the Forest award but loses the Trees award. Those are weird rules.
Those are weird rules, but I’m not saying that.
A paradigm shift happens in the structure of thought. I don’t think that slicing and dicing is a sufficient mode of thought by itself. It has to be supplemented, at least, with a manifold-capturing mode. Rothbard is missing the latter when it comes to identifying the complete situation. I suggest that Molinari employs that mode, to my knowledge, better than anyone else.
Can we get back to what’s important here? Namely getting the Canuckian government to off those effing Canucks so that the US can occupy the place and I don’t need to go through the border rigamarole to visit Vancouver.
When Leopold II King of the Belgians decided to make the Congo (modern day Zaire) his personal fiefdom, he did so under the cloak of ending the slave trade. There really was a slave trade at the time, Tippu Tip and all that, but an estimated 10 million deaths later Leopold’s “help” didn’t seem so good. But, seriously, who could oppose establishing a protectorate in Africa to fight slavery?
MBH, if you’re proposing that the state intervene then you’re defending statism. If you’re proposing that you and whoever else you can gather together by voluntary means should intervene, using your own resources, then have at it and face the consequences of your actions.
Even in panarchy, sets of governments could justifiably act on (3) if the execution is sufficient.
So how is this relevant to justifying the actual invasion under the actual circumstances?
I’m not trying to justify the actual invasion. I’m merely making the case that the actual circumstances justify a proportional response. Given the civilian deaths, it’s hard to see how the actual invasion qualifies as proportional.