Non-interventionalism without Exception?

Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 6 months, 1 week ago to Philosophy
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An excerpt from a personal conversation that sprang from an article at the Ayn Rand Institute titled "New Ideal". I thought those here would find it interesting.

More than a few times when I was younger I inserted myself into situations where smaller or weaker kids were being picked on, beaten, by bigger kids. Yes, I put my welfare at risk to intimidate the thugs from beating the crap out of someone. Yes, on occasion I took my licks and gave them too (always ended up on top). I did this for no other reason than I couldn't walk by, turn a blind eye, to someone being victimized.

I get what the gist is with this article contends, truly. But what kind of people would we be if we could stand idlely by and watch comparatively helpless people be annihilated, butchered and dragged back in time by well armed thugs and do nothing, when we are strong enough to step in? What does that say about us to us?

I do subscribe to Jefferson;s non-interventionism for the most part. I have no desire to be the world police. I do not think its our place to get involved in every civil war everywhere, particularly when it come to profit motives. I think that will be our downfall. However, there are barbarous things happening in the 21st century that should have been extinguished two or more centuries ago. With instant communication permeating the world we can't not know of them, if we're not seeing them real time. And, when you know, particularly when you can actually help, how do you in good conscience not step in?


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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 6 months, 1 week ago
    When I was in high school I was much smaller than most of the other guys, which occasionally made me the target of bullies. I stood up to them, but it was the incident where I grabbed a guy bigger than myself by the throat and suspended him halfway out of an upstairs window for abusing a handicapped student that got me the greatest respect. Even though I was a nerd, I gained a reputation as someone not to be messed with.

    I always view intervention as an economic evaluation, but not in the monetary sense. Before deciding to get involved in someone else's business, you need to consider the long term result that occurs in your interest. Indifference to radical Islam's ventures in other lands does not go well for us, as world conquest is their goal. If we ignore their ventures elsewhere, they grow powerful and become a bigger problem we will eventually have to deal with. You also have to pick your fights. Eisenhower chose to stay out of Hungary's uprising in 1956, as he saw the result as a likely very dangerous clash with the USSR. Reagan, recognizing the increasingly fragile condition of our biggest enemy, chose to confront the USSR on behalf of its Eastern European vassal states, and the collapse accelerated,to the benefit of the world economy.
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 6 months, 1 week ago
    When we are indifferent to genocide, because it does not affect us directly or immediately, we are actually asking others not only to live, but to die, for our sake. Our long-term self-interest will benefit from a world where people are free to be productive and mutually respectful. Predatory practices, including enslaving, robbing, killing, exploiting others, lead to loss of freedom and individual rights. Accepting them without protest will eventually devour us, too. So it is in our rational self-interest to end those practices by persuasion, without sinking to their level of violence and barbarism.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
    The argument you are making is one I that used to agree with but is inconsistent with Galt's oath.
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    • Posted by  $  6 months, 1 week ago
      Hello JBrenner. Yes I do recognize that however there is a degree of conscience that each individual possesses, albeit some more than other, that compels intervention in such situations. I do agree that on a larger scale its not as cut and dry but the core remains, can we, as a people, as Americans, objectivists or not, knowingly stand by while genocide is occurring and we are in a position to do something to prevent it?

      I know this is an area where my Conservatism deviates from Objectivism.
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
        Ask yourself what benefits, if any, there would be to such intervention on behalf of an individual. If such intervention is going to have longer term substantial positive consequences for you, then it is in your best interest and is worth doing. Often that is the case. Stopping genocide, on the other hand, is not something that one person is likely to be something that you can control ... or benefit from, because the task is bigger than what one person can accomplish.
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        • Posted by  $  Solver 6 months, 1 week ago
          Genocide of individuals is very wrong for the world! It is in one’s self-interest to not have it.
          There is a difference between an individual carrying arms into battle vs their supporting the protests and people who would. (So long as it is voluntary.)
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
            Of course, genocide is wrong, but you must ask yourself whether it is in your self-interest to try to eliminate it. You are far more likely to wind up dead trying to stop it than you are likely to end genocide.
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            • Posted by  $  Solver 6 months, 1 week ago
              I do not feel that it is my duty to jump in and personally eliminate genocide. I would however choose to help the cause. What other individuals do is up to them.
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            • Posted by  $  6 months, 1 week ago
              Which is why as an individual something like genocide is too large an issue to confront directly alone. The scale is relative in my example. Yes, I have been known to get involved (confronting bullies, stopping at the side of the road to see if the person on the ground is okay) but on a large more global scale my voice chimes in whether we as a people get involved to not.

              While it wasn't at the forefront of my awareness at the time I served, I'm glad I stood to act should something which warranted our involvement arose. Conversely, I'm also thankful that nothing was tasked when I served that would have put my life more at risk than usual in the Navy.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 6 months, 1 week ago
    There are a few things that must be determined first. They can be done in an instant.For example: What's the top degree of violence on the part of the thugs? Do they have and are they using guns or knives? Getting beaten is one thing, getting killed is quite another. Nowadays with everyone owning a cell phone the police can be summoned pretty quickly. If, on the other hand, we are talking of nations, interference has such wide ranging consequences that interference would become detrimental rather than beneficial. The world is changing so rapidly that determining what action to take is a most difficult decision. I have always been a strong advocate of MYOB -- Mind Your Own Business. But in today's world you can be attacked even for that.The only thing that I can determine, whether yoiu're talking about a nation or a person is to be so strong, and make sure it is generally known of your strength that even the mightiest thug would hesitate before challenging you. Strength trumps intimidation every time. So that when you merely tell the thug to stop and back off, they'll do it or be forced to challenge you.
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  • Posted by jimjamesjames 6 months, 1 week ago
    All abusers are bullies. All wrong exercise from a position of power is bullying. I did child abuse investigations for the State of Wyoming for 15 years and my sister asked me once, "Why do you do that kind of job?" The question had not occurred to me. I thought a bit and concluded: "I hate bullies." All abusers are bullies and I'm proud to say I helped put a few in prison, one in particular, for 20 years.
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  • Posted by term2 6 months, 1 week ago
    I suppose one reason people intervene is in the expectation that it will encourage 1) others to do likewise iwhen i might be the victim , and 2) might make my life safer by discouraging the bullies from bullying ever again. When it came to annihilation if millions of Jews. I might help some escape but not likely I would engage SS guarfs
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 1 week ago
      There was also something written by someone named Niemoller (I don't know that it is copyrighted, but I saw it on the Internet), "They came for the Jews, and I did not protest, because I wasn't a Jew..." It is well known.
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      • Posted by  $  6 months, 1 week ago
        First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Socialist.

        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 1 week ago
          I believe that I have read that there were several different versions; also I think that it was originally not in English; I prefer "did not protest" to "did not speak up". Also, I think I remember "Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up because I was a Protestant." But anyway, the point is the same.
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          • Posted by  $  6 months, 1 week ago
            My understanding is that it was initially in poem format. I'm sure over the years that you are correct about several different versions. I'm positive it was not written in English, likely German since he was a German Protestant Priest.
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      • Posted by term2 6 months, 1 week ago
        Good point. In today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, it’s easier to have a big effect without so much risk as in earlier times. But the idea behind the quote u mention is that if you help the bullied, others will help you if YOU are bullied in the future
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 1 week ago
    Even though Ayn Rand said this country's government should protect "our national interest" (I think that is a direct quote), she also said that this country should have allies. I have gone out late at night to the pay phone (when pay phones were plentiful, and I didn't have a phone) to call the police when I thought someone was being attacked. If we don't maintain some solidarity with our fellow man against violations of his rights, the evil people will have things all our own way; and then, eventually, they will sugjugate us. This may sometimes entail some physical risk; but if you never do anything to fight evildoers, they will take over the world, and you, too.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 months ago
    The argument goes when you see someone committing a crime, there are four types of people: perpetrators, victims, bystanders, and helpers. People want to be a helper. The problem is you cannot help with all problems.

    It reminds me of these stories I'm reading about refugees who want to come to the US because their country completely disrespects their rights. I want to be a helper, but the solution cannot be for everyone to come to the countries like the US that don't have those issues. But going to those countries and trying to fix them doesn't work either. So I don't have easy answers. During my lifetime, though, to my non-expert view going and fixing their countries does not work. We spent all this money on Iraq, and it's not fixed. Latin America and Africa are better than they were, but my impression is the level of improvement seen in countries where US intervened is not higher than other countries. It seems to me like it doesn't work.

    But US is the de facto police of the world. When someone uses chemical weapon or invades a country, people expect the US to respond. Why us? That's a philosophical question. When the attack happens, like the gas attack in Syria, the US returns a proportional response regardless of who's president.
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