Saturday, June 03, 2006

Interesting discussion in progress

Right now I'm involved in a very interesting discussion on the Cornell Class of 2010 forums about international intervention. You can't see that, so I'll copy-paste my last post here - I think it's easy enough to figure out what the other people have said from what I'm saying.

Alright, first let me say that I think y'all are taking two things for granted that shouldn't be:

1. The US government and its budget will always be inconceivably large, so that strength should be used for good purposes. I don't think any of you have considered a situation in which the government was miniscule.

2. There is a universal definition of altruism. For example, you and I might agree that distributing condoms in poor countries is altruistic. A priest, however, would disagree, and it is wrong to use his money to distribute those condoms - just as it is wrong to use my money for missionary work. That's why privatizing charity makes a lot more sense than it being the US government's job. (Besides, when donated money goes through government, a lot of it gets siphoned off in the bureaucracy - completely overtly. Charities are accountable to their donors, however, so they don't do that.)

Now, one person at a time:

Alana: I don't think the US government has a moral duty to anyone outside the United States. All of you seem to take it for granted that it does - I'd like to know why.

You then ask if we don't help people in need, who will help us when we are in need? I'm not repudiating altruism in general, only altruism done by the theft of money from people (ie taxpayers). If taxes were dramatically reduced, people could give more of their own money to causes which they believe in (ie the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - more people could do that sort of thing.) And, I think the recent natural disasters have shown that they will; I'm sure everybody's high schools collected money for Katrina relief. When wildfires almost destroyed Cross Plains, a small town in West Texas, a fund immediately sprang up at my HS to help it, and we were able to do some real good.

Jared: If they're stationed on this side of the border, they're not involved in other countries. I think you meant something else by that, but I'm not quite sure what it was so I'll stick to what you actually said.

You'll also note that I never said the government should do exactly what the majority of people demand. I said that the people should be left to do what they want, within the bounds of the rights of others. If people really want to stop a genocide, they can raise a private army (it's easier than you might think) and go over there and deal with it - those are the mercenaries Mike is talking about.

Justin: Points numbers 1 and 2 I've already dealt with above.

As for point number 3, I know the precedent has already been set, but I'd rather that it hadn't, and I don't think we should be extending it.

I pretty much agree with almost everything Justin and Jared said in their second posts.

Douglas: You brought up abortion, which as it's a controversial issue is in the right place in this thread, so I'll go ahead and open up another Pandora's box and state my position on abortion, which can be extrapolated from my position on charity above:

I've yet to see adequate evidence from either side as to when a zygote actually becomes human. At this point I think it's when the primitive streak emerges, but there really needs to be more research done. Thus I don't think abortions (besides late-term ones which aren't done to save the mother) should be banned at this point, but I don't think taxpayer money should be used for them either.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's your stance on the birth control pill, as well as the inane controversy over Plan B?

10:26 PM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

None of my business, none of the government's business.

9:16 PM  

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