Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Prime Directive

While perusing multifarious leftist memes, I often encounter someone whinging about American support of horrific governments around the globe. To wit:
…this article fails to mention how some of the allies our right wing buddy in the white house is paying (TAX DOLLARS) to be on our "coalition of the willing", violate human and civil rights. Let's see a report from the State Department:

"Uzbekistan routinely tortures detainees and some have died in custody. Eritrea has ended freedom of the press and restricts religious freedom. Azerbaijan arbitrarily detains dissidents and rigs elections. Significant violations are noted in such other coalition members as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Macedonia, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. In all seven, the overall human rights situation was rated as poor."
The whole argument seems Pollyannaish to me for a couple reasons:

First, it seems these pundits would have us believe that it is U.S. influence that perpetuates the existence of governmental evil and civilian hardship in the world community. I consider this a chicanery at best. Come on! We have been in the muck for the better part of what, one or two million years? Civilization is a blip in time by comparison and the kind of information exchange we’ve got going now is so new that the umbilical cord is still attached. The evolutionary mix of technology and philosophy and culture that has produced this situation is by no means a mere exercise in political fiat. It lives on a knife edge, and that we should expect it to exist everywhere in the world – right now dammit! – is an eye-roller.

Which brings me to my second reason: What is the best we can hope to accomplish? I submit that the best we can hope to do is to attempt to place incentives here and there, leading less developed nations to discover, by their own volition, the incredibly sophisticated, iterative evolution of systems and ideas that have produced our wealth and prosperity. Were the U.S. a socialist Mecca, I imagine the call to liberate the nations of the world would be legion. Look at the left’s support of Kosivo or their recent pressure to go into Liberia. “Socialists are often pacifists,” you say? Tell Anastasia Romanov or the 23 children on the 13 de Marzo. My point is, the exigencies of geopolitics are too vast and convoluted to control short of world empire, so our incentives and attempts to curry favor or provide balance are often the best we can do and we do it with the knowledge that it will sometimes fail. It is a non-invasive approach.

posted by Malaclypse the Tertiary at 3:02 AM ·

Smart Blogs:
(in no particular order)
Deinonychus Antirrhopus
The Knowledge Problem
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Kolkata Libertarian
Andrew Sullivan
Little Green Footballs
Dave Barry
Libertarian Samizdata
Balloon Juice
Discount Blogger
Truck and Barter
Peking Duck
The Gweilo Diaries

Ludwig von Mises Institute
The Cato Institute
Junk Science
David Friedman
Tech Central Station

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