On Non-Intervention (Again)


When you portray Russia’s aggression vs their neighbor as defensive and just, you’re engaging in justification (ie deception).

If you want to make the case against American intervention (really ^continued non-intervention as the help Ukrainians have been pleading for has been minimal) then make it without deception. It should have everything to do with the cost of such a conflict and the need for Ukrainian self-reliance. I make the latter point here. The case should have nothing to do with Russia protecting Russian speakers, or their interests, or anything else because as far as their political system goes, it is immoral and has, for centuries, dragging surrounded civilizations into poverty and corruption.

I sympathize with your view, partly. As an American, I am also wary of endless militarism. I’ve written about this many times. But as I pointed out during my lecture at PFS 2011 – http://www.vimeo.com/user4741660 – there is a libertarian case for war in places where people want your protection. If my neighbor was being raped, I would not maintain a policy of non-intervention. Liberty and property rights have a cost. Who will bear that cost?

Libertarian ideology is grossly misguided where it assumes non-aggression is sufficient. A commons / social norms / legal norms exist and must be defended as one would defend property . . . . defended with violence.

AGGRESSION VS HARM VS COST (via +Curt Doolittle)

1 – I have no agreement with you, and therefore no constraint.
2 – I will not aggress against you.
3 – I will not cause you harm.
4 – I will not cause you to bear a cost.
5 – I will bear costs of reciprocal insurance.

Non-aggression alone leaves open unethical, immoral, and conspiratorial action. Harm leaves open the problem of relative costs — ie the costs of prohibiting criminal, unethical, immoral, and conspiratorial action of all kinds.

I think the jury is still out on the question of scale. Should we say that you bear the cost of reciprocal insurance for your neighbor, but not for your neighbor’s neighbor, or should the scope be universal. It’s a question of strategy, I suppose.