We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Olé!

The whole point of tolerance is to tolerate things you find repugnant. Tolerance does not mean acceptance however, so just because you tolerate something ignorant or repugnant, that does not mean you need to refrain from heartfelt criticism of it. However tolerance needs to be conditional: tolerance of intolerance is irrational when that the aim of that intolerance is to deny tolerance to you.

And so whilst I am ambivalent at best about bullfighting, and I did watched a few in my younger years, I found myself shouting “¡Olé!” after reading these remarks by an 11 year old matador Michelito Lagravere Peniche:

“The bullfighting opponents shouldn’t stick their nose in things they don’t like,” he said ahead of his record attempt. “No-one is forcing them to watch bullfights or to keep informed about them. It’s as if I told a boy who does motocross not to do it, it’s very bothersome.”

I would not mind if all bullfighting opponents did was to be vocal critics, but the moment they started to try and use the law to ban this ancient Mithraic sport, they crossed the line from being critics to being thugs.

45 comments to Olé!

  • Stephan

    Not to mention running of the bulls! The same basic self righteous assholes call for its banning all the time for the same reasons…And get listened to sadly.. I havent seen any bull fights but I did have a delightful opportunity to participate in a bull run while in Mexico, didnt personally notice and abject cruelty, aside from that imposed by the bulls themselves upon any poor, frequently drunk bastards too slow to move their feet fast enough..

  • It’s a typically balmy Sunday here in northern Mexico – home to old Hispanic customs.

    After lunch, en famille, I shall sit in front of my large screen TV and flick to Univision, on Sky channel 204, for live bullfights from the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City. A card of six bulls should be in offing, each with a natural opportunity to gore and trample a human tormentor.

    Great stuff!

  • Peter Melia

    I was once invited to a private box at a bullfight in Spain.
    Impeccable hospitality, but after the first fight, I made my excuses and left. It wasn’t my cup of tea.
    The boy bullfighter could well be advised to think of a better analogy than motocross. I’ve never heard of a motorbike being ritually slain.

  • Martin Weston

    I’ve never heard of a motorbike being ritually slain.

    So? Not sure why that matters.

  • I’ve also heard of an attempt to end bear baiting, which is still practiced in parts of Pakistan apparently. And I’m not allowed to raise a pit bull terrier to serve its natural purpose. Talk about political correctness gone mad.

  • I’ve never heard of a politician being ritually slain.

    Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.

  • I’ve never heard of a politician being ritually slain. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen.

    Thread hero :-)

  • RRS

    Tolerance is love sick with the sickness of haughtiness

    Ghibran

  • Tolerance is what stops me killing a hell of a lot of people I really really do not like because I would rather they did not try to kill me

    Perry de Havilland

  • I’ve never heard of a politician being ritually slain.

    erm.. you haven’t?

  • Laird

    However tolerance needs to be conditional: tolerance of intolerance is irrational when that the aim of that intolerance is to deny tolerance to you.

    Perry, how is that statement different from the one I made here recently in another thread (“A Dutch Disgrace”):

    Free speech is a fundamental right in a free society, but in my mind it includes a necessary element of reciprocity. Voltaire’s famous epigram “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” carries within it the unspoken caveat “. . . provided that you will do the same for me.”

    That one triggered a long debate. Is it your position that we can (and should) be “intolerant of intolerance” individually, but that it is inappropriate to do so collectively (i.e., through our social institutions)? If one is to be rational, and thus intolerant of others’ intolerance, how is that “rational intolerance” to be implemented when the other party’s unacceptable version of “intolerance” is expressed through speech?

    I’m not trying to be contentious here; I just want to understand the points you are making in these two threads.

  • Tolerating what daft things people think is the basis of a viable society. But when they take actions to prevent you from holding your views by force, that is intolerable.

    For example if Muslims want to live by their benighted book, well whatever… but the moment some start trying to impose their views on other backed by force, then the ones advocating that become intolerable.

    But I don’t see why that means other muslims who are content to mind their own business automatically become my enemies.

  • RPW

    “I’ve never heard of a politician being ritually slain.”

    Pim Fortuyn?

    As to the original post, I have to say I’m not sure why a belief in freedom means you’re not supposed to object to the sight of living creatures being tortured to death for entertainment, but different strokes for different folks I suppose.

  • As to the original post, I have to say I’m not sure why a belief in freedom means you’re not supposed to object to the sight of living creatures being tortured to death for entertainment

    So in the original article, I guess you missed…

    I would not mind if all bullfighting opponents did was to be vocal critics

    So object all you like.

  • I’ve been expecting Perry to step back his remarks somewhat, as they seem obviously wrong to me, but he hasn’t and so I’ll question them in the hope that I’ll learn something. How does your vision of tolerance deal with the problem of genocide, an activity that another country (or even your own, I imagine) could carry out within its own borders entirely legally? Is it acceptable to tut our disapproval, but better we let millions die than actually do something about it?

    To be clear, I don’t think somebody who ignores genocide in Rwanda, Sudan or anywhere else is culpable, or even a bad person. But I don’t think their silence is a virtue, either

  • RPW

    “So object all you like.”

    But only the people who are in favour of it are entitled to have their prejudices defended by the law? Hmm. I really don’t see what’s so radically objectionable about peaceful protest, lobbying, etc. with the view of achieving a change of the law if the majority of society deems it be a public good so to do. If the fans of the corrida are so sure that what they are doing is right and good, then why not have the debate?

    Speaking personally, I self identify as a libertarian 90% of the time, and agree with much of what this site has to say, but it’s this sort of thing that prevents me from crossing over the other 10% (no great loss to the cause, I realise). I really just don’t see why torturing living creatures to death for fun counts as a fundamental human right.

  • Laird

    For example if Muslims want to live by their benighted book, well whatever… but the moment some start trying to impose their views on other backed by force, then the ones advocating that become intolerable.

    OK so far; please keep going. I am interpreting (I think fairly) your use of the word “force” here to include state action (force by proxy, as it were). So, if Muslim activists seek to impose their views on the rest of us by influencing the political process (street riots, threats or implied threats, etc.) such that government officials and courts are increasingly “tolerant” of such Muslims’ intolerance and begin to limit our right to critizice them in return (c.f. Geert Wilders, speech codes, etc.), what is our proper response?

  • RPW: the real question here is: do animals have rights similar to humans, particularly a right to life. This is a real and serious question, and has been seriously discussed at length on this forum. Personally, and as someone who loves (some) animals, and who wouldn’t go see a bullfight for anything, my answer is still “no, they don’t”.

  • But only the people who are in favour of it are entitled to have their prejudices defended by the law?

    You mean their property rights I assume?

    Hmm. I really don’t see what’s so radically objectionable about peaceful protest, lobbying, etc. with the view of achieving a change of the law if the majority of society deems it be a public good so to do.

    Oh you don’t eh? Are you seriously defending the majority imposing their mores on people’s right to free association? peaceful protest, sure. Lobbying however is just thuggery-by-proxy.

    If the fans of the corrida are so sure that what they are doing is right and good, then why not have the debate?

    I imagine they have the quaint notion that their rights to free association and private property are not up for debate.

  • So, if Muslim activists seek to impose their views on the rest of us by influencing the political process (street riots, threats or implied threats, etc.) such that government officials and courts are increasingly “tolerant” of such Muslims’ intolerance and begin to limit our right to critizice them in return (c.f. Geert Wilders, speech codes, etc.), what is our proper response?

    If we cannot regain the political process then we are left with disobedience and violence.

  • F0ul

    I have watched bull fighting on the TV and it was a memorable event. There is nothing wrong with me for watching it, just as much as there is nothing wrong with people for not liking it – however – anyone who puts their beliefs in from of my own – and gets the law to support them is by definition intolerant.

    That would seem to suggest that the law is intolerant and so in violation of some government or EU policy or other; The job therefore is to lobby for these policies to be consistent.

    The greatest shame is there is no interest in consistency as people only have opinions on their own interests – and that is why the bureaucrats always win in the end!

  • Laird

    If we cannot regain the political process then we are left with disobedience and violence.

    Which are precisely the methods being used by radical Muslims today. So let me see if I have this right: It would be OK for us to use those methods to regain what we perceive as our rights if we should lose political power, but it is not OK for Muslims to do so in order to gain the political power to institute what they think are their rights (or, at least, their religious mandates). Is that about it?

    I am fully aware (and don’t like it) that I’m on a slippery slope by arguing for the restriction of radical Muslims’ speech when they advocate restricting my rights, but I suggest that you are also on a slippery slope of your own. What we have here is a clash of cultural paradigms, and I don’t think the two can peacefully co-exist; there are too fundamentally different. Assuming that is true, what I am advocating is the exclusion of the “alien” paradigm. It’s self-defense.

  • It would be OK for us to use those methods to regain what we perceive as our rights if we should lose political power, but it is not OK for Muslims to do so in order to gain the political power to institute what they think are their rights (or, at least, their religious mandates). Is that about it?

    Yes, exactly. There is no moral equivalence at all.

    What we have here is a clash of cultural paradigms, and I don’t think the two can peacefully co-exist; there are too fundamentally different. Assuming that is true, what I am advocating is the exclusion of the “alien” paradigm. It’s self-defense.

    I don’t think we are as far apart as you think. if moderate muslims want to mind their own business and live what they feel is a muslim life, I can tolerate that. If they want to impose it on me, I cannot tolerate that. I would not ban the Koran, just attempts to use the political system in ways it might advocate if strictly interpreted.

    To be honest my views on Das Kapital and socialists are actually not that different so the limits to my tolerance are probably narrower than you think. The reason I am not calling for socialist political action (i.e. imposing their views on other people by force) to be banned are purely utilitarian. If I had a critical mass of support and guns, that is exactly what I would do. Mao’s dictum about the source of all political power is a truism.

  • RPW

    “the real question here is: do animals have rights similar to humans, particularly a right to life…. my answer is still “no, they don’t”.

    Two thoughts. (1) They don’t have to have rights similar to humans (I am not proposing that bulls be allowed to vote) in order to have *some* rights, of which presumably the right not to be tortured to death for our entertainment would presumably be a fairly basic one. And (2) the rights do not arise from their awareness of them (otherwise we would be arguing that severely mentally handicapped people do not have any rights, which gets us into Godwin territory) but from ours, and how we see ourselves and the sort of society we want to have. So yes, I do believe that if society as a whole (however defined) believes that torture of a living creature is not an appropriate form of entertainment then they have the right to take action to restrain those who disagree.

    “I imagine they have the quaint notion that their rights to free association and private property are not up for debate.”

    I am genuinely fascinated by this argument. If the right to private property is really so absolute and non-negotiable, then what is the libertarian argument against slavery? Is there one? Slaves are property too, after all.

  • of which presumably the right not to be tortured to death for our entertainment would presumably be a fairly basic one.

    You speak as if this was self-evident yet clearly millions of people do not agree, so why should your view get imposed by force on those who disagree? I have actually heard militant vegetarians make the same argument you make when arguing eating meat should be illegal.

    I am genuinely fascinated by this argument. If the right to private property is really so absolute and non-negotiable, then what is the libertarian argument against slavery? Is there one? Slaves are property too, after all.

    So what you are saying, I think, is that if you can own bulls and bull rings, logically you can own human being too?

    It is my view that bulls and bull rings are not moral being but perhaps opinions vary on that score? Yes, I am making an absurd statement for rhetorical effect but that is the implication of your remark: that there are no qualitative differences between ‘things that can be owned’.

  • RPW

    “You speak as if this was self-evident yet clearly millions of people do not agree, so why should your view get imposed by force on those who disagree?”

    Well, it is fairly self-evident to me, obviously. I’m well aware that others do not share this opinion. As for the rest of it – I am not arguing that *my* views should be imposed on anybody. I am saying that this sort of thing is something that society as a whole (however defined) is entitled to have an opinion on, namely that when competing rights clash, which ones take precedence. And if society decides that the right of a bull not to be tortured to death is more important than the right of others to torture that bull to death then it is entitled to say so and act accordingly.

    “So what you are saying, I think, is that if you can own bulls and bull rings, logically you can own human being too? …but that is the implication of your remark: that there are no qualitative differences between ‘things that can be owned’.”

    No, I am saying that that is what *you* are saying, or at least it’s the logical conclusion of it. I repeat – if property rights are absolute and non-negotiable, then what is the argument against slavery?

    Unless of course you accept the point that property rights are not absolute and non negotiable but simply part of a competing hierarchy of rights, in which case I think we basically agree on the principle but are simply differing over where the line is drawn.

  • TedH

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Bullfighting IF it were a fair fight. Face it: the bull can never win. Sure, he may gore the matador, maybe even kill him, but in the end the bull will be killed one way or another. And how many in the stadium are rooting for the bull anyway?

    What’s the point? Thrills? You can similar thrills from motocross (to use his example), without the pointless killing. It’s not even like animal testing where we get some useful medical knowledge out of the animals suffering– it’s just a bunch of guys with spikes and swords slowly taunting and killing an animal.

    It reminds me too much of the Romans throwing Christians to the lions, but even the Romans had their reasons– Christians were seen as a threat to the state and were being punished. As far as I can tell these bulls did nothing to deserve their fate except be born as bulls.

    The “freedom” argument can be used to bring back dog fighting, cock fighting, bear-baiting, even fight-to-the-death gladiator competitions, but is that really the world we want? You’re essentially saying “I want the freedom to be an asshole.”

    Why even have have animal cruelty laws if you are going to make exemptions for one species?

  • Why even have have animal cruelty laws if you are going to make exemptions for one species?

    Well, obviously, you are not going to have these laws. Like you, I find torture of animals immoral, but not everything immoral should/can be illegal.

    RPW, I’ll try and cut it even more to the chase, and say that the even-more-real-question here is: are animals capable of ownership, including of their own bodies? I don’t think they are.

    There are two reasons for which I oppose cruelty to humans, one is compassion, the other is respect for ownership: it is their body and life, not anyone else’s. In the case of animals there is only one reason: compassion. Otherwise not only would I have been a vegetarian, but I would have never bought the 5 dogs my husband and I have bought so far over years, just as I would not have bought a human slave even if it was legal.

  • Midwesterner

    RPW,

    I agree with your general methodology but come to a conclusion much closer to Perry’s.

    I don’t believe that I, by preordination, owe anything to anybody. And that includes an obligation to agree with somebody else’s definition of ‘property’. Certainly I owe absolutely nothing to this amorphous, omnipresent thing called ‘society’. Society is just a bunch of individuals.

    But by the same token, they owe nothing to me including respect for my definition of ‘property’. So I enter into cooperative arrangements (ideally consent to a particular government) with other individuals to mutually respect agreed upon terms of coexistence with them. If I found a cooperative that fit my desires exactly except that it forbade the manufacture of purple polka-dotted stuffed giraffe toys, I would accept that in lieu of living un-allied acknowledging no restrictions on what pattern stuffed animals I may manufacture. Their alliance matters more to me than a stuffed animal restriction.

    This puts me in a slightly different place than Perry. I only consider myself morally obligated to respect other humans on reciprocal terms. If we cannot agree on reciprocal terms, I do not believe the mere presence of human DNA entitles someone to my respect. But none the less, I do seek out association with other humans who do respect certain non-reciprocating lifeforms. Something I personally expect from those to whom I extend reciprocity is minimum standards of treatment for those incapable of reciprocity including mentally disabled humans.

    People who deliberately torture animals are very far much more likely to commit violence to other humans than those who do not. As a reasonable act by a self-concerned person, I shun them and seek reciprocity with others who shun them. I do not grant animal torturers any more respect than I am absolutely required to by what ever group I have joined for mutual self-defense.

    It is quite probable that the US Constitution (of which I am a constituent) does not permit government enforced sanctions against animal torturers. If placing government back within its Constitutional shackles reduces the scope of possible actions against animal torturers, that is okay because it also reduces the scope of possible actions against everybody else; a good thing. And I can still both personally, and with the voluntary cooperation of others, seek to eliminate any benefit to animal torturers, etc from my actions and assets.

    Legal does not equal moral and when the government broke its Constitutional restraints and compelled citizens to provide services the individual believes to be immoral (IIUC many states will not permit pharmacists to not sell RU-486 types drugs) or to hire or otherwise do business with people the citizen chooses to shun (equal opportunity employment laws, etc), the method by which free societies restrain members was broken. At this point (quelle surprise) the government steps into the gap with rapidly metastasizing laws.

    Does this make sense and sound reasonable? I’ll try to follow the thread but I may be hit and miss. My time is not my own.

  • …but is that really the world we want?

    Who is this “we” who are wanting a certain world? Clearly hundred of thousands of people in Spain and the Hispanic world have no problem with that aspect of the world and they freely associate with each other to see private property disposed of as they see fit. Unless they are forcing you to watch it, why should you get a vote on what they do in private?

    I argued with a Muslim guy once who thinks women showing their bare legs is utterly repugnant and so should be illegal because he cannot avoid seeing them. Naturally I disagree but at least he can argue that he is being forced to see the thing he find appalling. My reply to him was I found Muslim women’s clothing repugnant and so presumably he thought I should be demanding Britain make it illegal.

    If you do not like something, then avoid it and feel free to argue that it is a bad thing, but please, avoid using force if you expect the same in return for things you like that I might not.

    You’re essentially saying “I want the freedom to be an asshole.”

    Correct. Are you also for outlawing tasteless jokes? If not, why not as you seem to think being an asshole should be illegal?

  • Is it acceptable to tut our disapproval, but better we let millions die than actually do something about it?

    No, as far as I am concerned arms shipments to Bosnia and Croatia and dropping bombs on the Bosnian Serb military was President Clinton’s finest hour. But I am not sure how that relates to tolerance and free association within civil society.

  • I am saying that this sort of thing is something that society as a whole (however defined) is entitled to have an opinion on, namely that when competing rights clash, which ones take precedence.

    Except these are not ‘competing rights’ at all. The only rights here are the property rights and rights to free association of the people watching this sport. The only things competing here are ‘tastes and sensibilities’.

    The opponents do not have rights over the bulls because they do not own them. They also do not have rights to stop people freely associating. All they have is a sense of (quite understandable) distaste and repugnance. That is all they have.

    Homosexuality was outlawed in most places because a large number of people felt (and quite clearly still do feel) gay sex was self-evidently repugnant and simply not the sort of thing that should be allowed to go on between freely associating people in private.

    As I said earlier, I have heard militant vegetarians make a very similar argument on the grounds “something is being killed so meat eating must be prohibited. They say that you cannot compare it to other forms of civil activity… of course I do not see why not. And logically I would argue this radical vegetarian argument is really the same as yours.

    I am not saying you should not find it horrible, just that repugnance alone is no reason to impose your views by force.

  • Perry – How was it tolerant or an example of free association to bomb the Balkans? There was, to the best of my admittedly flimsy knowledge, no infringement of your property rights, so even if we found it objectionable we presumably had no standing to take action.

  • I am sorry Paul but I have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about. In what way is ‘tolerance’, ‘free association’ or ‘property rights’ even vaguely related to a war in the Balkans? I hope you do not think a political ‘ethnic cleansing’ militia of neo-chetniks is an example of ‘free association’ no different to, say, a knitting circle or football club. Likewise are you suggesting that Bosnian and Croatian people killed by said militias were… property to be disposed of? And you think it might be ‘intolerance’ to interfere?

    Sounds like either the Mother of all Category Errors at work here or perhaps even some weird Propertarian absurdity.

  • I’m not making an error, I’m using extreme examples in an attempt to understand what you’re saying (and for the record, I think the intervention in the Balkans was a good thing, though as ever imperfectly enacted).

    You see something you don’t like, say Croats being killed by what passes for their government. You and I would both find that appalling, I’m sure. But why are we able to do more than that? We have no association with these people, no say in their property rights, and it’s not clear that the death of one or even a thousand of them would have any measurable impact on us, except for possible emotional distress. It seems you’re saying that if someone’s fundamental (by your definition) rights are being infringed that gives you the right to abandon tolerance and act. Is that the case?

  • We have no association with these people

    ‘Our’ (whatever that means) association is not relevant to anything here, so a category error methinks.

    no say in their property rights

    What property rights? The issue in the Balkans was that of murder, not trespass or theft. Property rights are irrelevant unless you stretch it to mean to derive the right to not be murdered from the right of self ownership and therefore you mean self-as-private-property (which is fine but still does not really make this about property rights other than in the most convoluted way)… so another category error I think.

    and it’s not clear that the death of one or even a thousand of them would have any measurable impact on us

    Who is this ‘us’? But in any case, so what? That might change the utilitarian calculus but is irrelevant to the moral one.

    It seems you’re saying that if someone’s fundamental (by your definition) rights are being infringed that gives you the right to abandon tolerance and act. Is that the case?

    Croats and Bosnians have the right not to be murdered because they are not the property of others who may be disposed of as those others see fit. Tolerance for murder is irrational (not to mention cowardice). Bulls have no such rights as they are indeed property.

  • I think we’re getting closer. So there are certain rights, such as the right to life, that it’s OK to take action to maintain no matter where they are being infringed? And these rights transcend the concerns you raised above about people putting their noses in things that don’t concern?

    Put more succinctly, the murder of anyone anywhere is my business, and it’s my right to do something about it. The death of an animal is not my business, unless it’s my animal, or on my property, and therefore I have no right to do something about it beyond objecting to it. Is that a fair summary?

  • I think we’re getting closer. So there are certain rights, such as the right to life, that it’s OK to take action to maintain no matter where they are being infringed?

    Yes.

    And these rights transcend the concerns you raised above about people putting their noses in things that don’t concern?

    Indeed because rights and sensibilities are fundamentally different things. The rights here are the ones held by the bull owners and devotees of bullfighting. All their opponents have are ‘sensibilities’. It does not mean that cannot shun/argue with/protest against/decry things people do that offend their sensibilities, just that they should not pull out a pistol, either directly or via the proxy of the state because they have no ‘rights’ at stake here.

  • Excellent. So what right is it I have at stake when a Serbian I’ve never heard of kills a Bosnian I’ve never heard of (or vice verse) in a localized conflict?

  • You mean “Tolerance for murder is irrational”? Am I allowed to take up arms against the irrational?

    This might surprise you, but I’m honestly not trying to catch you out, I’m just trying to learn. I now get the idea that an animal is property, and therefore can be disposed of as the owner sees fit, whereas a human is not property (unless they choose so to be, but I don’t think we need get into that right now) and therefore cannot be disposed of at the whim of a purported owner. I don’t agree with that, necessarily, but I understand it.

    What I don’t understand is what you think gives us the right to intervene in a conflct like the Balkans, Rwanda etc. In fact, given that you think not to is cowardice, it seems almost like you think it’s not just a right, but an imperative. Depending what that reasoning is I might even agree with you (I certainly think we should generally intervene in such circumstances).

  • Laird

    I’m interested in Perry’s answer, too, because I disagree that “we should generally intervene in such circumstances”. As a human being and member of society I can accept the proposition that if I witness someone being assaulted and (possibly) murdered it would not be inappropriate for me to intervene (although I would reject any assertion that I have any obligation to do so, or that my failure to do so would necessarily constitute cowardice, if that even matters). I can further accept the proposition that one of the basic functions of government it to protect its citizens, and it is appropriate to use tax revenues for that purpose. But how do those propositions translate into granting my government the power to appropriate my property for the purpose of protecting (or “liberating”) the citizens of some other country? Whether my life or property should be applied for the benefit of such persons should be my private decision, not some government’s.

  • What I don’t understand is what you think gives us the right to intervene in a conflct like the Balkans, Rwanda etc.

    Anyone has the right to intervene anywhere and at any time when an objectively evil act is being committed that violates someone’s rights. Let me turn that around… what gives a person or collection of persons who are engaged in mass murder any moral expectation of being inviolate? Why should they be? Surely the only ‘rights’ at issue here are those of the victims.

    In fact, given that you think not to is cowardice, it seems almost like you think it’s not just a right, but an imperative.

    The way I see it there is no moral imperative (to say the least) to take people’s money and build up a vast military machine capable of enormous force projection across the globe, particularly at this juncture in time. Just how much military capability is ‘enough’ then, well, that is a good question and frankly I would much much much rather a number of market solution were used to actually determine that, but that ain’t the world we live in at the moment.

    However if such capability *has* been amassed, then it seems perverse not to then use this vastly surplus force to intervene to prevent mass murder. The ‘right’ to do so is clear, but I would not argue it was actually an ‘imperative’ to do so… take what Clinton did in the Balkans: for a bit of spent treasure and mostly already sunk costs, and very little US or NATO blood, much good was done (that said, do not over-estimate the US role in that conflict. In the end it was the successes on the ground Bosnian and Croatian Armies, with US & German technical and financial aid, that actualy were the decisive factors in the Balkans, not US/NATO airstrikes… but that is a bit off-topic, just a favoured subject of mine).

  • Would you say that objectively evil = violating someone’s rights? Ignoring the fact that there may be other things that are objectively evil, is a violation of someone’s rights automatically objectively evil? If not, what is the standard for objectively evil?

  • Laird

    “Anyone has the right to intervene anywhere and at any time when an objectively evil act is being committed that violates someone’s rights.”

    OK, let’s accept arguendo that proposition as being true. It still doesn’t answer my question. All you are saying is that you personally have the right to pick up a rifle and go help end the genocide in Rwanda. Fine. But what gives you the right to steal my property (via taxes) in order to outfit an army to do so? Especially when you’ve already conceded that there is no moral imperative to intervene? (As I’ve already stated, I reject the existence of any such moral imperative.)