Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The argument for never doing anything

There are plausible arguments against our military involvement in Libya, but Alana Goodman at Commentary Magazine singles out a particularly silly one, the perfect argument for never doing anything:
There’s an argument that seems to resurface from non-interventionists whenever the U.S. takes military action for humanitarian reasons. The line of reasoning goes something like this: (a.) The U.S. can’t intervene against all oppressive autocrats, so (b.) the U.S. shouldn’t intervene against any oppressive autocrats. ....

Let’s apply this logic to some other humanitarian policies. U.S. international food aid programs? There are a lot of starving kids out there, but we can’t feed all of them, so why bother? And how can we justify spending billions on an AIDS relief program in Africa when there are also epidemics in India, Russia, and China? ....

It’s true that we can’t do everything at once, but that’s hardly an argument for doing nothing at all.
Intervention Nihilism « Commentary Magazine