In what situation is it okay for one country to force its morals/politics on another?

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#1
Well, I was having a discussion the other day in a different thread about whether or not morals are subjective (and it's pretty commonly accepted that they are, so please don't come in here to argue that. Just assume they are for argument's sake and if you want to claim they're not, start your own thread). Anyway, this got me thinking about the ethics of forcing another country to do what you find morally acceptable. When is this okay?

For instance, we all know about the population replacement rate in China and how it's pretty common for them to dispose of female babies because their culture values males more. Is it our place to tell them that's wrong? What if a certain culture killed all babies with birth defects or mental disabilities? Sure, we find that morally reprehensible in our part of the world, but is it okay for us to force them to do things our way because we're bigger? What about cannibalistic cultures? What about cultures in Africa that indiscriminately rape women? What about tribes that ritualistically sacrifice their own? The scenarios are endless. Where do you draw the line?

I feel like politics are sort of a similar field, and the easiest example that comes to mind is the US establishing democracy in Iraq. Was it okay for us to do that? Sure, the old regime committed plenty of atrocities by our standards, but that's the way they did things, and there are plenty of Iraqi people who are so opposed to our democracy that they're willing to die fighting it. Who are we to say it's the right way to do things?

I'm not entirely sure where I'd draw the line with any of this myself, but I'm sure it'll make for interesting discussion.
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#3
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I'm against the idea of nations in the first place, which should make my answer fairly clear.

Interesting. What would you suggest in their place?
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#5
I don't know. Very difficult issue.
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#6
Never. Self defense against those that do is acceptable.
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#9
I think my country should look at itself before going on trying to "fix" other countries problems.
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#10
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Never. Self defense against those that do is acceptable.

This.
#11
the easiest example that comes to mind is the US establishing democracy in Iraq. QUOTE]

Not in cases where the true reason for intervention is nothing to do with the stated moral issure but more to do with commercial gain
#12
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Anarchist communism.


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#13
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Never. Self defense against those that do is acceptable.


This.
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#14
I've always been a bit of an Isolationist.

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#15
If its going to happen it should only be in a globalized society where the morals of the countries actual conflict with each other on a personal level, as in, affects all the people on both countries.

Though, in a perfect world, anarchist communism is what should apply



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#16
Well, here's a more specific and extreme example for those that don't have opinions. Suppose in the 1940s that Germany had rounded up Jews into concentration camps and killed a vast number of them, but had pursued acceptable policies with other countries, like not invading Poland, for instance. So basically killing off Jews within its own territory but not messing with anyone externally. Should any other countries intervene and make them stop? Or should they just assist Jewish people who managed to escape but let Germany do whatever they want with the ones inside its borders?
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#17
The USA conquering Iraq and Afghanistan for a strategic counter point against the russian/chinese future worst case scenario offensive.

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#18
Quote by GodofCheesecake
Well, here's a more specific and extreme example for those that don't have opinions. Suppose in the 1940s that Germany had rounded up Jews into concentration camps and killed a vast number of them, but had pursued acceptable policies with other countries, like not invading Poland, for instance. So basically killing off Jews within its own territory but not messing with anyone externally. Should any other countries intervene and make them stop? Or should they just assist Jewish people who managed to escape but let Germany do whatever they want with the ones inside its borders?

You don't have to go back to the 1940's dude. Just take a peek at Rwanda and Sudan.
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#20
I don't know but doesn't the United Nations have the power to interfere with things like genocides and all of that type of stuff? I feel it has more right to than one single nation.
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#21
Quote by Thrashtastic15
Anarchist communism.



LOL, 15 year olds...

It's not our place to tell Africans they cant rape women, or to tell china that they shouldn't be killing female babys, but its still wrong. That's my opinion anyway.
#22
Quote by Thrashtastic15
I'm against the idea of nations in the first place, which should make my answer fairly clear.
Bingo.

Although I think it's safe to assume that people don't want to be raped indiscriminately, get genocided, etc. so if it can be shown that our help is valued then of course we should help them. Not as nations, but as human beings. The interests of their governments are not the interests of the people. And there's more of the people.
#25
If moral subjectivity is correct then (I think) it depends on your moral point of view what situations it's okay for someone to force their morals/politics on another.

This brings me to my main point. I don't understand why we have to assume moral subjectivity. It seems like objectivity is a huge part of the issue. Moral subjectivity isn't even close to being the most commonly accepted ethical system, even among philosophers (maybe moral relativism is often accepted by anthropologists though). If you were going to assume one, objectivity would make the more sense.
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#26
Okay, there are a couple of things I need to clear up before stating my response

1) I think the idea of countries in general is stupid... People should be proud of their culture, not their government jurisdictional boundaries.

2) There is no right or wrong, there is only society.

3) People innately do what they think is right based on their situation. Even if they don't agree with their actions, they have some reason for doing them, no matter how heinous.


From there, because our situation is as it is, I think we should only help if help is asked for, whether by the victims or by the government itself. If they're doing fine, that's great, but if people express the need for help, then help them as people - not change the government. If there is genocide, for instance, find refuge for those who are being victimized.
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#27
Quote by greatone_12
If moral subjectivity is correct then (I think) it depends on your moral point of view what situations it's okay for someone to force their morals/politics on another.

And that's what I'm asking. I'm fully aware there's no single right answer to this question. I'm simply asking for different people's opinions.
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This brings me to my main point. I don't understand why we have to assume moral subjectivity. It seems like objectivity is a huge part of the issue. Moral subjectivity isn't even close to being the most commonly accepted ethical system, even among philosophers (maybe moral relativism is often accepted by anthropologists though). If you were going to assume one, objectivity would make the more sense.

I can't truthfully claim to have looked into the different philosophical theories about morality, but I believe that morals are subjective, and I don't really understand how anyone could argue against that. There's no such thing as a universal set of morals.

And once again, that's an entirely different discussion.
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3) People innately do what they think is right based on their situation. Even if they don't agree with their actions, they have some reason for doing them, no matter how heinous.

I've actually thought about that a decent amount. Like, no matter how horrendous someone's actions, they always somehow rationalize them to themselves, even if that explanation makes no sense to somebody else. Nobody ever truly thinks they're an awful person, no matter how bad their actions. They might realize what they're doing is wrong, but they feel their reasoning outweighs the consequences of their actions.
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#28
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I've actually thought about that a decent amount. Like, no matter how horrendous someone's actions, they always somehow rationalize them to themselves, even if that explanation makes no sense to somebody else. Nobody ever truly thinks they're an awful person, no matter how bad their actions. They might realize what they're doing is wrong, but they feel their reasoning outweighs the consequences of their actions.

Exactly. Everyone is innately good in that sense - unless they have a mental problem, like being a sociopath and potentially getting off on the idea of being bad or killing or whatnot, but in that case they still are not unproud of their actions.
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#29
Check my blog, bro, my opinion on some of this shit.
Also, democracy shouldn't be seen as an 'end goal' for all countries in the world, different countries have different experiences with democracy that tend to turn to shit relatively quickly. I mean, look at Nigeria.
#30
Break it down fool.

In what situation is it okay for one person to force his/her morals on another?

It's a very old question... not that hard to get around.
#31
I'm really conflicted about this, I don't like the idea of intervening n' stuff, but really those are horrible offenses and we can't just sit and do nothing. I do not think that everyone's point of view on moral issues are just as valid as another, morals have to do with human well being, so a moral society is one in which humans thrive. But that's for the other thread. The point is, i don't think we should always intervene with our military or anything like that, but human rights violations need to be dealt with.
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#32
I don't exactly support the idea of separate countries in the world anyways. I'd rather see a global socialist democracy.

Here's my response: Like I said in the other thread, morals are totally subjective but I still think there is one rule that almost everyone in the world should be able to agree on, and that is the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Pretty straight-forward. So, if you were the victim of genocide or indiscriminate rape or enslavement, would you want someone to rescue you from it? My world-view is that one person's rights only end where another person's rights begin. We have established human rights on this planet for a reason, and IMO, they're being violated in several places at the moment.

The world should be able to band together and grant everyone their right to freedom, but we can't seem to get over our petty differences or selfishness long enough to do it.
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#33
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I don't exactly support the idea of separate countries in the world anyways. I'd rather see a global socialist democracy.

Here's my response: Like I said in the other thread, morals are totally subjective but I still think there is one rule that almost everyone in the world should be able to agree on, and that is the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Pretty straight-forward. So, if you were the victim of genocide or indiscriminate rape or enslavement, would you want someone to rescue you from it? My world-view is that one person's rights only end where another person's rights begin. We have established human rights on this planet for a reason, and IMO, they're being violated in several places at the moment.

The world should be able to band together and grant everyone their right to freedom, but we can't seem to get over our petty differences or selfishness long enough to do it.


I agree with your whole post, however (bolded): the Australian constitution still doesn't include a human rights bill, so technically we don't have any guidelines on freedom of expression/speech/movement/press... It's pretty stupid.
#34
Terrorism and unjust killing is beyond "morals" and "culture". I'd apply John Stuart Mill's On Liberty in this case, I forget the exact quote, but that a man should have full liberty to do whatever he likes unless it either directly or indirectly leads to another's harm. Now you'll say, "so what gives us the right to jump in and tear their country up so violently?". Utilitarianism, or as Spock has taught us, "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few." In all, regardless of where you are, nobody wants to be oppressed and killed. To write that off as their culture would make me feel pretty ignorant.
#35
Quote by KTFM
I agree with your whole post, however (bolded): the Australian constitution still doesn't include a human rights bill, so technically we don't have any guidelines on freedom of expression/speech/movement/press... It's pretty stupid.



Really? I thought human rights were universally respected since they were established by the UN.
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#36
If you really want to change people's attitudes on things we find morally reprehensible, you have to change whatever it is in their situation that causes said morally reprehensible attitude. It doesn't have to be a war, it can be as simple as clean water and schools.

/optimism.

Not that I'm entirely sure it's relevant :\

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#37
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Terrorism and unjust killing is beyond "morals" and "culture". I'd apply John Stuart Mill's On Liberty in this case, I forget the exact quote, but that a man should have full liberty to do whatever he likes unless it either directly or indirectly leads to another's harm. Now you'll say, "so what gives us the right to jump in and tear their country up so violently?". Utilitarianism, or as Spock has taught us, "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few." In all, regardless of where you are, nobody wants to be oppressed and killed. To write that off as their culture would make me feel pretty ignorant.


I disagree with this with reference to the Iraq war. 3,000 civilians killed in 9/11 attacks, total unnecessary deaths resulting from the Iraq war, 1.36m as a 2009 estimate. Good of many outweighs good of a few would suggest that retaliatory action was in all cases, wrong.
#38
^Well yeah, but wtf do you know? You live in a giant bucket.

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#39
Quote by dudetheman
Really? I thought human rights were universally respected since they were established by the UN.


Yes, but we aren't federally protected by a national bill of rights, that would make violations of such rights a domestic issue, rather than a UN-related issue.

And SH, the bucket is a metaphor
#40
Quote by KTFM
I disagree with this with reference to the Iraq war. 3,000 civilians killed in 9/11 attacks, total unnecessary deaths resulting from the Iraq war, 1.36m as a 2009 estimate. Good of many outweighs good of a few would suggest that retaliatory action was in all cases, wrong.


This is right.


Besides, we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. The goal didn't become "spreading democracy" until after the American people figured out that Iraq had fuck all to do with 9/11.

Even still, I don't think 9/11 or the spread of democracy have anything to do with our invasion of Iraq; it's just a more direct form of the imperialism that's been practiced by America since the 1950's, IMO.

Quote by KTFM
Yes, but we aren't federally protected by a national bill of rights, that would make violations of such rights a domestic issue, rather than a UN-related issue.

And SH, the bucket is a metaphor


I'd be on top of that issue if I were an Australian citizen. Having no guaranteed rights even in a democratic system is risky business.
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Last edited by dudetheman at May 20, 2010,
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