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I personally don't know what to think about the situation.

asked Jul 06 '13 at 09:16

Collin1's gravatar image


edited Jul 06 '13 at 11:56

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Ayn Rand did support a blockade of Cuba.

(Jul 07 '13 at 11:04) anthony anthony's gravatar image

"There are four characteristics which brand a country unmistakably as a dictatorship: one-party rule—executions without trial or with a mock trial, for political offenses—the nationalization or expropriation of private property—and censorship." - Ayn Rand, Collectivized "Rights" (http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_collectivized_rights)

Given that a dictatorship, by definition, has nationalized or expropriated private property, free trade with individuals of that nation is, by definition, impossible.

Credit to "Ideas for Life" for mentioning that Ayn Rand article.

(Jul 07 '13 at 15:50) anthony anthony's gravatar image

An embargo is defined as "partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country." By definition, an embargo would require coercive force employed by a government to prevent its citizens from trading freely with citizens of another government. This, I believe is morally wrong, and is outside the scope of government responsability.

Now, the context of war may change things slightly. While strategic decisions during wartime are properly left to military leaders, it is conceivable that our military may recommend and implement a blockade around a country, as was done with Cuba in 1962, as part of a broader goal of eliminating an enemy.

answered Jul 06 '13 at 15:48

JK%20Gregg's gravatar image

JK Gregg ♦

So the answer is yes, right?

"By definition, an embargo would require coercive force employed by a government to prevent its citizens from trading freely with citizens of another government."

By definition, people under the governance of a dictatorship are incapable of trading freely, regardless of the presence or absence of outside force. If the citizens are capable of escaping the grasp of the dictatorship, they should do so, and then they can trade freely. If they are held hostage by the dictatorship, then free trade is impossible - anything traded with them is traded with the dictator.

(Jul 07 '13 at 11:02) anthony anthony's gravatar image

Does this dictatorship pose a material threat to the individual rights of our citizens? If not, I don't see why trade would forcefully be obstructed. Oil from Saudi Arabia is of great importance to the American economy and yet we trade with that dictatorial government. Context matters in these types of evaluations.

(Jul 07 '13 at 13:16) JK Gregg ♦ JK%20Gregg's gravatar image

I guess the answer is "sometimes".

But really, that's what I would think is meant by "yes".

As for Saudia Arabia, we trade with Saudi Arabia, but if you're saying that we have completely free trade with Saudi Arabia, I don't know, I'd have to look into that. (Update: Not completely. There are export restrictions, and of course Saudi-imposed restrictions.)

In any case, you're not saying that Saudi Arabia doesn't pose a material threat to the individual rights US citizens, are you? They do pose such a threat. The question is how, diplomatically, to deal with that threat.

(Jul 07 '13 at 14:51) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Two concise excerpts by Ayn Rand can be found in The Ayn Rand Lexicon under the topic of "National Rights" (excerpted from Ayn Rand's article, "Collectivized Rights," in VOS). The decisive factor identified in that article is dictatorship: "Dictatorship nations are outlaws." Ayn Rand explains:

A nation, like any other group, is only a number of individuals and can have no rights other than the rights of its individual citizens ... rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific, delimited task (the task of protecting them from physical force, derived from their right of self-defense)....

The excerpts discuss the right of a free nation "to invade Nazi Germany ... Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen," with the national self-interest of the free nation as the criterion for exercising that right or not, and any alleged "rights" of "gang rulers" as "nonexistent." Ayn Rand specifically disavows any self-sacrificial duty "to liberate other nations...."

answered Jul 06 '13 at 22:30

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

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Asked: Jul 06 '13 at 09:16

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Last updated: Jul 07 '13 at 15:50