Recent events in Syria prompted this question. How do objectivists view genocide? If a dictator is systematically and actively murdering a population, is there any reason for a separate nation or people to take armed action against such a regime ? If action is warranted, is there a numerical "trip-wire" (i.e. a second nation can interfere after a dictator kills at least 1,000 people and until then it's an "internal affair"). Given that humanity itself is a value to rational people, how can we defend this immense value in the face of determined killers?
The focus of the question is on what action, if any, other countries should take against a country that is committing genocide against its own people. The essential principles identified by Objectivism are as follows:
(a) Any free nation has the moral right, but not a moral duty, to intervene in Syria or any other dictatorship ("slave pen," in Ayn Rand's words). This issue goes back much farther in history than the current upheavals in Syria; it goes back at least as far as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Cuba, and so on (also Iran and North Korea).
(b) The decision to intervene or not should be made on the basis of the national self-interest of the intervening country. The fact that a foreign country's citizens are being slaughtered by its own government does not, by itself, constitute sufficient national self-interest to justify intervention, even though a free nation has the right to intervene and should not be stopped by other countries from intervening if that is their choice. Moreover, the risk of a wider regional or global war could provide a justification for intervention insofar as a free nation's own national interests in the region may come under attack.
(c ) Such intervention (or non-intervention) should be part of a comprehensive, long range, well principled foreign policy by a free nation.
For additional explanation of these principles in Ayn Rand's own words, refer to the topics of "National Rights," "Foreign Policy," and "War" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Note, also, that the United Nations has no redeeming standing (no value) in Objectivism and should receive no support, assistance or participation from the U.S. Refer to the Lexicon topic, "United Nations," for further explanation.
answered May 31 '12 at 02:02
Ideas for Life ♦