Meddle Not!

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. . . . that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

That’s the theory of the Declaration of Independence.  This is my deduction: If a government has no just power to exist, anyone is morally free to go to work and try to shut it down. We should not assume, however, that everyone should start trying that stunt, right here and right now. It’s possible that foreigners, for example, should mind their own business. Here’s a principle that used to be honored in America: our government shouldn’t meddle with the affairs of other countries, unless it has a self-defensive reason for doing so.

That principle has been interpreted to mean that all governments are created equal, and that their so-called rights should always be respected. In other words, “We have the Bomb, but, to be fair, why shouldn’t North Korea have the Bomb as well?” I can tell you why North Korea shouldn’t have the Bomb, but you know it already.

Now to my subject. Venezuela is ruled by a socialist dictatorship that is as mean and oppressive and just plain stupid as you would expect a socialist dictatorship to be. Very well. What follows from that?

Does it follow that our government should try to remove the government of Venezuela? That it should plot with the Venezuelan military to remove the country’s dictator? That it should, in effect, wage war against Venezuela as currently constituted?

This, it appears, is what our government is doing.

It’s not as if Venezuela had the Bomb. It’s not even as if Venezuela constituted an economic threat to us, now that we have enough of our own oil not to need any more of Venezuela’s. Besides, the socialists have wrecked the country’s oil industry. If crass self-interest were our guide, we would be happy to lose a competitor, in the political as well as the economic realm. The best advertisement for capitalism and limited government is the hideous failure of Venezuelan socialism.

It is reported that the vast majority of Venezuelans think it’s impossible for them to remove their own government, and that they want some foreign power to do it (guess which). I admit that if I were a Venezuelan, I’d probably be praying for an American invasion. In the current crisis, I probably wouldn’t have enough presence of mind to remember how badly the interference of “international Boy Scouts,” as Isabel Paterson called them, has turned out for some of the intended beneficiaries. But the truth, the truth on which self-interest and moral principle agree, is that the Venezuelans got themselves into this mess, and they need to get themselves out of it.




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Comments

Michael F.S.W. Morrison

Once again, Dr. Cox has written just what needs to be said.
Unlike so many who are quick to urge, "Let's you and him fight," he understands the immoralities as well as the impracticalities of armed intervention.
Thank you, Stephen Cox, for a brilliant comment, and thank you, Liberty, for publishing it.

Scott Robinson

You know, the last line of your article makes me think, God only helps those who help themselves. If you think you can help those who don't help themselves, then you think that you're better than God. Maybe one of these politicians, like John Bolton, will write a book called, "My Struggle" about how he will rescue the helpless Venezuelans.

As your title suggests, interventionists are attention seekers who need someone to meddle with them.

Article Makes Us Think,
Scott

Andrew

In the past I was a more "pure" libertarian and would've immediately argued to leave Venezuela alone, but as I grow older and less naive I find myself having a more realistic view of things.

Crises in Latin America do not exist in a vaccuum. For starters, there is the existence of Russian and Chinese influence in the region, and they are almost certainly not backing Maduro out of some altruistic impulse. The Monroe Doctrine exists for a reason, and if ever there were a case this is it. Not taking action today could result in a serious close range threat tomorrow.

Then there is the illegal immigration issue. Throngs of people cross the southern US border because the economies and political situations in their home countries suck. There may be a benefit to the US domestically by opposing socialist dictatorships south of the border.

I'm not a neocon, and I'm not saying we need to invade or bomb anybody. But I also didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Lew Rockwellian libertarians seem to think we can simply wish America into being a happy little neutral country, but reality says otherwise. We are bound by over a century's worth of policy decisions that cannot simply be reversed overnight. We have global rivals who jockey for strategic advantage whether we choose to acknowlwdge them or not.

I begin from a position of nonintervention, but it is naive not to hear out opposing arguments in each case.

Michael F.S.W. Morrison

Few attitudes tick me off more than the one expressed in Andrew's opening paragraph: "In the past I was a more 'pure' libertarian and would've immediately argued to leave Venezuela alone, but as I grow older and less naive I find myself having a more realistic view of things."
It says, "Oh, I am SO MUCH MORE intelligent and grown-up than are you, who are so old-fashioned as to still believe in a moral philosophy."
OK, never mind attitudes. Let's discuss facts.
Yes, even a strict non-interventionist can hope and, yes, wish tyrannies would fall, but anyone who wants to send troops or initiate any kind of force is being awfully naïve: WHO will pay for such force?
WHO will be the possible dead or injured in such an invasion or attack?
Even where you have willing or even eager troops, WHO, I ask again, will be paying for the act? Involuntary taxpayers, usually.
Naïve? That non-understanding seems very much so.

Technomad

I'd bet that the Colombians are interested in intervening.

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