Stewart Gault


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If you have the ability to free people, do you have a duty to do so?

I would say that if country A has the ability to free country B of an oppressive leader etc etc then you have a duty to do so.
For this reason, by principle I think it's just that countries from the western world can support rebel groups or even contemplate their own offensive.
If you momentarily postpone considering consequences and potential civilian losses is it right to you on principle?
Do we in western world have the ability to know that certain sets of morals are better than others? I think the answer to this is yes.
Not to say that ours is the best, but certainly better than some alternatives.
Also, as I do think this, I also predict a war on Sharia Law,
What are your thoughts?

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    Aug 11 2012: You have to remember that in the 1980's the USA supported the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. And look where that eventually lead.

    I would love to see a world where every person in every nation is free. But it isn't as simple as supporting rebel causes. Rebel groups can often be just as bad or worse than the current government (think the Taliban, the leftest groups in South America countries) so outing oppressive regime A may just leave a vacuum for repressive regime B.

    As far as western countries taking military action to remove repressive regimes, look where it lead to in Iraq. While Sadam was a monster, it's hard to say what direction the country is going in now and it created a power vacuum in the region that Iran and its repressive regime is comfortably stepping into.

    Sorry Stewart. No easy answers. No black or while. Only grey and more questions.
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    Aug 10 2012: "Do we in western world have the ability to know that certain sets of morals are better than others? I think the answer to this is yes." You are saying there are certain sets of morals out there, that are better than others, and only YOU IN THE WEST have the ability to discern them. Are you for real?

    The problem is that the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior (morality) is personal - not collective. So, what Mr A consider moral could be immoral to Mr B. By extension what county A consider permissible could be impermissible to Country B - take homosexuality and abortion. Who is to say which set of morals are better than the other? With this few words i have destroyed your entire argument.

    I am tempted to go one step further.

    If country A believes that country B need to be freed from chains then how do you answer to the Muslims who sincerely believe they are doing you a favor by seeking to impose Sharia on you? (lets assume there is such a Muslim). You may think they are mad - but surely they sincerely believe that Sharia it is a higher level of morality and you are in chains SO they have the duty to impose this on you. This brings out the absurdity of your argument.

    Understand that once you set out an argument it can be used the other way round. One thing that always shocks me is that you people in the so-called west (which is not west at all) do exactly what you accuse the extremist of seeking to do. That is, creating a world based on your view of right and wrong.
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      Aug 10 2012: Sorry for implying that only westerners could judge which morals are better.
      If you were to have an open debate with someone about Sharia law, and took each proponent of it and judged how well it advanced human well being, you can easily see that there are things within it that are just plain wrong. Death for apostasy would be the biggest example I could think of. The ending of a human life becuase they don't think that a certain book is all it's meant to be.
      Also I never meant we'd impose our morality upon someone else, merely remove the parts which are mad. You know if you don't want people drinking or whatever that's fine anyone could come to that conclusion on a moral scale, but don't kill someone or throw them in jail for years for having a beer.
      You can argue around Sharia Law logically and with reason. There are also laws in the uk, and the US which I think are bone-head stupid, but none to the point where I've feared for my life. Here I have freedom of speech, I can freely say down with cameron and cleggy weggy. But people in the middle east are being jailed for having facebook posts which criticize the leaders of their country.
      And homosexuality and abortion, like Sam Harris says, there's a moral landscape, there's better and worse views but there can be equal views. You wouldn't invade a country because they allow abortion, you can get to legal abortions logically, you can't get to oppressing homosexuals logically.
      So if any muslim who thinks Sharia Law is just, could logically get to the conclusion that stonings, death for apostasy, repression of women I'm willing to bet that their logic resides within the koran. And if you're going to base your logic on a book you'd best prove the book to be right before I can even begin to take you seriously.
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        Aug 10 2012: I fear that you are missing the point; I only used your recipe to prepare you a dish.

        The question is not one of the morality of Sharia, its deeper than that. i personally think Sharia is the most barbaric law any one could come up with. But its not about what i think - its about the argument you put forward.

        You must understand that words have different meaning. "oppressive leader, Morality, Freedom" are some of the meaningless words you employed so far. You however accorded your meaning to them based on your context which is fine EXCEPT you are talking about people from a different context. For example - you consider yourself a free person but some people think you are not free at all. there is someone out there who sincerely thinks you can only be free under Sharia law, maybe such a person is on drugs but that is his definition of freedom. why should you impose your definition on me?
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          Aug 11 2012: Well I'd say a good definition of absolute freedom is being able to do anything you want, and then if you add morals and codes you then get freedom within these set codes. So if I think I have more freedom with uk law than with sharia law I should have good examples of why I think this and there are plenty. So why should I impose my side? Because I've the logic and reason, if there's me and a sharia law advocate having a debate and they can't reasonably justify how repressing women increases freedom then my side is the better option.
          I'm fully willing to concede that there could be a set of morals better than mine, but as to why I should try to change other peoples morals ideas is because I've insight into these matters and there's reason and logic behind me. I think even a 12 year old could logically argue a sexist under the carpet.
          So my argument all rests on logic, and I don't think I'm changing anyone's definitions, after all sharia isn't about freedom it's about being saved for the supposed afterlife.
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          Aug 11 2012: Here you actually get to the core of the question in a weird way.

          Does objective reality exist?

          If there is a planet earth, on which there are six billion people... The women, who make up 50% of the population, are objectively oppressed, and being treated horribly by Sharia law.

          If there is no planet, and everything is in your mind, and people can just believe whatever they want. The women being stoned to death under this law, are just being treated "differently".
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        Aug 11 2012: My last comment was written in sleepy eyes so thanks to David for bringing out the question in a different and more lucid manner.

        Stewart, there is no objectivity out there free of context and there is no such thing as freedom as an absolute concept. There is no freedom at all except freedom within a structure of laws – which is like saying freedom in prison so there is no such thing as freedom.

        You cannot determine morality through logic because you have to start from some basic principles of validity. Your principles of validity are different from mine so we’d come to different conclusions because we start with different set of principles.

        So, no morality is better except within a context to be determined by vote. Let me expand this argument to a completely different area and maybe bring out the value of applying to context to arguments. The head of state of your country is the Queen and this is due to a complete circumstance of birth – not what she did. In short , members of the royal family are entitled to tax money (funded by hard working people) for doing nothing . This is the British way – Americans think it is clean madness. So within the so-called western world there is a minor disagreement on what is right or wrong.

        It helps when you learn how to think outside your circle.
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    Aug 11 2012: The first question is: Is the self-declared saviour free?

    What is the motive of the self-declared saviour?
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    Aug 11 2012: Where you see to have a war on Sharia Law ?
    Did you want to mean that in ME people will start fighting for enforcement of Sahria Law or withdrwal of Shariah law?

    What I feel in ME there has been a long standing rage among common people against medieval tyrrants i.e. kings and military dictators......... so civil disobedience at any time point can happen that was the situation....

    But as it started like a chain reactions and got branded as "Arab Spring" , (at the same time as tyrrants of some countries smashed the "Arab Spring" in their countries brutally, while media & big bosses of west kept played the role of being deaf, dumb and blind).....I am really doubful how many flowers will bloom in this spring....
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    Aug 11 2012: I don't think we're going to war with Sharia Law, because I think very shortly there will be almost no soldiers left on that side.

    I am a fan of the CIA bumping off leaders in regimes already bubbling up with change though. With the full support of the UN only, of course.
  • Aug 10 2012: I think there are different levels of obligation. It would seem this sort of thing should be done by the United Nations, otherwise you get larger nations making decisions about what is right for smaller nations.
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      Aug 10 2012: I fully agree, I wouldn't want individual countries making choices.
      If you get all the countries together in a forum such as the UN and the majority passes that something is wrong and needs fixed and can get to this conclusion with reason and with human well being in mind then it's a crime not to act in my opinion.
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      Aug 11 2012: Agreed that should be ideal situation.....but
      Does the United Nations have the ability to take decision independently ?
      When last United Nations took a decision ignoring interest of Big Powers ?