I keep hearing variants of this argument I received in email recently
it is arrogant and Pollyanna to think that we can just go forcing it on countries that are not ready or do not want it. At some point the people have to stand up and take it for themselves without help.
Countries don’t have preferences. People have preferences. The way you ascertain those preferences is via free speech and elections.
It is certainly arrogant for dictators to force their rule on subject populations too weak to resist them, but they do so nonetheless.
It is therefore morally appropriate for us to protect the weak from such oppression. It is also incredibly ironic for pro-welfare state people to make arguments such as the one I quoted. They respond very differently when people say that the poor should help themselves rather than rely on government handouts.
Josh and others argue that the cost of protecting the weak is too high in the case of Iraq. However, it is difficult to maintain this stand and simultaneously argue that we went into Iraq out of self interest rather than morality e.g. for the oil.
And, by the way, if morality and self-interest are aligned, so much the better.