Contact Us    
Why Fight For Qadhafi?

There are understandable reasons the Libyan soldier believe's he's doing the right thing.

by James Leroy Wilson
July 19, 2011

Bookmark and Share
Why Fight For Qadhafi?

One of those enduring questions is moral universalism vs. moral relativism.

I've preferred the relativistic side of the argument, with one caveat.

I WON'T say that there is no Right and Wrong and that everything is random. Nor would I say that ultimate Right and Wrong are in the mere eye of the beholder, or that we "should" respect the fact that right and wrong seem to vary from culture to culture. People who make these arguments are often caught in their own double standard. THEY often want to judge others, they don't want YOU to judge.

So, my caveat is that, in the sense there might be a God or Ultimate Truth, there is likely some form of Ultimate Ethics.

But perceiving it and applying it to one's circumstances is a different story. Most people want to do the "right" thing, but find themselves in a world with no good options. Two people who choose differently may find themselves on the opposite side of a shooting war.

Who am I to say who chose wrongly, if I've never walked in their shoes?

Most people in the mainstream of American opinion believe that signing up to join the military is inherently honorable, no matter which party holds the White House. Indeed, pride in military service has been found nearly everywhere in the world, ever since the creation of modern nation-states and permanent standing armies.

It is no wonder, then, that many join the military even in under dictatorships. It is true that many are drafted. Many others may see the military as the best escape from poverty. But they may also have a patriotic desire to defend the country.

We can see this in the eyes of, say, a Libyan soldier. From the soldier's perspective, whatever could be said about Qadhafi, he has for forty years in a dangerous region . . .

  • Protected Libya from foreign domination and exploitation
  • Saved the Libyan people from extremists who would impose even greater oppression

Is it any wonder why this soldier resists NATO and fights the rebels? He is unlikely to view the rebels as fighting for Freedom and Democracy. He is MORE likely to view them as terrorists and extremists. Even the Western media has conceded that this perception is, at least to some degree, correct.

I understand why that Libyan soldier is fighting for his country.

But is he doing the "right" thing? Is he applying the supposed Universal Moral Law to his circumstance?

Well, he is an agent of the Libyan State, which is doing as all States have ever done:

  • Resist foreign attack
  • Put down internal rebellion

Is defending one's country a violation of the Moral Law?

And, if civil order is not a universal "principle," isn't it almost everywhere recognized as a practical, desirable good?
 The soldier may side with an imperfect, even miserable Qadhafi regime in order to restore civil order and punish those who disrupted it.

Is this wrong?

An unjust civil order is, to most people's minds, preferable to the chaos of war and uncertainty of a "regime change" where the new Boss may be worse than the Old Boss.

Qadhafi's soldiers are fighting not only for their country, but they could believe themselves to be doing the "right" thing in a moral sense.

Perhaps the mistake most people make is that they believe the Military and other uses of State force are the most appropriate tools for the enforcement of Moral Law. Even if Libya's rebels were all Jeffersonian Democrats, was taking up arms and starting a war the most "moral" way to effect change in that country?

In the United States, there is a large and growing number of people thoroughly disgusted with U.S. military aggression (including against Libya), the incarceration of people whose "crimes" were consensual, the taking of property without due process, the Individual Mandate, and a host of other government assaults on the liberty and dignity of the individual. But we don't intend to take up arms, and we don't demand that others take up arms to advance our cause.

In Star Trek 5, at one climactic point Captain Kirk asks, "Why does God need a Spaceship?"

In that spirit I ask, "Why does Moral Truth need a gun?"

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

» jim102670@yahoo.com

Ron Paul Is a Nut (and So Am I)
Published September 10, 2008

Forget about red states and blue states. Wilson's unique take on political topics is refreshingly not politics as usual.

» Buy Now
» More Information
RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson
Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by James Leroy Wilson
47 for 46 for 45
My favorite movies since when I was born
by James Leroy Wilson, 3/15/16
Hired Gun Quarterbacks
They rarely win the Super Bowl.
by James Leroy Wilson, 2/9/16
Fixing Football's Overtime
Get rid of the coin toss!
by James Leroy Wilson, 1/19/16
Solving the NBA's Conference Imbalance
Get rid of them!
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/26/15
The Problem of School
We develop differently, but arbitrary age rules punish us.
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/19/15
Deflating and defaming Tom Brady
Punishing without evidence
by James Leroy Wilson, 5/12/15
Should Floyd Mayweather be allowed to fight?
The Nevada Athletic Commission is wrong, but not for the reason you think.
by James Leroy Wilson, 4/28/15
» Complete List (565)

RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson: RSS Feed for James Leroy Wilson

Recently Published
View Article Black Deaths Matter
A call for changes in law enforcement
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 4/16/21
A Library of Devotional Classics
Cataloging the timeless volumes we cherish
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 4/9/21
Remembering a Fairytale Prince
Recounting a rather remarkable life
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 4/9/21
Easter is Breaking
A new hymn text for Resurrection Sunday
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 4/2/21
In Praise of the Master Artist
A celebration of Springtime
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/26/21
The Lenten Journey
Celebrating a somber season of trust
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/19/21
A Royal Shaft
Prince Harry and Meghan make waves
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/12/21

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?
Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2021 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top