There was an astonishing story in the news recently and I read it with my mind already decided on who was in the wrong. It wasn’t until I reached a paragraph buried deeply in the story that I suddenly realized it was not as simple as I first thought.
Basically, the World Health Organization has been running a polio eradication campaign for many years now. Their tremendous success has largely eradicated the crippling disease from the world. There are only three countries left that report cases: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
The situation in Pakistan is that there is a rumor that the polio vaccines are actually a campaign of sterilization conducted by the western world in an attempt to destroy muslims. They also think it is a covert attempt to spy on the Taliban and those who support them.
Before we leap to ridicule lets examine the situation. Remember that in England primarily, but also in the United States, there are many people who refuse to vaccinate because they fear a massive medical conspiracy covering up the supposed connection between vaccines and autism. Secondly, the CIA recently conducted a fake vaccination campaign in Pakistan in an attempt to find Osama Bin Laden.
This is exactly why Libertarians such as myself advocate a non-interference defense strategy. When we go out and try to assassinate our enemies, to attack our enemies, the unexpected consequences hurt us more than our enemies ever could. The hatred that most of the muslim world feels for us was engendered by our behavior in Iran, Egypt, and other dictatorial countries we supported for reasons of national security.
I’m certainly not advocating ignorance. Polio is an awful disease and WHO is doing a magnificent job of stamping it out. The people of Pakistan should demand vaccinations. The Taliban should support the efforts of this organization. The job of government is to serve the people. Polio eradication is objectively good. Murdering health workers is despicable and won’t get you much support with the common person. Many of the brave workers in Pakistan are refusing to stop their efforts despite the murders. That is real courage. That sort of courage will win out in the end when violently trying to destroy our enemies will only create more enemies.
When we help bring water to a village, when we help eradicate a terrible disease, when we improve the lives of others, that is when we will triumph.
Do we have enemies? Yes. Should we defend ourselves? Yes. Is that the way to win the world over to a representative republic style of government? No. We should be a shining example and our fake campaign to eradicate polio was us at our worst. Even if it helped us find Osama Bin Laden it wasn’t worth it. At least in my opinion.
Tell me what you think!
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water
Future Release: The Spear of the Hunt (in conceptual stage)