Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Road to Hell and the Goo-Goo Genocidaire

Last week I linked to an article by Theodore Dalrymple on how misguided compassion of some people hurts the poor. That misguided compassion has a far deadlier counterpart in well-meaning people who espouse peace without understanding that merely wishing for peace will not create the conditions necessary to keep and safeguard it. Walter Russell Mead calls these people "goo-goo genocidaires".

The people I have in mind are the ‘goo-goo genocidaires,’ the willfully blind reformers, civil society activists, clergy, students and others whose foolishness and ignorance was a necessary condition for tens of millions of deaths in the last hundred years. Unreflective, self-righteous ‘activists’ thought that to espouse peace was the same thing as to create or safeguard it. As a result, tens of millions died. Unless this kind of thinking is exposed and repudiated, it is likely to lead to as many or more deaths in the 21st.

We all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; this turns out to be particularly true when it comes to the road to foreign policy hell. Over the years good people or at least people who wanted to be good or thought they were, motivated by what seemed to them to be the highest of motives, have taken political stands and made policy proposals that helped mass murderers gain power in their own countries and launch themselves on international careers of conquest and mayhem. At other times, fortunately, they’ve failed to change policy; still, they wasted a lot of people’s time and made life significantly more difficult for those whose plans to help the world ultimately worked.

Read it all.

(via Instapundit)
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