The Michael Ignatieff’s perception of democracy in the article “Lesser Evils “seems to be sophisticated and contradictory. “The Lesser Evil is Not Good Enough” a book review by Rabkin Jeremy on the other hand is confusing on the appropriate way to handle terrorists. The articles contradict the ideas and demonstrate a rational argument for doing the same. Terrorism in itself is wrong yet he advocates for a fair hearing and dialogue with terrorists. A summary and comprehensive analysis of the two articles will determine which of the two articles is weighty.
Summary of: The Lesser Evil Is Not Good
Michael Ignatieff argues that even liberal democracies must perpetrate evil in order to fight or prevent worse evil. He wants to correct human rights moralism in order to allow reasonable political calculations that a statesman must make when confronting terrorism. He defended Bush’s administration decision to attack Iraq for the fear of what President Saddam Hussein would do with nuclear weapons of mass destruction (Rabkin, 2005). However, he still wants to preserve moral outlook of the modern human rights advocacy without recognizing how importantly unpolitical and anti-political it is.
He rejects the perfectionist counsel that the suspension of normal protection is a betrayal of constitutional ethics. He insists that the choice of which constitutional protection to hold or suspend is not determined by realistic contemplation of the moment. He urges that legislatures and courts must take active role in assuring that rights are not restricted more or longer than necessary. However, Ignatieff wants to move the debate from the constitution to moral doctrine that justifies actions. He is taken with the vision of equality and points out that no government should assume the lives of its citizens more important than that of non-citizens (Rabkin, 2005). He embraces the logic that the two parties should have the same rights and opposes the American government deportation of illegal aliens mostly of Islamic or Arabic origin.
In his master principle about equality status of human beings so many questions are raised. He contradicts the notion that nations need to defend themselves. He treats other conflicts as if they are normal political situations. He says that though some terrorist activities may be responded to using military actions that does not justify indifferences to the claim that inspire support to these organizations. He argues that military actions against terrorists cannot succeed if used entirely alone without the involvement of other provisional strategies. He sees the inclusion of dialogue with terrorist as a better way as it has been successful in the French withdrawal in Algeria, with Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka and proposes the same would be appropriate if used against Palestinians.
He continually insists on the importance of representing respect for international human rights even in the midst of war. In that accord, he blames the US for failing to observe the Geneva convection while handling prisoners of war (Rabkin, 2005). However, this cannot be applicable when other nation has bleached the same treaty that is meant to stop war.
Summary of: Lesser Evil
The article is based on in the age of terrorism, which has taken most of the time and has been a threat to many countries. However, the evil came to reveal himself on September 9 when there was horrible conventional attack. For America having stable federal government, there was a serious public discussion which was conducted by the Supreme Court and commission to address on how to balance civil liberties and national security as whole against war on terror (Ignatieff, 2004). They said that they had best reasons to fear the fire. Even so must they fight terrorism with terror or must they sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety? But there are forces that pull them to another directions, this is the anxiety that a violent response to violence make people morally indistinguishable from their enemies.
However, a democracy sometimes leads to lethal mistakes. What was observed during on September 9 in America was an attack that could make a country to destroy trust they had in one another. By doing this, it become a political challenge when leaders are making progressive decision over terrorism. It worth cost for America to fight terrorism by losing its democratic souls and pull off its already fragile tissue of trust that binds its leadership and destroy trust it’s had over other countries for sake of its citizens (Ignatieff, 2004). Ignatieff make sense and worth honor when he argues that American should not shrink from the use of violence by undermining liberal democracy however they should use force that is necessary for their survivals.
This is justified by the citizens who are barely unpleasant with democracy, they argues that if the federal security is unable to protect them from their enemies they would take the law into their own hands. This expose the meaning of lesser evil which Ignatieff suggested that when there two bad choices its often that one is not bad as the other and should therefore the better should be chosen over the that is greater threat. Defeatist is not by thinking about the worst but t is the best way to avoid defeat. Therefore unprecedented menace such of Al Qaeda which comprises suicidal agents bent on mass destruction should not be feared some force is necessary as potent response to terror be it direct or decisive. The necessity of lesser evil helps to come up with constructive and progressive idea over terrorism networks by realizing that defeating terror requires violence.
Therefore democracies must resort these meaning by destroying its point of view. Thinking of lesser evil is unavoidable because if we observe rules and regulations of law basically permits terrorists to exploit our freedoms (Ignatieff, 2004). Therefore to defeat evil there is necessity to traffic in evils. Thus amerce could applies this law to its terrorists by detaining the suspects, assassinations or even pre-emptive wars these are evils since they strays national law. It is hard to regulate war by using ethical rules or democratic oversight than traditional wars. The real difference between citizens and terrorist is that both play by these rules even if they do not understand them. It is hard to control and maintain self-control during the time of war or terrorist attack but democratic control can be applicable during war on terror.
The article (The Lesser Evil is Not Good Enough) seems to be quite realistic as it actually reveals in details what governments do in the name of protecting its subjects. He clearly shows how states violate human rights in the name of guarding or protecting them. Liberal democracies must perpetuate evil in order to fully establish control of their jurisdiction. His views are that democracies should not be less evil but should rather be fully evil if they have to work effectively and efficiently as per the expectations of the subjects. What makes the article even better is Michael Ignatieff intention to bring to light the fact that suspension of normal legal protections is not necessarily a violation of human rights. Terrorism is destructive and states must use all ways to combat it and according to him very evil methods or ways are the ones that we work best in contending it. In Lesser Evil, the article too advocates that evil should be fought with evil but the magnitude of the evil to be used in fighting people such as terrorists should not be beyond a certain limit. The rights of terrorist and the consequences of attacking the terrorists should too be considered. The Lesser Evils seems to support only a small magnitude of evil that will make life better for the general public without making life intolerable to the terrorists. The Lesser Evils argument is realistic but unfortunately, such strategies will not work in the contemporary world where every single state or individual is driven by their own selfish interests and need to succeed over and above its opponents.
InThe Lesser Evil is Not Good EnoughMichael urges legislatures and courts should make sure that human rights are not restricted than necessary as this will potentially hinder states ability to fight acts such as terrorism. Human rights should not in any way be used to protect terrorists though they are also human beings too. However, at some point his argument seems to be ambiguous and unrealistic. For instance, to what extent should states protect or uphold human rights and how can this be measured? Also, why should terrorist is regarded as any other human being, considering the problems that they create in the society? Should we consider the constitution or moral doctrines in case of an emergency? His failure to clearly retort these questions indicates a great flaw in his argument thus making it difficult for one to consider it for application. He however stands firmly on the belief that terrorism should be fought without mercy. Destructive policies and proliferating inhuman actions is what he advocates for. Terrorism is itself evil and stopping it requires that those want to stop it must use even greater evil disregarding the common notion of human rights since if human rights are regarded, then the war on terror will never be a success. On the other hand, in Lesser Evils a little evil is enough to combat terrorism and absurd practices should never be used as this is a violation of the terrorists’lives.
In the Lesser Evils, the ethical challenge of war on terror is to simply exonerate duties to those who have dishonored their duties to us. The war on terror is a war whose main aim is to preserve the identity of democratic societies. However, the war must be fought with the rights of all in mind. The Lesser Evils is incorrect since application of less evil will never end terrorism but might even prolong it and it will remain an issue from generation to generation.
Ignatieff, Michael. "Lesser Evils." New York Times. 2004. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
Rabkin, Jeremy. "The Lesser Evil is Not Good Enough." The Claremont Institute. 25 Jan. 2005. Web.3 Dec. 2013.