Are the lives of compatriots worth more?
Foreign Policy in Focus has an emotional article on how we value Iraqi and Afghan lives as compared to those of Americans. The article begins:”When a U.S. civilian is murdered in a foreign land or in the United States, we rightfully feel angry, sad, and some of us demand vengeance. These are normal, primordial, and instinctive feelings of group loyalty and herd mentality that have bound communities and countries for thousands of years.” And yet, they are in some sense completely irrational. Why should I feel any more for a stranger I have never met who is American versus one who is Afghan or Chinese? And yet most of us do and most of us find no problem acting on this emotion. I’ve written before on this priority thesis, but take a read of the article for a argument on how we might have taken this idea too far in our current wars.
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