Go Local: Morality and International Activism

Ethics and Global Politics 6 (1):1-24 (2013)
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Abstract
A step towards constructing an ethics of international activism is proposed by formulating a series of constraints on what would constitute morally permissible agency in the context that involves delivering services abroad, directly or indirectly. Perhaps surprisingly, in this effort the author makes use of the concept of ‘force multiplier’. This idea and its official applications have explanatory importance in considering the correlation between the post-Cold War phenomenal growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations and the emergence of the US as the sole, unchallenged superpower. Four moral constraints useful for morally assessing international activism are formulated and defended. The final outcome is an argument in favor of an overarching duty for any activist-minded Westerner to go local, while developing nations are urged to closely regulate, even criminalize, activities by international activists and ‘human rights organizations’ on their territory when not in solidarity or in support of local movements. The position defended, urging the normative primacy of local over international activism, also finds support in Immanuel Kant’s Third Definitive Article for A Perpetual Peace.
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Archival date: 2013-04-12
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