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France and Libya

Al Jazeera reported on the French government's military involvement in the ongoing Libyan revolution. France has been providing arms and serious support to the rebel forces, which are closing on Tripoli. I believe France is doing the right thing; Qadaffi is an almost uniquely harmful leader (I don't believe simply being a dictator suffices), and this is an excellent chance to remove him. The halfhearted American commitment, combined with the confused NATO-as-such arrangement (contrast to NATO members), is not enough to provide momentum for the only acceptable end result of this conflict. In neighbouring nations, the status quo is/was not sufficiently bad to warrant either this risk (of our involvement) or the coming risk of "what comes next?" (I am pretty neutral on Assad); here, France recognises a duty to engage decisively while the US worries about cost.

I think the US is in the wrong here, just as I think withdrawing from Afghanistan is a terrible mistake. This defeatism is self-fulfilling. I laud the efforts of John McCain in pushing for heavier engagement, and recognise that he's bucking both the (currently libertarian-faction-led) Republican and Democratic parties here. I find it shameful that the socialist party in France opposes this; the goals of socialism are not aided by a refusal to gamble in ways that better the world. Our goals should be to raise the levels of civilisation ever higher while clearing the psychological and economic barriers preventing us from taking the next step.

Today, after a terrible migraine lifted a bit, I took a walk around the neighbourhood of Haverford/Ardmore. I'm making a serious effort towards liking this area more. It's no SqHill, but that's a high bar to meet.

I've been thinking about the whole "Gay Girl in Damascus"/entryism/fake identities thing a lot recently, reevaluating my own fake identities in the light of the fallout. I'm almost ready to post about that. I keep getting distracted by debates on sex/gender/identity/frameworks-of-thought/intellectual-freedom though, particularly on social networks. I very strongly know where I stand on the latter (for the person-as-philosopher who can decide what frameworks suit them, against anyone who places demands on others frameworks), but defending/discussing that when it comes up seems to be emotionally draining. An interesting question came up on IRC today (where I did not express my opinion), where "is 'sex-change' surgery really elective and should it be covered through health care planbs?". I actually don't have a strong opinion on that mater, but I do have the strong metaposition that either a yes or no response is reasonable and I get very unhappy when people take a strong/emotional stance on the matter either way. Maybe that's almost an opinion.

I have a general gripe related to this; when people let their friendships (and desire to maintain them) shape their philosophical opinions. I very strongly feel this is improper; one has sold out one's philosophy if one changes it to make someone else more comfortable. Philosophies should be more sacred than friends, although good friends should be able to disagree on very touchy matters in ways that don't damage a friendship. This requires people temper their passions and keep their phrasing non-cathartic. Occasionally there are issues worth cutting social ties over, but these should be rare and ideally not based on complex judgement.