Letter: A philosopher’s choice and the case for intervention

News

“It is not contrary to reason,” wrote David Hume, the 18th century Scottish philosopher, “for me to chuse my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me.” The US, the UK, the EU and Nato have all said they will not directly intervene militarily to prevent the “uneasiness” of even some hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians (“Investigators start to gather evidence of possible atrocities against civilians”, Report, April 5).

But is there a threshold number for those suffering horrendous deaths — 5mn, 10mn or 20mn — which, if reached, leads the west to intervene, be it through reason, compassion or perceived self-interest?

And if that happens, what have we to say to those who were allowed to suffer and die before that threshold was reached?

Peter Cave
London W1, UK

Articles You May Like

Maryland bond program links housing, student loan forgiveness
Sunak to declare Britain is ‘at a crossroads’ ahead of election
DuPage Water plans bond-financed water plant to exit Chicago system
Top Wall Street analysts are feeling confident about these 3 stocks after earnings
Bronze bust honoring the late Charlie Munger wowed crowd in Omaha at Berkshire meeting