I agree with the argument here:

Which is another reason the technocrat avoids this mode of argument. Because to see people in this way is to be seen. If it’s about the empirical evidence and the abstract costs of acting or not acting, the expert can stay invisible and outside. But when we sit down to persuade through love or affection, we are naked and vulnerable ourselves. Our bodies and habits are as seen as those we are looking upon. The worst of all worlds is the person who borrows the grandiose certainty and intensity of public health and imports its rhetoric into more intimate kinds of observing and commenting upon others. There is no surer recipe for a flame war between “mommy blogs”, for example, than one blog attacking another’s vision of parenting in this kind of olympian voice, where the critic’s own family life is off the table and beyond the gaze. ...

Maybe the greatest reason that a neoliberal society doesn’t choose the route of caring and cherishing is the further obligations we might incur down that road. We might have to become far more subtle and careful about our entitled and dismissive readings of the ethical content of everyday life–and we might eventually have to do more than ask people not to do something.

I've been kicking around a paper on just war theory as it applies to post-conflict situations. The basic premise of the paper is simple: successful post-war reconstructions require an investment of decades, and everyone, from politicians to normative theorists on down, is devoted to strenuously ignoring this reality. Sometimes the objection is that continued involvement past the end of a war makes the specter of colonialism too possible, as though states with asymmetrical power don't have to figure out how to live in the same world anyway. Sometimes the objection is just that they/"no one" would be willing to accept that kind of commitment. Instead, we get hard-and-fast rules and institutional frameworks that allow people to give the impression of caring without the necessary--and messy--reality of trying to help other people do complicated things. In this respect, American treatment of Afghanistan is depressing: I'm not sure how much we did or could have done, but the resigned acceptance that things are probably going to get worse ("the Taliban will probably take over again, but they might be marginally better than a bunch of warlords, at least so long as you're not a woman") seems like an abandonment of responsibility because people are tired of having had that responsibility. (That's not to take a position one way or another on whether we should have been there in the first place. But being there, leaving and saying "oh well" seems like a necessary and regrettable outcome of the kind of bureaucratic state-level view of things.)

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