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Ukraine and the Power of Moral Judgment

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Agustina Vergara Cid and Ben Bayer discuss the reaction to President Biden’s off-script declaration that Vladimir Putin cannot remain in power and the important role of moral judgment in foreign policy.

Among the topics covered:

  • The moral failings of the Biden administration’s foreign policy;
  • The meaning of Biden’s comment on Putin in the context of his speech;
  • The Biden administration’s separation of morality from policy in its “clarification” of the comment;
  • Why Biden’s critics are wrong to assume that harsh moral judgment makes one vulnerable to evil;
  • Dictatorships’ dependence on the moral support of their citizens;
  • Ayn Rand’s view of the importance of acting on moral judgment in foreign policy;
  • How Russia’s membership in the UN is a symptom of American moral neutrality;
  • How the U.S. could act on the moral condemnation of Russia without going to war;
  • The claim that the American judgment of Russia is an instance of “cancel culture;”
  • Why moral condemnation is a form of persuasion that can prevent violence;
  • How to regard Russia’s possession of a powerful military when pronouncing moral judgment on it;
  • Whether moral judgment is important in all branches of government.

Mentioned in the discussion are the essay “How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?” by Ayn Rand, the book What Justice Demands by Elan Journo, the articles “Ayn Rand’s Radical View of the United Nations” and “The Real Reason Why Russia Won’t Be Kicked Out of the UN” by Agustina Vergara Cid, and the New Ideal Live episodes “The Meaning of Russia’s War on Ukraine” and “Nationalism and Russia’s War on Ukraine.”

The podcast was recorded on April 6, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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