The Shoeblack and the Sovereign: Reflections on Ethics and Foreign Policy

George Walden, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (176p) ISBN 978-0-312-02281-5
Thomas Carlyle argued that shoeblacks and sovereign lords were equally to blame for the atrocities of the French Revolution. Like Carlyle, Walden, a British MP, believes that voters and nonvoters alike in a democracy are morally responsible for their country's actions in the world. In this erudite, tentative probe of the ethical dimensions of foreign policy, he attacks both ``Brutalists,'' who appeal to ``the national interest'' and ``Pietists,'' who seek shortcuts through redistribution of wealth. He seeks humanistic principles to guide the calculus of decision-making on armament sales, immigration policies, foreign aid and the nuclear arms race (he is a staunch supporter of a nuclear ``deterrent''). For Walden, Thomas Hobbes's vision of men as egalitarian, warring brutes finds an echo in the U.N., where each nation's vote in the General Assembly carries equal weight. He offers acerbic comments on the danger of television in shaping our ignorance of foreign affairs. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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