Israel Political Philosophy Politics The Opinionsphere

Leverage and Power

Glenn Greenwald:

A country, a company or an individual has every right to remain free of “interference” from others as long as they remain independent of the party seeking to “interfere.”  But if one chooses instead to become dependent on someone else or seeks help and aid from them, then complying with the demands of those providing the aid is an inevitable price that must be paid – and justifiably so.

Greenwald makes broad principled statements like this a lot in support of the specific points he is making – in this case, the idea that Israel can’t complain about American interference in its domestic affairs.

But as a civil libertarian, I find it difficult to see Greenwald accepting the application of this principle in other spheres. Wouldn’t that imply that the government would exert total control over people on welfare for example? What regulations would this invalidate between individuals and corporations?

As a practical matter, what Greenwald states is true – in that independence is inevitably given up when one gives up leverage. But at the same time, there are various laws and customs that prevent one from exercising one’s full leverage. In most circumstances, Greenwald would – I think – accept that.

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