The enthusiasm for yesterday's post is warmly received! Yet for all the discussion about Libya, I can't help but feel dismayed by what was in fact said about Libya, which wasn't much. As indicated already, I don't find generic discussions of Western foreign policy to be sufficient for my interests, nor do I believe they should ever act as a substitute for trying to understand a situation from the perspective of those primarily affected. To the degree that I use such a critique, it is one part of a broader equation, not the only part.
This in turn points to my method for evaluating the legitimacy of authority in a particular situation, which might best be described as something like a non-ideological anarchism. For our purposes here, I will only reiterate that it's really not important what your view is in a situation that primarily impacts other people. It's important what their view is, and what their preferences are under the circumstances as they experience them. So if you aren't part of that situation, but want to have some relevant relation to those within it, you have to try to establish a consensual connection that acknowledges reality on both sides. As far as I am concerned, if you don't want that, you won't do it.
The main reason why I am uninterested in imposing an ideological template on every situation that comes along is that it provides no incentive to even try to understand what is happening from anyone's perspective but my own -- i.e. to understand the situation. What I believe is an uncomfortable fact for many of the left is that if they let other people express their preferences, it is unlikely that they will fit neatly into their preconceived world view. And what we find in such cases is that this prompts not renewed engagement, but anxiety and condemnation.
Needless to say, I have my interests and there's never any expectation on my part that they should be yours. If you want, you are welcome to engage them in your own way, with all that genuine engagement entails.