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Open thread 2.

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November 10, 2003

Way busy. So here’s some good stuff from elsewhere on this internet web thing.

Jacob Weisberg in Slate:

The assumption that events will conform to a preconceived model is a failing to which neoconservatives are notably vulnerable. Part of this may be Marxist residue that never quite washed off. The intellectual descendants of Trotskyists, the neocons find the idea of revolution from above, in which intellectuals and ideas play the crucial role, instinctively appealing. Many neocons also tend to buy into overly deterministic, Hegelian theories of history (see Fukuyama, Frank). In this sense, the assumption that Iraq was destined to become a liberal democracy with just a nudge from the United States is an error akin to Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick’s Hannah Arendt-inspired view that Communist totalitarian societies could never reform from within. There was nothing wrong with that theory either, except that it happened to be completely wrong.
Mark A. R. Kleiman:
I don’t really want to see Rush Limbaugh spend the next twenty-five years of his life in prison, which is what would happen if the laws of the State of Florida were enforced. But I really do want to see the politicians and pundits who support both Limbaugh and the drug war explain why that particular law shouldn’t be enforced in this case, and why it shouldn’t be repealed.

And I’d also like to hear their defense, if they have one, for sending a woman to prison for thirteen years after convicting her of murder when it turned out that her stillborn child had traces of cocaine in its bloodstream. Of course, it’s obvious that homeless people with borderline mental retardation ought to be held strictly accountable for their actions, unlike multimillionaires with logorrhea and strong political connections.

Matthew Yglesias:
It’s important to remember that our current policy has created a classic moral hazard problem for our allies. Looking at the situation narrowly, it’s very much in their interests for us to succeed even if that requires some sacrifice on their part. At the same time, the jam we’re now stuck in is one they specifically cautioned us against getting into. If they bail us out now, the message will be that the US need no longer give allied opinions any consideration whatsoever since we’ll know that when things go wrong we can get help. So they don’t want to help us. But they do want us to succeed. And to succeed we need their help.
Matthew Yglesias again:
The right spent a lot of time in the leadup to the Iraq War pointing to various loony figures on the left and explaining why they were wrong. During that same leadup, I was literally surrounded by such loony figures and, frankly, I did the same. In retrospect, this seems like a big mistake on my part. Not that the arguments I was hearing against the war on campus made much sense or that the people offering them would run American foreign policy in a wise way (God forbid), but at the end of the day, the bad arguments being offered by the people actually running the country were a more significant problem, and one that I too often got distracted from. Once bitten, twice shy, I suppose, and I’m now very reluctant to get back in the whole “damn that far left!” game.
[01:43 PM]
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