Friday, May 19, 2006

The More We Talk, the Less We Think

The Volokh Conspiracy has a very interesting example of the way in which an opposing viewpoint is not refuted, but simply delegitimized. One of the telltales of this underhanded tactic, Volokh notes, is an failure by the refuter to provide a link to the original source material, something far more common in 'responsible' newspapers than in the blogs. Eugene Volokh writes:

Here's today's Slate's Bushism of the Day:

"That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three -- three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?" -- Showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2006

Now it strikes me as a little odd that Slate, one of the pioneers of online journalism, doesn't take advantage of one of the great advantages of online journalism over offline journalism -- the ability to link to the original sources (eithers ones that are already online or ones that are put up on the Web by the journal itself), so that readers can see the context for themselves.

Here is the context for that quote:

That's George Washington, the first President, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three -- three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting? People say, so what? Well, here's the "so what." You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone. If they're still analyzing the presidency of George Washington -- (laughter.) So Presidents shouldn't worry about the history. You just can't. You do what you think is right, and if you're thinking big enough, that history will eventually prove you right or wrong. But you won't know in the short-term.

Without this context, Bush's quote seems mysteriously inarticulate, and understandable only as an unintentional self-parody of his own unintellectualism. Why would he say that it's interesting that he read three or four books about Washington this year? Mystifying.

It may be that President Bush is a dunce, chimp and idiot. But if so then a cherry-picked quote would not even be necessary to prove the point. It is characteristic of chimpanzees that even if you print their remarks in full they still sound like chimpanzees. The actual point of the the George Washington remark appears to be that history often delivers a judgment different from that of contemporary journalism. This assertion could be legitimately disputed by Slate, which often has wonderful articles. But in this unfortunate instance they've chosen to simply dismiss it as the babbling of a retarded Harvard Business School Graduate and ex-fighter pilot who happens to be President of the United States. There are precious few journalists who can claim as much; and while neither being a Harvard alum, fighter pilot or US President is proof of any particular genius, people having those accomplishments should not normally be presumed illiterate or mentally retarded unless there is compelling proof to the contrary. And the proof, as the full Volokh citation shows is not only absent but suppressed, possibly because it is not proof at all, unless it is proof of the writer's bias.

In an atmosphere of partisan debate it is very easy -- even natural -- for writers on both sides to inflate their own virtues and dismiss those of their opponents. I've argued that one of the things we've lost since anonymous blogging went out of style is the necessity to examine an argument on its own merits -- because we didn't know who wrote it. Once we know an argument's provenance it changes everything. Recently columnist Robert Scheer saw an argument he liked, then trembled when he saw who had made it.

These days, even when George W. Bush is right, he’s wrong.

Six years of deceitful defenses of disastrous policy decisions will have that effect on a president’s credibility. It is good news that the public is finally hip to his con, yet it is worrisome when surprisingly sensible proposals by the president on immigration are automatically rejected because of the source.

What is different about Bush’s stance on immigration is that the president is, at long last, dealing with a subject he actually knows something about — as opposed to his failed war of words against terrorism, Iraq, nuclear weapons proliferation and even Social Security. On this subject, the former governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico grasps that the problem is complex and the solution elusive and that fact and logic do matter.

From now on, President Bush should sign his articles "Commando Cody of the Rocketmen". That would make them more acceptable to the literati.

Cody awaits the onslaught of the Zombies of the Stratosphere


Andrew Sullivan justly warns about how far this process of delegitimizing one's ideological opponents has gone.

In Britain, it's a live issue, since a follower of Opus Dei, Ruth Kelly, is now the Equality Minister in the Blair cabinet, bringing calls for removal from some gay groups. I think those groups are mistaken. Kelly has every right to her religious faith; and she has also publicly insisted that as a public servant, her first loyalty is to uphold the laws as they stand. That's exactly the right position; and exactly the right distinction between faith and politics.

One indicator of how much the early 21st century has come to resemble the era of religious wars is the revival in various guises of the concept of cuius regio, eius religio "a phrase in Latin that means 'whose rule, his religion'." The Free Dictionary notes that cuius regio eius religio forms the basis for state sponsored religions, and once granted that Political Correctness constitutes a religion in all but name it becomes apparent that all candidates for high or official positions will become subject to a doctrinal test. The Inquisition returns in its modern form, asking after Blasphemy and Witchcraft -- put differently of course. The nice thing about Commando Cody is that, never having existed, he is ineligible to be questioned by the modern Inquisition. Except by the Radar Men from the Moon.


Blogger Pastorius said...

I love your blog, and, I suspect it will be a big influence on public debate for some time to come. However, anonymous bloggin has not gone out of style. Instead, Pajamas Media has a policy against anonymity which you have chosen to adhere to.

There are many fine bloggers out there who remain anonymous, and many of them will be the bigger bloggers of tomorrow.

The canonical writers of the blogosphere are not set in stone.

5/19/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The admin has resorted to the most despicable means to try to delegitimize those who disagree wrt to their ILLEGAL Immigration policies.

I don't regard GWB as stupid, simply arrogant and dishonest about his record, his intent, and his defense of our indefensible Senate.
His disdain for the people and the laws of this country is self-delegitimizing

5/19/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Volokh should also weigh on the invidious tactic of sophists that try to derail arguments by insisting that others taking the opposite side become their research assistants by providing all links and citations demanded.

1. You say that hundreds of Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists. If that is true, provide me with links and documentation to each supposed death. And at least two sources of definition of terrorism, agreed to internationally. I expect your answer shortly, or, if you refuse, obviously your argument is weak and groundless.
2. You post that many birdlike dinosaurs have been found in China showing evolution existed. If that is true, then surely you can link to all examples and pictures of this..If you don't spend the next day or so compiling this, WE will all assume you are lying and have no proof.

That is fine for the courtroom, or when getting a publishable academic paper ready for peer review, but on the Internet, I don't particularly believe forums or and arguments should be sidetracked by opponents presuming they, as superiors because they believe otherwise, have the right to be the de facto judge or PhD dissertation advisor.

The tactic is especially irritating when a simple opinion is expressed and some wannabe lawyer or supervising academic comes in and demands a compendium of proofs to support your opinion.

I dare say, that if you express the opinion that Yassir Arafat was a corrupt, murdering, lying is your obligation to build a case for that, complete with links and original sources. What exactly is the evidence that Arafat was a lying toad. Please cite 5 specific examples of this. As for corruption, I demand you furnish proof, incidents, and monetary sums. As for murdering, please furnish, on this Blog, within the next 24 hours, specific cases where Arafat has been charged with, tried, or convicted of that crime along with quotes from relevant texts of International law.

What this is is essentially a passive aggressive tactic that 1st seeks to make the challenger the default superior, and the challengee the lackey that must scut off for materials to present and supplicate to the challenger, awaiting their superior's judgement.

Best not to play that game. Asking for a quote or something is fine now and then, but not the tactic of considering anyone elses work a formal court case or academic paper where an obligation to provide all demanded missing info exists - when the tactic is simply to establish who is subordinated to who's wishes, and put one side in a position of being judged by the other...

If someone wishes to argue against a charge that, say Yassir was a corrupt, murderous, lying toad - they should make there own case why he isn't - before demanding formal evidence that he is.

These are the days of Google, Lexus-Nexus and ability to look up and determine for oneself if claims are specious or quotes are incorrect.


5/19/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

It is journalists that I generally find to be dimwitted and inarticulate.

For an american, Bush is a fantastic president. At least he understands a great deal more about important trends, and what to do about them, than most of his detractors. As for his level of articulateness, Americans as a group seem to have lost the fine facility for the turn of phrase, not only Bush.

5/19/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Probably the worst example of this sort of selective reporting was the infamous supermarket scanner incident during the Presidental campaign of 1992.

Pres G.H.W. Bush was described as looking in fascinated wonder at a supermarket laser bar code scanner. This was presented as a fine example example of his lack of connection with the common man. Imagine someone who is President and has never seen a supermarket price scanner!

But in reality the President was visiting the factory where the scanners were made - not a supermarket - and he was fascinated not merely by the concept but by the complex internal workings of the device.

I'm a mechanical engineer - and no doubt I'd be fascinated too, if I ever got to see the guts of one of those things.

But worst of all, a year after the election, when I pointed out this travesty of reporting to a young man who had not voted for Pres Bush he replied "No! He was baffled by an ordinary supermarket checkout! And that is the way it was!"

It is now much easier for me to understand how the Nazis got away with so many lies.

5/19/2006 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Chris & Robin Foleen said...

I believe that was Commando Cody:

5/19/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Chris and Robin,

Thanks for the correction.

5/19/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

In the days of my youth, my father often teased me that I "would rather be right than president.”

My standard response was, "Oh, yeah? Well, just... OH, YEAH?!?"

Evidently this response commends itself to legions of journalists and Left-leaning citizens. These worthies decided long decades since that inarticulate feelings are more to be trusted than any amount of tedious facts. They learned the lesson of the playground that bullying works. This is especially true if the playground monitor is drunk.

In the days of Reagan’s “trickle-down” economy, his economic advisor David Stockman repeated the old axiom about an improving economy, that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It has also been noted that in flush times, even idiots can make a go of things with the most haphazardly managed enterprises. When times then get rough, the marginal operations — those that have idiots running things — tend to fail, sometimes spectacularly.

The coalescence of the global economy is just such a test of many enterprises, economic, governmental, and cultural. Those which maybe sufficed in protected regions, where they were the only game around, suddenly find themselves forced to compete and work as never before. Around the world, many systems and concepts that may have endured from antiquity are so hopelessly inefficient, corrupt, and masturbatory that they were only able to survive so long as any alternative was vigorously suppressed. The Liberal Hypothesis that has been allowed to propagate in the incandescent economy of the industrialized United States constitutes a self-reinforcing delusion. Any evidence that tends to refute its catechism are explained away as the results of evil right-wing racist conservative conspiracies.

The seductive recruiting premise of the Liberal Hypothesis has always been that “If you are compassionate and good, you will want to be a Liberal... be KNOWN as a Liberal... support all Liberal policies. People of good will are by nature Liberal.”

Having accepted that premise, the recruit must also agree that since Liberals are by definition good people who only mean the best for everyone, it follows that anything a Liberal does must be good. It further follows that anyone who opposed Liberals and what they want must be bad, and anything they do must also be bad.” Any troublesome evidence to the contrary MUST be explainable in terms of the original hypothesis, or filed away for much later.

How many times Liberal have acquaintances assumed because I slipped and showed some spasm of compassion for other humans or animals, or made some small gesture or act that was of no immediately obvious profit or advantage to myself, that I MUST therefor be a Democrat or Socialist. How could I not accept the Sainted Jimmy Carter’s opinion of Hamas as definitive if I gave money to the March of Dimes or the North Shore Animal League? How could anyone who leaves that much for a tip be a flint-hearted Republican? How could anyone who plays music for free for strangers in convalescent homes also vote for George W?

Despair is for people who KNOW that there is no hope. Such knowledge is beyond any human, so I refuse to give up on Liberals... I prefer to believe that in the fullness of time, the scales will fall from their eyes and they will see the world as it is.

5/19/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


Rep. Peter King on CSPAN builds a model of a 4'X 6' casement that holds a 12'H X 10'W interlocking steel-reinforced conrete panel topped with three strands of concertina wire.

His pitch is to install it and certify its security value, with firms liable for a reduction in fees, if ilegals get through that section of barrier. Now, the guard would be protecting US business.

He says it is already costing us $6B per year for 2,000 miles (3M/mi.), so the task should be farmed-out. His company will sell anyone a one mile section installed for one payment of $500K. An entrpreneur could by ten miles, and man it 24-7 for under $7M/yr., charge the gov't $8M/yr., saving the gov't $22M/yr/10 miles of barrier, netting the entrepreneur a cool $1M in year one and up to $7M per year thereafter, depending on the contract terms; e.g., 10 miles of da-fence over 10 years at $2M/yr. And the construction/installation is a tax deductible expense.

King says that when the MX gov't fixes their problems, this design can be disassembled and stacked, awaiting the next invasion event. Beautiful.

5/19/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

No talk is the worst of all the alternatives.
Flemming Rose considering a move to America
It gets worse. Not only is Ayaan Hirsi Ali leaving for the USA but Flemming Rose, the editor who published the Mohammed cartoons, is also thinking of jumping ship. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Rose complains that Europe is going wobbly. At the height of the cartoon furor in February, Danish businessmen who criticized their publication were denounced as traitors to free speech.
Since then, a segment of the public, eager for a return to calm, has favored a more conciliatory approach toward Muslim anger, Mr. Rose says.

Hat Tip: Brussels Journal
19 May 2006
Pub Philosopher

5/19/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I think it is very dangerous to give in to intimidation, because it sends a signal: If you threaten enough, we will do as you please," says Mr. Rose.

The U.S. has sometimes sent mixed signals as well. During the cartoon uproar, Washington at first denounced the drawings. As the violence grew, it stressed the importance of free speech.

Determining how to respond to radical Islam "is the key culture war in Europe," Mr. Rose contends.
"This will be the big issue for decades." Europe's large Muslim population has been largely ghettoized. Finding solutions, he says, involves such prickly questions as how to reform welfare systems and how best to absorb immigrants.
- wsj

5/19/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Kofi Anon on forming "Coalitions of the Willing" to get things done

"... This genocide in Darfur, Jim Lehrer said to Annan, "has been well known and reported all over the world. Why has it taken so long to stop this?"

Annan answered: "You can imagine my anguish as a human being and as an African—an African secretary-general—to see us going through this after what we went through in Rwanda. It's very painful and difficult to take."

He then described the way they "operate and run this peacekeeping operation," saying, "It would be a bit like telling the fire department in Washington, D.C., that 'We know you need a fire department, but we'll build you one when the fire breaks.' Because it is when the fire breaks that we [at the U.N.] start putting together the army, we start collecting the money, to create an army that will go in." ...

... "This is the built-in delay in the way we operate," said Annan. "And this is why when member states deem that it is extremely urgent to move quickly, they've tended to put together a coalition of the willing, a multinational force, outside the U.N. so that they can move quickly."

There should have been a coalition of the willing three years ago to bypass the United Nations and thereby save hundreds of thousands of lives of black Muslims in Darfur. Annan now has shown the way to make "never again" mean something.

Meanwhile, at the Gereida refugee camp in Darfur, Medina Hamed, two days after the peace agreement was signed, told New York Times reporter Lydia Polgreen that she will never trust her government after its militia, the janjaweed, seven months ago, slaughtered her two sons, Ahmed, 7, and Hamed, 9, among a group of men looking for food and water outside her village. ..."

Three years of talk, tens of thousands dead.
Children, like that boy outside of Yuma, AZ, just yesterday.

No security and children die.
That is compassion all right.

The above quote, from that neo-con mouthpiece, the "Village Voice", genocide creates strange bedfellows.

5/19/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mr. Verhagen, her neighbor, now lives in a different building in a new apartment he purchased before the ruling. His grandchildren visit again, and he's trying to sell his property in Ms. Hirsi Ali's building for more than $1.3 million.
Mr. Verhagen says he's "very sad" his former neighbor decided to leave the country but doesn't regret trying to drive her out of her apartment. "I'm happy I'm out of there," he says.
"Three years of talk, tens of thousands dead.
Children, like that boy outside of Yuma, AZ, just yesterday.
A little patience, rather than EMOTION is called for Mr. 'Rat:
Tony Snow, the new Press Sec says they've been cracking down the last few weeks. (3-4 wks)
Guess you didn't notice.

5/19/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

3 weeks out of 5 years ain't THAT bad, for govt work.
We are now truly post 9-11.
Good to know.

5/19/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

The Mad Fiddler wrote:

I prefer to believe that in the fullness of time, the scales will fall from their eyes and they will see the world as it is...

Don't abandon hope: I used to be on the left.

Oddly, since I left the left (shortly after 9/11/2001) I find I am less certain I am right.

If you know what I mean.

Jamie Irons

5/19/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is more to it then left or right, that is for sure.

My grandfather was a committed Union man, immigrant from Italy, steel worker, he had a heck of an FBI file under Mr Hoover. Seems some thought he a Communist, he learned to speak Polish to cross organize the Union with that ethnic group.

There was a time I could eat for free, at a particular local Phoenix hangout where the men were from Chicago Hieghts, seems he had taught some of them how to read, english.
They hadn't forgot and I recieved some undeserved collateral benefit.

Do the right thing, it'll work out.

5/19/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger DLJ said...

Dudes POTUS and Snow had no choice but to "crack down" as all the talk of amnesty and the foreign flag waving protests increased the x-border flow by several fold.

5/19/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He could have tried enforcing the laws for the last 5 years.
But that was never HIS Plan.

5/19/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...although it WAS part of his job description.

5/19/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Desert Rat,

I am happy that you found the transcript of that PBS interview with Anan. I cited fire dept. example here once before. I don't think Anan used the example as a justification for 'coalitions of the willing' but rather as an argument to give an institution such as the UN, or even better, something like the ICC some teeth. You even once pondered the use of ex US military folk as a professional international army. Command and Control of such a force would be key.

Directly to Wretchard's post. Many of us here, some more then others, immediately dismiss an argument based on the source. While it is natural to confront a known source with some extra scepticism it really is silly. So many here will outright dismiss something is,say, it is from the NYTimes. This is bull! I admit that I am no fan of Mr. Bush and most of his policies, but as I've stated before, he is not always wrong. The Dubai ports issues is one area I agree with him. His current North Korea policy seems to have evolved in a smart direction. The majority of his decisions, however, have been abysmal.

5/19/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...


please pardon my poor spelling and grammar. In particular the consitent misspelling of Annan's name :0

5/19/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger DLJ said...

Doug, you wont get an argument out of me. Preachin to the choir bro. Thats why I put the cracking down in " ". You gotta go take a ride in a border dune buggy when some dems get to the right of you on an issue....I think we need to stop wasting keystrokes on what we should have done though.

5/19/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


I've long thought that the UN Peacekeeping should model themselves after the US unified commands like CENTCOM, which have no real forces until they are actually assigned to them. Peacekeeping should develop plans, acquire intelligence, study logistics. To extend the Fire Department analogy, the instant an emergency breaks out there should be an off-the-shelf contingency plan to deal with it.

Look at what happened during the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia. The UN spent weeks and months just trying to find a port to land supplies. Look what happened in Iraq. They deployed to Canal Hotel with absolutely defective security though they had months to prepare. Worst of all, consider Rwanda. Dallaire's force -- which was not large -- had no ammo stocks. Later, when the French intervened after the UN had been chased out they came in, if memory serves, with a three battalion force. For scale, Ghana has about 7 battalions.

Of course an organization can always use more resources, but even in the Congo, which has 15,000 UN troops, nothing but nothing can be accomplished, and this, I believe is due mostly to organizational incapacity than the lack of manpower and money. Those of whom it was written:

O xein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti têde
keimetha tois keinon rhémasi peithomenoi

had less than a battalion available, but they used them well.

5/19/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

It might be worthy to note that partisan debate resembles nothing so much as the current state of courtroom advocacy. Pound the facts, or in their unfavorableness, pound the evidence, or given its unhelpfulness, pound the table.

The biggest worry may not be so much that "the more we talk the less we think" as the majority of table pounders wish to make thinking impossible.

Orwell may have said a thing or two about such intentions.

5/19/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger 74 (William Powell) said...

Wretchard, If memory serves me correctly, although much of the action occurred on the moon, the title was Commando Cody and the Radar Men from Mars.

5/19/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

WiKi is SO good--look here for a half-dozen different translations of the Spartan Tribute.

5/19/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Anonymous is the correct tone for this blog. It has the best aspects of the Catholic confessional and enough scolds to assign the acts of contrition. As for being able to consider honest arguments and a change in perspective........

"I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise."

Benjamin Franklin

5/19/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

It is worth noting that Wretchard bends not his metaphoric knee to tyrants, but speaks with compassion to equals.

Excepting the evil trolls, he graciously grants that his readers are equals, regardless of politics.

Thanks to all of you who regularly make these comment streams as mind-stretching and educational as Wretchard’s postings.of

5/20/2006 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/20/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Asking for a quote or something is fine now and then, but not the tactic of considering anyone elses work a formal court case or academic paper where an obligation to provide all demanded missing info exists... (Cedarford @ 2:39 PM)

I think that is a valid point, and it shouldn't be presumed that a person making an argument need necessarily provide numerous citations to make a case when the relevant information is, more or less, common knowledge.

But Wretchard's point is somewhat different. Isn't he, and Volokh, asking for the simple courtesy of not willfully misrepresenting facts to make something appear other than what it is?

In the case of the example given, the full quote gives an impression quite at odds with the impression one gets from reading the redacted quote. The person writing the Slate article presumably knew this. And so it seems there was a deliberate attempt to mislead and misinform.

You're not supposed to do that if you want to be considered a legitimate and respected source of information. Do it too many times and you shouldn't be surprised when people start doubting your words.

5/20/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well said, Sirius. the partial quote, the link to a doubtful source (that echos one's own sentiments), the various forms of debating the debate rather than the issue--these things all degrade the exchange of ideas, in favor of proselytizing, and as tactics do become recognizable, and then come quickly home to roost.

That people then just wander away from the blog, or start skipping over many of the comments unread, is in evidence, and no surprise. Wretchard knows this, and has repeatedly requested a little logorrheic self-discipline.

5/20/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger exguru said...

If Bush "actually knows something about" the immigration problem, why did he support bi-lingual education expenditures when governor of Texas? (For political expedience--sure--but if so, why aren't his current policies on immigration also for political expediency?)

5/20/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Lanny Nugen said...

The mad fiddler at 3.49PM said

"...The seductive recruiting premise of the Liberal Hypothesis has always been that “If you are compassionate and good, you will want to be a Liberal... be KNOWN as a Liberal... support all Liberal policies. People of good will are by nature Liberal.”

Having accepted that premise, the recruit must also agree that since Liberals are by definition good people who only mean the best for everyone, it follows that anything a Liberal does must be good. It further follows that anyone who opposed Liberals and what they want must be bad, and anything they do must also be bad.” Any troublesome evidence to the contrary MUST be explainable in terms of the original hypothesis, or filed away for much later..."

Well said. It also shed light into group think and the total absence of analytical thought process and introspection of a huge portion of liberals today.

"...Despair is for people who KNOW that there is no hope. Such knowledge is beyond any human, so I refuse to give up on Liberals... I prefer to believe that in the fullness of time, the scales will fall from their eyes and they will see the world as it is."

Yes, they will. Like those in Vietnam after 1975 and those before them in so many historical evidences in Russia, China, Cuba etc.

Intention has no consequences. Action does.

5/21/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Evanston2 said...

Wretchard and others, truly astounding post and comments. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

5/22/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger TheCatInTheAdage said...

Mrs Thatcher once said "There is no such thing as society". The left crowed: what clearer evidence was needed that she had taken leave of her senses? The obviously sane interpretation, that she was siding with "individualists" over "holists" and that she meant that there is no such thing as society over and above the individuals that comprise it, was lost to most of her critics. Thus too with Bush.

Philosophers talk of the principle of "Charity of Interpretation": communication is more fruitful if you interpret the comments of someone with whom you disagree in such a way as they are not obviously false or senseless.

5/23/2006 01:51:00 AM  

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