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Monday, September 22, 2008

New Palin Post at Knight's Castle

Over at Knight's Castle, Glenn has a new post on Sarah Palin and the, uh, excitement surrounding her nomination.

Glenn's views and my own have diverged significantly since our early days at the old Great Books of Western Civilization Cafe. (Hosted in Canada, that fine site was an early victim of the chilling effect of the Great North's increasingly totalitarian behavior towards speech that didn't bow to multi-culti nonsense.) While Glenn and I have trouble agreeing these days, I owe him (and other Cafe alumni) a lot for helping me be more careful with my thinking, my organization of ideas, and my tone. Any shortcomings in these areas are, of course, still completely my own.

UPDATE: I read Glenn's post and commented. Glenn is as always a good read. In shameless self-promotion here is part of my comment on Glenn's Palin post:

The current feminist movement has been selling a "Sex in the City" archetype as its brand and suddenly here is Sarah Palin re-branding the archetype as a cross between Ellen Ripley in "Aliens" ("Nuke 'em. Only way to be sure.") and June Cleaver. This is some visceral stuff brother. I'm trying to picture a future NOW convention with a break-out session titled: "How to turn on and satisfy your man when you have a cabinet meeting in an hour and the kids are screaming for dinner."

The attacks on Palin are guerre a mort and make no mistake.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

I'm not so sure that our views have diverged as much as you might think, Agim. We both like good writing and the serious thought that makes it good. I think the Bush administration and its adventures have shuffled some new issues to the top of the deck, exposing some new faultlines.

Moreover, there are some areas on which I think we agree on the principles, while differing on their particular application. Take, for example, the war in Iraq. I think, and I said at the time, that there was a good case to be made for going to war with Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, that's not the case President Bush chose to use as the basis for his actions.

Some people would say that it doesn't matter what the rationale is for one's actions: it's all about the action. I don't think that's true. I think that Abraham Lincoln put the clear, straight, motivation for his policy toward the South in front of the American people, and took the risk that they would choose not to support him. Or, to put it another way, knowing that the American people would support action to preserve the Union, but would not support action to free the slaves, Lincoln based his policy on the winning hand.

One of President Bush's problems is that he may have absorbed too well a lesson from Anthony Downs and the games-theoreticians. It is well-known that one only needs a majority of 50% + 1 to win a vote. It is less well appreciated that, if you want to maximize the gains to each of your supporters, it is to one's advantage not to seek a larger majority.

Another way to put that would be to say that every additional vote costs you something, and once you have 50% + 1, you're not getting anything in return.

Mr. Bush was not willing to offer enough to the international community to get full-throated endorsement of a coalition against Iraq. He was also not willing to offer enough to the Democrats in Congress, who later took a majority position there, to gain their whole-hearted support. What he failed to appreciate was that one's initial coalition of support inevitably shrinks. It would have been wiser to have a large coalition committed to, perhaps, less ambitious goals.

I still think that we have accomplished some good things in Iraq, and I don't like the idea of our troops coming home defeated - which would not now be the case. But I think it is somewhat disingenuous of Senator McCain to speak of victory in Iraq, when General Petraeus carefully avoids that term. As Clausewitz famously said, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Military victories are meaningless unless they achieve worthwhile political goals.

I don't think that Iraq is vital to any great political interests of the United States. We should husband our resources for the battles we will need to fight. If you think something vital is at stake in Iraq, that would lead you to a different conclusion.