Sunday, August 04, 2002
60-40 QuestionsThere's a new metalist of liberal blogs up, and Airstrip One was included in the list. Mr. Goldstein took offence. While he's an economic conservative, Goldstein could be well-described as an Intervention Skeptic. It may come across as isolationist, but doesn't truly appear to be. There are a number of issues where well-thinking people will disagree, using different weighting mechanisms to calculate the pros and cons. A lot of conservatives like term limits. I don't. I think that the revolving door of short terms has legislators more in the pockets of the special interests of their parties, as they have less time to develop an independent persona and have to keep an eye on a job when the do return to the private sector (or look to move us the political ladder). However, the upside of clearing out legislators-for-life does have its merits, just not enough to warrant forcing good (or effective from their political viewpoint) guys from office and creating a cadre of short-timers looking for their next job. Term limits is a "60-40 question" in my eyes, where the costs outweigh the merits, but not by too much. Drug policy's another 60-40; keeping the laws on the books is worth it for now, despite the man-years of law enforcement and jail lost to it. A number of smart people, like Bill Buckley, disagree, seeing it 45-55. Many military interventions are 60-40 questions. Iraq is one of them, where the advantages of invasion are roughly offset by the disadvantages. Back in 1990, Bush 41 opted not to take the fight to Baghdad, thinking that going beyond the UN Kuwait mandate and installing a new government on our own wasn't worth the body count. That looked to be a sound decision at the time, but not in 20-20 hindsight. Today, we have a similar 60-40 question. The wardrums are beating in the Blogosphere, and I am largely in agreement with the sentiment. However, we should take a look at what honest critics of intervention are saying, checking our assumptions and seeing if we have everything factored in properly. Kevin was looking for the best pro and con pieces on an Iraqi intervention. I don't know of too many con pieces, but wouldn't mind having my assumptions double-checked. There are quite a few questions that are moral absolutes, where the people on the wrong side of the issue are clearly on God's wrong side. Then there are others that are 60-40 judgement calls. Let's make sure to not use too much Good-versus-Evil rhetoric on defending our side of 60-40's.
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