Thursday, March 02, 2006

Civil War Kicks Ass!

by Joe Miller

One of the difficulties with any sort of discussion of preventative war is that it's pretty nearly impossible to know, on consequentialist grounds, whether your decision was the right one. After all, the justification for prevention is that (a) fighting later would have been inevitable and (b) delaying would be more costly. The problem? Short of having a direct line to an omniscient being, knowing whether a particular counterfactual would have obtained is pretty much impossible. One can, after all, always claim that however bad the actual consequences turn out to be, the alternative would have been far worse.

All that said, this sort of thing still strikes me as pretty absurd:

It's one thing to say that things would have been worse in Iraq had we not invaded. It's another entirely to say something like, "Well, yes, Iraq has now dissolved into a three-way civil war which will surely result in thousands of dead Iraqis. But that's actually a good thing to have happen." Please. It might be that all-out civil war in Iraq is better than having Saddam Hussein still in charge of the country. I tend to doubt it, but that's at least a possibility. To think that an Iraqi civil war is a good thing, though? That claim makes sense only if we completely alter the meaning of "good".

I find it a bit stunning that this sort of doublespeak passes with so little commentary. Even more amazing is that it seems to work. Indeed, so commonplace is this sort of cavalier abuse of the language that those who do protest are quickly decried as liberals and their protests dismissed as attacks on the only "objective" news source out there.

I sometimes wonder how it is that people can manage to say these sorts of things with a straight face. Straussian philosopher kings? True believers grasping at straws? Bullshitters plying their trade?

My personal explanation is simpler. Indeed, I'll let Rainer Wolfcastle do the talking here. After acknowledging that his latest (horrifyingly bad) film cost $80 million to make, Wolfcastle is asked how he sleeps at night. His response:
On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
Sleep well, Rupert.


Blogger Rick said...

I don't know if anyone was actually watching Fox News when this aired or they're just taking their cue from Keith Oberman's Countdown on MSNBC but, the tagline for the story was the GUEST'S opinion. In other words, "...this is this guest's position and now were going to let him make his case. As you can see we also have another guest to refute the first guest's opinion." Hence the phrase "Fair and Balanced" Granted, I've seen some silly shit on Fox (Greta Van Susteren for one) but I still think its better than say Chris Matthews' panel of 12 liberals telling only liberal points of view on a liberal show on a liberal network in a liberal industry and calling it objective.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous jamie mccall said...

You know, I wanted to say just that...but then because I'm still in UNCP, I might get burned at the stake by the philosophy department.

Oh well.. Go Rick!

1:29 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home