Altering copyright forms

by Eszter Hargittai on March 15, 2004

Does anybody have experience altering copyright forms? I recall someone once mentioning that they usually change part of the text to say that they retain rights to make available a copy of their article on their Web site.

The copyright form I am looking at right now says that “[p]ermission is also granted for you to make available electronically the abstract and up to 50% of the published text on the World Wide Web…”. But what if I want to make available 100%?

I am in the interesting position of having to sign this form after the piece has already been published. So it is unclear to me whether I even have to sign it and if I do sign it, it seems I would have the leverage to change some of the text. After all, what can the publisher do at this point? Am I missing something?

Leave my grandparents out of it

by Harry on March 15, 2004

This Morning Edition editorial by Ruben Navarette is infuriating. I was ready to be charmed — he says that John Kerry and the Democrats should shut up about George Bush’s failure to be a war hero in the Vietnam War. These were, he says, decisions made by young men thirty years ago, and are not properly thought about as character issues. I agree — the Vietnam War was an unjust war, unjustly carried out, and I have no animus to my elders who tried to avoid fighting in it. People make odd decisions in the youth, and these do not have to be brought up against them later in life. George Bush’s successful avoidance of any kind risk to self in the service of his country when his country was entirely in the wrong is irrelevant to my evaluation of him.
But then: the little sh** has the audacity to compare Generation X’s experience of the War on Terror with our grandparents’ experience of the Second World War. Why? Because both our generations, unlike the boomer generation between, have experienced the tragedy of American lives being lost on American soil.

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Wars against evil

by Henry Farrell on March 15, 2004

There’s good reason to be wary of applying historical analogies to current events – comparing the Iraq war and Vietnam is usually as loaded and unhelpful as, say, comparing the Iraq war and World War II. However, there’s one way in which the US debate about Iraq is starting to look like the debate about Vietnam. It’s becoming ever less focused on Iraq as an actual place (to the extent that it ever was) and ever more concerned with Iraq as a battlefield in a vague and ill-defined war against the forces of evil, in which any setback gives succour to the enemy.

Even after the conduct of the Vietnam war became indefensible, many argued against pulling out because they said that a US defeat would embolden the forces of international Communism. Similarly, there’s a lot of talk today among the war blogs about Spanish “appeasement” and how a Spanish withdrawal from Iraq will strengthen and encourage al Qaeda. As John has already “said”:, this interpretation does some violence to the actual motives of Spanish voters. Nor are the Socialists wimps on terrorism – the main reason that they lost power in 1996 was because of their vicious and illegal tactics in the ‘dirty war’ against ETA (torture, kidnapping, murder etc). If this is a victory for al Qaeda, it’s not a victory because the Spanish are seeking to appease terrorism. It’s a victory because it will be perceived by the current US administration and its supporters as being a defeat.

Update: see also “Jim Henley”:

Update 2: Also “Jacob Levy”:, a supporter of the Iraq war, who’s written the most sensible and judicious post on Spain and ‘appeasement’ that I’ve read so far.

Sunk Costs

by Brian on March 15, 2004

I had thought that the idea that the sunk costs fallacy is really a fallcy was as close a thing as there was to a consensus amongst philosophers. But now I see that “Tom Kelly”: has a paper forthcoming (in __No{u^}s__) saying that “honouring sunk costs can be rational”: Like a few other people in the New England area, whenever I think of the sunk costs fallacy I think of the Red Sox continuing to play “Tony Clark”: long after he showed he wouldn’t justify his $5,000,000 salary, so I’m not exactly positively disposed to the fallacy. But Tom’s paper makes several interesting points, even if it doesn’t do anything to redeem the Sox management __circa__ 2002.

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Philosophy not for sale!

by Chris Bertram on March 15, 2004

As a non-American I find it annoying enough when discussion of important matters in the _blogosphere_ is held hostage to the pragmatics of American political debate and electoral campaigning : “You shouldn’t say X because it might give comfort to the baddies….”, but I don’t expect to see such considerations deployed in an (indeed _the_) top international journal in political philosophy. But how else to interpret the final sentences of Barbara H. Fried’s (Law, Stanford) review of Peter Vallentyne and Hillel Steiner’s two edited collections “The Origins of Left-Libertarianism”: and “Left-Libertarianism and Its Critics”: ? Fried writes in _Philosophy and Public Affairs_ (Jan 2004):

bq. There is, of course, a long tradition of the left’s coopting natural rights talk to its own political ends. In the same spirit, left-libertarians may hope that, by coopting self-ownership to egalitarian ends, they can reclaim the moral high ground from right-libertarians. But in conceding that the libertarian notion of self-ownership is the moral high ground to begin with, they may well give up more than they bargain for in the public relations battle for the hearts and minds of those in the murky center of American politics, who harbor instincts of both liberty and equality (of the decent social minimum sort) that could be played to. At the very least, left-libertarians would do well to keep in mind the old adage: If you eat with the devil, bring a long spoon.

Philosophers, in discussing the _fundamental principles of distributive justice_ should have an ear to the “public relations battle” for the “murky center of American politics”?[1] For shame!

UPDATE: A version of Fried’s review is “downloadable from SSRN”: .

fn1. Of course the very idea that what is in these Vallentyne and Steiner collections might affect that battle is, anyway, pretty far-fetched for reasons largely unrelated to their content.

Libel action hypocrisy

by Chris Bertram on March 15, 2004

Remember the begging letter from Paul Foot appealing for funds to pay for the legal costs and damages incurred by his Socialist Worker Party chums Alex Callinicos and Lindsey German after they libelled Quintin Hoare and Branka Magas? “I blogged about it all here”: . The very same Lindsey German is now threatening legal action on behalf of George Galloway MP. “Full details at Harry’s place”: .

A couple of points

by John Q on March 15, 2004

The warblogosphere has gone into a predictably frenzy over the Spanish election results. In my previous post, I argued, from an antiwar position, that it was a mistake to interpret the result as punishment for Aznar taking a prominent stance in the struggle against terrorism. Now, following Micah’s advice I’ll present a couple of points that might be more convincing to those on the other side of the fence from me (or at least the subset who are open to argument of any kind).

First, it seems to be universally agreed, and was certainly believed by the PP government, that it would have electorally beneficial had it turned out that the bomb was planted by ETA. But the Aznar government was notable for its hardline stance against ETA. If the Spanish people were the cowards painted by their erstwhile admirers, this would make no sense.

Second (as far as I know), there has been no suggestion from the Socialists that Spanish troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan[1]. If the Spanish people are terrified of bin Laden and want to appease him, it seems strange to show this through continued backing of attempts to capture or kill him and prevent the restoration of the only government that’s ever openly embraced him.

fn1. Of course, the same point applies to most opponents of the war in Iraq. The great majority supported the overthrow of the Taliban. Of the minority who opposed the Afghanistan war, most did not do so on prudential grounds but from a position of routine opposition to US foreign policy (eg Chomsky).

The war on terror and the war in Iraq

by John Q on March 15, 2004

The unexpected defeat of the Spanish Popular Party government has been attributed in part to the belief that by joining the US in the war in Iraq, Aznar raised Spain’s profile as a target for Al Qaeda ( which now seems most likely to have set the bomb)[1]. The same claim is being debated in Australia.

While there’s probably an element of truth in this, it misses the main point. Australia, Britain and other US allies were wrong to participate in the war in Iraq, not because it made us more prominent participants in the war on terrorism but because the Iraq war was irrelevant, and in important respects actively harmful, to the struggle against terrorism, represented most prominently by Al Qaeda.

fn1. This isn’t the only way in which the handling of the Madrid atrocity affected the outcome. The government’s rush to the judgement (seen as politically more favorable) that ETA was responsible was criticised by many, and contrasted with the refusal of the Socialist leadership to score political points.

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