Double Plus Un-Ungood

by Scott McLemee on July 3, 2007

All the heavy thinkers of the American right are united in condemning any cynical ideological doublethink that might be used to justify the pardon of Scooter Libby:

* Robert Bork and James Rosen, writing in the National Review: “Lying under oath strikes at the heart of our system of justice and the rule of law. It does not matter in the least what the perjury is about.”

* Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, who from 1985 until 1991 was the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence: “If citizens are allowed to lie with impunity — or encourage others to tell false stories or hide evidence — judges and juries cannot reach just results.”

* Roger Kimball, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Leftists Sacrifice Truth on the Altar of Friendship”: “In the culture wars that have been transforming American society since the 1960s, truth has been a conspicuous casualty: not only particular truths but also allegiance to the very ideal of truth as an indispensable component of any just and moral life. The competing, countercultural ideal holds that loyalty to the personal trumps loyalty to the truth….”

Oh, no, wait, I may have misread something….Plenty more at Acephalous. (And hat tip to Josh as Brainiac, whose cherry-pickings are here expropriated.)

UPDATE: Check out Phil Nugent’s commentary on the stupid things that can be said — and are, in fact, being said — about this fine moment in the history of the republic.

Close to home

by John Q on July 3, 2007

The arrest of a doctor in at the Gold Coast Hospital near Brisbane, accused of being connected to the failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow, brings international terrorism a lot closer to home than it has ever been before for me. Of course, it’s front page news, and the fact that most of the (alleged) participants in these attacks were doctors is pretty disturbing. Not surprisingly, the hospital’s switchboard was jammed with calls.

Still, my impression is that most people here are taking it in their stride. The risk of being caught up in a terror attack is part of the background of modern life, along with other largely random risks like hit-and-run drivers and street thugs, to name just two. At a policy level (and arguably in terms of moral response, though I think they are all fairly similar cases) these problems are different, and require different responses. But as far as day to day life is concerned, it’s mainly a matter of getting on with it.

Update “Alleged” turns out to be the operative word. The case against the Brisbane doctor apparently turns on the fact that when police tried to interview him about his links to one of the British accused, they found him at the airport with a one-way ticket to India. But it appears he was going there to join his wife who had gone home a week or so earlier after having a baby.

Glen Greenwald took a few bites out the latest NYTimes transcription, by White House stenographer Michael Gordon, of Administration/military talking points in the campaign for war against Iran, made by Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, now US military spokesman in Iraq and previously, (not reported) Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq. So somebody at the Gray Lady apparently decided that the piece might be improved by a mininal amount of actual reporting, such as the fact that the claims in question have been repeatedly denied by the Iranian government (with backing, although this is not mentioned, from a large number of independent analysts).

What’s interesting to me is that these changes are not noted. But if the journal of record had attributed the remarks to the wrong general or mis-stated the spokesman’s position, the error would surely have been noted with a correction. A blogger who made a change like this in response to justified criticism would get accused, rightly, of a stealth correction. Shouldn’t the New York Times be held to at least as high a standard?

Lomonaco on Libby

by Henry Farrell on July 3, 2007

“Brad De Long”: posts an op-ed that my mate Jeff Lomonaco tried and failed to get published in the L.A. Times two weeks ago. [click to continue…]

Inequality and Growth

by Henry Farrell on July 3, 2007

“Tyler Cowen”: points to a very interesting new paper by Daron Acemoglu and his colleagues (PDF – it was “here”: this morning, but this link isn’t working for me any more; see “here”: for a slightly earlier version) on the relationship between political and economic inequality. Tyler’s gloss is that this provides general insights into the “meme” of whether economic inequality is bad for growth, and concludes that “at least from that data set, the real problem seems to be rent-seeking behavior through the political process.” Thus, unless I misunderstand him (which is possible; he may just be blogging in shorthand), he is saying that this paper provides significant evidence suggesting that economic inequality isn’t the cause of slower economic growth; instead, political inequality and rent-seeking are at fault. [click to continue…]