“We Must Be Doing Something Right!”


Commenter Roger picks up on something I’d noticed but not commented on: “Thus, [Gideon] Rose thinks it is a knock me down proof of the wrongness of the criticisms of the clerisy leveled by Greenwald, et al., that … criticisms have also been leveled by … the neo-cons! Both sides have criticized the foreign policy establishment!” Indeed. This argument pops up in a surprising variety of places, and it truly seems like the last resort of the damned.

In the real world, after all, anyone who gets criticized at all ends up getting criticized “by both sides.” Just because you’re a liberal blogger like me doesn’t mean there aren’t other bloggers out there who are further to the left and willing to criticize me. And yet, not everyone who’s not as far right as one might be but also not as far left as one might be can simultaneously all be correct.

Meanwhile, this line of thought prejudices analysis of future issues. If the criteria of sober-minded sensibility is that both sides’ partisans think you’re wrong, then you’ve preemptively excluded from consideration the possibility that one side might ever be correct. So no matter how true it may be that the current conflict with Iran has been cooked up by some mix of Bush administration blundering and Bush administration malignancy, one can’t simply say that because then liberals won’t complain. So you need to exhort liberals to take the threat more “seriously,” get yelled at, and then go home feelings very sensible.