Thursday, June 29, 2006

Again with Critical Review

The Decembrist: My Lieberman Problem -- And Ours

The cited article is an excellent summary of the reasons for opposing Lieberman. The money quote is
It seems to me that Lieberman is following the path, quite literally, of the neo-conservatives - not the Rumsfeldian nationalists who incorrectly wear that label now, but the original neo-cons of the 1960s, driven to the right above all by their irritation at the left, often based on domestic politics. (Hence the title of this post, an allusion to one of the most famous original documents of the neocons, Norman Podhoretz’s 1967 essay, “My Negro Problem - And Ours”.)

Is that enough of a reason to oppose Lieberman? Sure, because it’s a huge error on one of the most fundamental questions of our time. It’s an error not of policy or of political loyalty, but of attitude. And it is not an error that I see others making. I heard Ed Kilgore today, on a bloggingHeads sequence, argue that if “the bloggers” come for Lieberman today, tomorrow they’ll go after Steny Hoyer or Hillary Clinton. I can’t speak for everyone, but while I have disagreements with Clinton and probably Hoyer, I’ve never heard them say things as deeply offensive to my sense of what democracy and patriotism requires as I’ve heard from Lieberman recently.
Which I believe can be put in more concrete terms by considering the concept of 'critical review' which I've talked about elsewhere

In short, if you want to successfully create and run or modify any remotely complex system (like and economy or foreign policy, etc). you cannot rely upon the wisdom or intelligence of any individual or small group to get it right. You will have to come up with proposals and subject them to critical review. That is, have a diverse group of independent thinkers review the proposal and present criticisms that will have to be addressed. This process is essential and is incorporated in every successful mechanism we use to create, run and modify complex systems.

Liberman's position, on the other hand, is to abandon this process, to abandon critical review. That is the "error of attitude" that Mark Schmitt talks of. So Lieberman is profoundly, and fundamentally wrong. Indeed, the truth is that we cease to criticize our commander-in-chief at our peril.

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