[ExI] Costs of the Roads Not Taken

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Jul 31 16:22:35 UTC 2007

Samantha writes

>> But politics?  I hope that you really don't think that a political hypothesis,
>> e.g., the French Revolution was justified (or did more good than harm),
>> or the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its allies was justified (or was a
>> logical move), can ever be falsified. 
> Sigh.  In the realm of stipulated probabilistic truth the evidence that 
> this was a mistake is vastly predominate.   Do you agree or not?

No, because I can't really assess very well how the alternative
would have turned out.  You don't believe for a moment that
no problems would exist without the incursion, but you have
faith that it would be a lot better than what we have.

Yes, I do agree that it's in all likelihood an unnecessary *mess*,
that it has turned out badly compared to what could have been.
In my opinion, the war was conducted poorly by the administration,
although it's also true that the U.S. is vastly more divided than was
apparent in 2002.

Your real enemy, I'm afraid, is not Al Queda nor terrorism nor
Islamic fundamentalism.  Your real enemy---at least in your own
mind---is George Bush and all he stands for.  I really am not the
slightest bit surprised since this is inevitably what happens to 
all "superpowers" in history:   their internal divisions dominate all
other concerns.  The real struggle is within the so-called "superpower"

(Granting that you probably do not endorse all his views, Michael
Moore spoke for many when he complained that Al Quada had
hit a blue state instead of a red one.)

>> Well, it was innocent. Yes, it was extreme, and yes, it wasn't a very
>> good parallel, but what I was attempting in all sincereity to
>> do was to rebut a *principle* (i.e., if I recall correctly, that
>> one cannot merely allude to the financial burden of a course
>> of action independent of an investigation of the costs of 
>> alternatives---as the subject line of this post attests).
> Then are you unaware of the extremely misleading nature of your 
> comparison if merely rebutting the stated principle?

I wish that I could say that *I* always read with great literality
all that others write, but this may be a case where what I literally
wrote (and meant) did indeed give wrong impressions. 

> It is at best poor communication.

If it fails to accomplish its purpose, then I agree. But you don't get
off so free either, in my opinion.  A careful enough reading of what
the *point* was---and a strong effort to keep it in mind---would
have revealed it to you;  alas, making any kind of analogy was like
a red flag in front of a bull. I should be more careful not to provoke
knee-jerk responses.


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