Monday, January 31, 2011

The new wishy washy

As I listened to Stephen L. Carter on NPR telling us about the kind of conversations we need more of, I realized he's hardly the first commentator in recent years I've heard tell me what kind of conversations we need to have more of. It's actually quite frequent. Somebody points out some of the moral ambiguities of (drone attacks/indefinite detention/escalation of war/torture/targeted killing), talks about how complicated the issue is, and then rather than saying these things are morally wrong (or bad policy), the person will say something about how we need a more open debate about these matters, about how people aren't discussing these matters enough.

I suppose that's of a piece with having a hawkish liberal president who appears thoughtful: the morality of a drone attack that might kill civilians is somewhat dependent on whether the leader who orders the attacks is sufficiently reflective about it.

I might suggest that having a conversation in which you argue for more conversations is just sort of a way to avoid actually having that conversation. But I'm unsure: I think we should have more debate about that.


  1. I keep going back to the Pacifist Viking blog to see if you've changed your mind. No luck so far.

  2. Right now I have no desire to blog about football at all. I'm not ruling out a return, but it will not be soon.