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November 17, 2007

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He is of course correct (though it's sad to see a law professor celebrating the abandonment of logical argument), and the media will follow their usual line that everything that happens is bad for Democrats.

It won't be the first time.

It is, of course, as KC points out, sad to see someone who is supposed to be versed in logic make this kind of statement.

And now we see the true reason for the war revealed: it helps the GOP no matter what!

Sorry about your kids, though.

According to Glenn Reynolds, we've been winning all along in Iraq, but haven't yet won, which means either (i) the US military is incredibly mediocre; or (ii) he's an imbecile.

Ehh. He's a law professor. So he's also versed in advocacy.

Well, Ugh, since a permanent presence in Iraq is the goal, leaving really is losing. Until leaving happens, war proponents can still call whatever's happening "winning."

At the least, "winning-related activities."

It's like immanentizing the eschaton, but with oil for all instead of ambrosia.

"winning-related activities."

That's perfect.

Reynolds is perfectly correct that the GOP can say this (and will.) His implication that they'll only say that if the Congress passes troop withdrawal legislation is of course nonsense.

"though it's sad to see a law professor celebrating the abandonment of logical argument"

To me, the sad thing is seeing the Democratic party cling to logical argument, when it's obviously ineffective.

The republican party, which should be destroyed, is beginning another stooping contest as the election approaches.

They have proven that he who stoops lowest picks up the brass ring from the electorate's running sewage with his teeth.

I say stoop lower and kick his teeth in.

Then, build sewage treatment plants to kill the bug that has crawled up America's wazoo.

Would it be too impolite to say, here on ObWi:

"Dear Glenn, you can kiss my arse"?

Thanks -

Glenn Reynolds needs to think about the whole concept of ‘success’.

Glenn isn't any more likely to think than any other member of the 24% Club. They are into faith and rationalizing, not thinking: fatith in their own innfallibility and ded rationalizing either to claim victory (for themselves) or blame on someone eolse ( in order to protect their self-indulgence).

It doesn't matter what actually happens in Iraq. Glenn has, for once, spoken the truth. He and his fellow deadenders will indeed either claim vicotry or blame the Democrats.

They'll do that on Iraq and on every other issue for ever and ever and ever.

If, as seems likely, Iraq succeeds

Mmm, you can smell the truthiness.

Listen folks: a law professor is not particularly well versed in either logic or advocacy. Rather, the requirements of the job demand being well versed in getting yourself published, no matter how silly what you have to say might be. At this Glenn Reynolds is supremely qualified.

Most law professors have weak or deteriorated advocacy skills, and legal argument, given the vast wealth of contradictory legal principles available to choose, is almost exclusively about framing and fact picking, not logic.

The opposite can also be said:

"If, as seems likely, Iraq succeeds, Democrats will be able to say it was in spite of the Republicans' efforts. If, as remains possible, it fails, Democrats will be able to say it was because of the Republicans' efforts."

The Republicans' efforts consists of incompetent management and that is almost universally recognized. If Iraq succeeds it will not be because of astute Republican management but because of the people of Iraq who finally got it together.

What's horrifying isn't that some idiot said this, it's that this is most likely how the story will play out.

They will be blamed for whatever happens. Not because the media is so biased or the republicans are such evil geniuses, but because the democrats are politically incompetent.

Reynolds is being deceptive by claiming implicitly that the results are boolean.

The results that 60% of the public briefly agreed to when they allowed this war to begin is the standard to which the actual results should be compared.

I also hope that Iraq not become an unmitgated failure. That does not mean that the best possible result would be a success. In the coming elections the reality-based communities (Democrats and I hope the MSM) need to keep clear the diference between what we bought and what we got.

The part of my argument that I have not figured out is how to get the media to keep the historical background part of discussing the war. It has a natural bias to only state the deltas, not the baseline. (Also a bias to sell conflict, without judging any side's arguments for validity.)

All I can say is: the mind boggles.

Morons like Reynolds are why blogs have lost out to Facebook.

First mover advantage killed blogs.

translation: Nothing is Bush's fault. Ever.

Wow, it's great to be Republican! You can do no wrong!

he's a glass-half-full kind of guy, that Glenn Reynolds!

"Centrist libertarian Glenn Reynolds"

Since when is Reynolds a libertarian?

Since when is Reynolds a libertarian?

it's how he describes himself.

for example:


    "As a libertarian myself, I'd love to see the nation run under small-government principles." -- Glenn Reynolds on Instapundit.com (February 20, 2006)

of course, it's perfectly obvious that he, like many people, is just a Republican who likes to say he's a libertarian. why? i dunno, because it's cooler?

oh, BTW: violence is down in Iraq!

well, Basra at least... after the British started leaving.

If, as seems likely, Instaglennald succeeds, he'll keep posting about why Democrats suck.

If, as seems likely, Instaglennald fails, he'll keep posting about why Democrats suck.

A question remaining for the professor is how to calculate success or failure. But then, that's not really his field.

"All I can say is: the mind boggles."

Not Glenn Reynolds. His mind Scattergories.

And yet another request to take the pictures from I Blame the Patriarchy behind the fold, so I can read this at work.

"And yet another request to take the pictures from I Blame the Patriarchy behind the fold, so I can read this at work."

Suggestions: if you prefer, you can just load one of the single post pages. Just go up to the address bar and pull one down: whether you're using Firefox or IE, it will work, albeit with slightly different sets of URLs; even more easily, with Firefox, just type in a few letters of an ObWi URL, and auto-fill-in will fill in an appropriate URL for you to choose, assuming you have it turned on.

If you're using Safari or Opera or another browser, I can't advise you, but I assume that if they're decent browsers, they have similar capabilities.

If somehow any of this is too complicated, just bookmark an ObWi post.

Of course, if the Democratic Party had wholeheartedly supported the war, then the GOP could claim that everyone was in favor of it at the time, so any second-guessing is inappropriate.

If you agree with the policy, then you've endorsed its consequences. If you disagree, then you're undermining it & preventing its success. Either way, if it fails, no one can blame the people who actually did it.

Nice gig.

cleek -

Reynolds disavowed the "Libertarian" label recently, so I don't know if that's a gotcha anymore.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/10/an-ex-libertari.html

Reynolds disavowed the "Libertarian" label recently

That's capital-L as in 'party'. He's yet to disavow the ideological label, and given that it helps pay his gadget tab, I doubt he will.

Since the Iraq escapade wasn't anything but the world's most expensive campaign commercial to begin with, this was precisely the desired outcome.

Eliminating effective, organized domestic opposition in this country to the Glorious Revolution -- not oil, not democracy, not WMD's, not human rights, not even revenge for 9/11 -- was the goal of the operation.

Cheney and company saw an opportunity to use a war to do a Mulroney on the Democratic party, and they took it.

It might still work.

Typical Glenn Reynolds:

If, as seems likely, Iraq succeeds...

Reality is whatever he wants to believe. It would be nice to see a post as to what he thinks success actually would be, and why that is likely to happen. But he'll never write it.

"Typical Glenn Reynolds:"

Thank you very much for the flash of tubgirl I just experienced. You're on my list now.

What a silly hypothetical of Reynolds. The goals that were set out failed. It was a total disaster. Whatever is finally accomplished is not going to be success. Calling it success will not make it so.

Secondly, it's absurd to call a fan of the military-industrial complex a libertarian, even with an inverted el.

I do agree that somehow the Democrats will manage to find a way to take the blame. They're good at doing themselves in.

legal argument, given the vast wealth of contradictory legal principles available to choose, is almost exclusively about framing and fact picking, not logic.

No, that's bad legal argument. Some of us try to practice the other kind.

You know, post-modernism used to be amusing, before the right became such fanatic converts . . .

legal argument, given the vast wealth of contradictory legal principles available to choose, is almost exclusively about framing and fact picking, not logic.
Posted by: rea:

No, that's bad legal argument. Some of us try to practice the other kind.

You know, post-modernism used to be amusing, before the right became such fanatic converts . . .


No; that's pretty close to all legal argument, be it good or bad, right or left.

What exactly is it that you think gives rise to legal argument if not a dispute over facts or legal principle? Outside of hardcore legal philosophy and seriously policy wonkish discussion of what the law should be, you're unlikely to find more than the very occasional good faith legal arguments that depends on logic complicated enough to be reasonably disputable. As for choice of legal principle, well, logic doesn't get much involved beyond post-hoc rationalizations. Ever read William O Douglas's The Court Years?:

At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for supporting our predilections.

That wasn't Douglas being self deprecating or taking a stab at Justice Hughes, whom he credited for sharing this sentiment; that was him being honest. And the reason big constitutional cases are like that is precisely because they're about choice of legal principle. Post-hoc rationalization of our dearly held principles is a very human thing we all do, but it always involves, even if subconsciously, working backwards from a conclusion to determine which facts are relevant and axiomatic.

Most legal arguments you think of as being based in logic are really either examples of circular reasoning rooted in post-hoc rationalization of legal principle or disputes over whether one of the disputants has fairly and accurately described the legal principles actually being applied. Legal arguments are very rarely attempts to resolve logical disputes, and there's nothing wrong with that in the vast majority of cases. Problems arise mostly when lawyers take a play out of the right-wingnut play book and claim "logical" disputes to obscure the fact that legal disputes are really over facts, or principles, or honesty.

I say this as a very serious math geek cum logician turned lawyer. Trust me when I say I have a very much better understanding of when a legal dispute rests on logic than you do. I doubt you're a legal philosopher, so if you think you're arguing logic in a legal argument and you're not having a policy argument, you're wrong. If you're having a policy argument, you're probably still wrong.

Trust me when I say I have a very much better understanding of when a legal dispute rests on logic than you do.

30 years as an appellate lawyer evidently doesn't count for much.

If, as seems likely, Iraq succeeds, Republicans will be able to say it was in spite of the Democrats' efforts. If, as remains possible, it fails, Republicans will be able to say it was because of the Democrats' efforts.

He's absolutely right. They will be able to say it; and they will say it. Whether anyone believes them is another matter.

-- I can call spirits from the vasty deep!

-- Why, so can I, and so can any man;
But will they come when you do call to them?

The question is whether Tim Russert and the other VSPs will say the spirits come when you call them.

Appellate law? The only reason you do not admit arguing on facts and framing is because by the time an appellate lawyer gets involved all the facts and framing have been packed up and organized for you. You go to logic because your clients have already put you in the evidentiary box.

The sort of complex logical reasoning seen in appellate briefs is largely post-hoc rationalization necessitated by decisions made months and years earlier by trial lawyers. It can be pretty, and a nice clean living, but it is an awfully formalistic view of the law.

KCinDC- That isn't in question. Tim Russert et al will say whatever is good for the Republicans no matter what.

Good thing more and more people are realizing the cable screamers are big fat liars.

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