Wednesday, 1 September 2004

Is this a dagger I see before me?

Since the Canadian libertarian bloggers are doing it, it must be cool. I hereby endorse the emerging dagger (†) convention for attributing links stolen borrowed from other weblogs or sites, even if it may make people think the target of the link is dead or is subject to being changed to some other cool-looking character (such as þ or ☣, the latter being highly useful for linking to Atrios or LGF) in the future.

Malice versus stupidity

One suspects that if people were more willing to give out-partisans the benefit of the doubt, contemporary political discourse would be far less painful. So, here’s some free advice for partisans on both sides of the aisle:

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.

(Sometimes attributed to Isaac Asimov; a variant is known as Hanlon’s Razor. I might add “poor memory” to the list.)

This particular post inspired by this and this, but equally applies to discussions of Kerry’s exact locations in Southeast Asia on particular dates during his service there, or other campaign “gotchas” you may wish to ponder.

On the other hand, sometimes you have to go with malice because nothing else fits the facts…

Update: Diebold scaremongering would be another example that fits firmly in the “ignorance or stupidity” category, by the way.

Almost making me regret not watching

I think Robert Garcia Tagorda’s reaction nails why Arnold Schwarzenegger is such an asset to the Republican Party—he’s the very embodiment of the positive side of the Republican agenda. And, if his words can make a few more Americans appreciate what they take for granted—that, even for all its faults, our country is the greatest society ever created in human history, a belief many of my leftist-inclined colleagues would dispute until the end of time (and, nonetheless, still be completely wrong about)—I think in the long run he’s delivered a far more important message than who to vote for in November.