The Redistribution/Bailout WMD Connection

Over at Patri's blog, an anonymous commenter has some prescient analysis of the current crisis and its apologists:

Just like domestic spying programs are better than a slightly increased risk of a terrorist act? Just like fighting them over there in Iraq is better than fighting them here? Sure, letting these financial behemoths fail would cause some degree of short term pain--quite likely even more pain than the bailouts (or whatever these shady deals are) will yield. But when are we going to dismiss these sorts of arguments for what they are, which is BS? Iraq *might* have WMDs (which *might* be used against us), so we better invade...just in case! FNM, FRE, and AIG's failures *might* cause a depression (which *might* lead to WWIII), so let's reward the unscrupulous, stupid, short sighted employees at these firms by transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. But perhaps you're right: clinging to silly moral principles is nothing but an inconvenience in the real world. [...]

Do you realize how bad those WMDs *could* have been had they existed AND had Hussein decided to use them against us? I fear that almost any policy--no matter how horrible--can be defending by pointing at disturbing hypothetical outcomes that might come about, should we not take aggressive action. Governments tend to exploit crises by 1) exaggerating their severity and 2) using that as an excuse to seize more power; perhaps step one is no longer necessary, since some of us are apparently now programmed into accomplishing this on our own by conflating recessions and depressions with World Wars?

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Precautionary Principle


I fear that almost any policy--no matter how horrible--can be defending by pointing at disturbing hypothetical outcomes that might come about, should we not take aggressive action.

I wonder if you could pursue that same line of thought with any Democrat and get them -- while still nodding at the horrific nature of leviathan, crisis, and the tendency of politicians and bureaucrats to grasp at power -- to agree that the precautionary principle is fundamentally flawed, so we should throw out things like the Delaney Clause and be more skeptical of anti-climate change proposals.

Or get Republicans to agree to reduce penalties for possession and/or reduce the size of the military and tactical police units?

Nah, probably not. Nevermind, what was I thinking?