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It is in the prosecution of some single object, and in striving to reach its accomplishment by the combined application of his moral and physical energies, that the true happiness of man, in his full vigour and development, consists. Possession, it is true, crowns exertion with repose; but it is only in the illusions of fancy that it has power to charm our eyes. If we consider the position of man in the universe,—if we remember the constant tendency of his energies towards some definite activity, and recognize the influence of surrounding nature, which is ever provoking him to exertion, we shall be ready to acknowledge that repose and possession do not indeed exist but in imagination. - Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action) (1854 ed.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coffee Klatch Research: Why Tom Friedman is an Asshat


Tom Friedman was much an Iraq war critic as I have been a Barack Obama critic. I have been critical of Obama many times, but I still wanted him to win this election. Even though I was a supporter of Obama, I am not a child. I recognize that the Obama Presidency will not be the fantasy Atrios presidency. He will do what he does, and I will have little to no influence on that. Still, if Obama fucks everything up, I will have some responsibility for that. I raised money for him, I voted for him, and used my mighty blog to encourage others to do so.

Tom Friedman was a supporter of the Iraq war. He encouraged it, and even as it went bad, kept telling us to hang in there for another 6 months. Perpetually. He has criticized how the war has unfolded, but he has about as much influence on that as I have on President Obama. He is war supporter and critic, as I am Obama supporter and critic. And when hundreds of thousands of people died, a consequence with nontrivial probability in a war zone, Tom Friedman had some responsibility for that no matter how critical he was of those who engineered the war he wanted.

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