Saturday, August 20, 2005

Read an interesting Glenn Reynolds column today regarding efforts to "re-wild" the environment:
But then "fluffy bunny" syndrome extended itself to become "fluffy mountain lion syndrome." ...In the end, of course, people started to be eaten... This is, as Baron notes, something of a parable -- and not merely a parable of man and "nature." One need only look at the treatment of such other topics as crime, terrorism, and warfare to see examples of the same sort of misplaced sentimentality and willful ignorance. Tolerance of criminality leads to more crime; tolerance of terrorism leads to more terrorism; efforts to appear defenseless lead to war.
I think Glenn hits on the fundamental philosophical debate at the heart of the right-left dichotomy in world politics today. The Left tends to think we can create a predator-less world through social engineering and negotiation, via the government. The Right tends to believe the world cannot be changed, that there will always be predators, and that they must be dealt with, either directly or by being strong enough to deter them.

As is often the case, the truth probably falls somewhere in between.

The Cold War is an interesting example. The Left was too predisposed to treat the Soviet Union as a non-predator, and to believe unilateral disarmament would coax them toward peace; the Right correctly discerned this not to be the case, but underestimated the possibility of change, and were very surrised when the Soviet Union collapsed, reformed, and became the relatively democratic and benign entity it is today. If you'd told a 1980s Cold Warrior the world would look the way it does today, he'd probably laugh at you in disbelief.


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