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Step Sideways

Here's an early draft of a blog entry I was preparing a week or two ago, translated into reasonably standard English. Posting it despite lack of polish because it might be interesting but right now I don't feel up to polishing it (been feeling off recently).

Boulton. SecState position offered by Gingrich.

Man who argues that you might lop several floors off the UN HQ without losing anything of value

Problem with Boulton - His style of diplomacy demands honour without providing wisdom; an internationalist statesman would provide wisdom without demanding honour.

Why is Boulton powerful? Some of this is through mastery of something like a strawman, but different. Like many concepts in governance, there are two versions of understanding them. There's the naïve, happy understanding, and the gritty, realistic one. Boulton's kind wishes to demolish the UN, and how they do it is they shatter the naïve strawman of the UN (as a democracy, as a powerful system always aiming for justice) by presenting the broken ideals of the naïve as a way to discredit it. What I say: step sideways. There is no time we are so vulnerable as when we are forced to confront new facts; we are easily led to the wrong conclusions about them. The simple ideal of the UN is false. We agree with Boulton there. The problem is that in that moment of broken ideals, he tries to lead people away from the deeper, grittier understanding of the UN as a worthwhile institution. The UN provides opportunities for a world stage of nations, and forces onto politicians and even sometimes normal nationals a desire not to be embarassed there. In doing so, it helps prevent countless wars, and draws attention to many very worthwhile issues. Despite its faults. Perhaps even because of some of its "faults"; it is not a strong body that demands justice. Its peacekeepers often sit idly by while terrible things happen because they are not authorised to lift a weapon. Nontheless, it is an effective force for the prevention of stupid conflicts and advancing science and cultural preservation. What must we learn from this? It is that when we are forced to disillusion ourselves, we should feel free to step back and consider other alternatives to our broken model; we are not obligated to take the argumentor's version. It is to step sideways, out of the channels they built that rightly took us from ignorance but forcibly lead us to their conclusions. It is likewise with the libertarians whose every little flaw in government is used as an argument for its death, like any flaws in our friends might suggest we pull a knife on them and make some art. Momentum is something we should always manage when we listen to those who speak; those making an argument will always lubricate their points and it is our task to drag our heels enough to be sure we're not missing out on reasonable alternatives.