Blogs > Liberty and Power > Reasonable people disagree

Oct 7, 2005 8:33 am

Reasonable people disagree

Interesting exchange between our co-blogger Don Boudreaux and his co-blogger Russ Roberts. Have a look.

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Bill Woolsey - 10/9/2005

Didn't anyone else read the Ritter piece where he argues that Saddam was "hiding" his personal security apparatus from U.S. spies working to organize a coup against him.

Mark Brady - 10/9/2005

"Russ Roberts is neither a dummy nor a stooge. He's a very sharp thinker and he's as libertarian as the next guy."

Russ Roberts is certainly neither a dummy nor a stooge. He is a free market economist of some note who has written a well-received popularization of the case for free trade. However, his discussion of the war which reflects limited reading and a not very skeptical view of government does not of itself persuade me he is either a very sharp thinker or as libertarian as the next guy.

Sudha Shenoy - 10/8/2005

What I find interesting is that for both Roberts & Boudreaux, 'Iraq' & 'Iraqis' are just background. All the action is American.'Iraq' is 'dysfunctional' -- i.e., it is not America; Saddam got his just comeuppance because he (wrongly) claimed to have nuclear weapons; Osama was not taken seriously & see what _he_ did...etc. What happens when there is a continuing history? into which an ignorant, powerful giant blunders?

Matt Barganier - 10/8/2005

I, for one, didn't call him any of those things. Re-read my posts.

Aeon J. Skoble - 10/7/2005

Guys, guys -- I meant the headline literally. Russ Roberts is neither a dummy nor a stooge. He's a very sharp thinker and he's as libertarian as the next guy. This was precisely what I found interesting about the exchange. It's too easy to dismiss people with views opposed to Don's as "neocons" or "pro-administration hacks" or "crytpo-statists," or simply as idiots, but none of these is true of Roberts.

Keith Halderman - 10/7/2005

I think that after the first Gulf War Hussein's only goal was to get back into the family of nations. That is why we are not going to find any WMDs. Any kind of attack against the U.S. would not have served his purpose.

Matt Barganier - 10/7/2005

"Finally, Saddam wasn't linked to 9-11. Let's accept that as true."

I love that second sentence. Mighty generous of him. Yes, let's also "accept as true" that George W. Bush wasn't born on Neptune. Why? Because no compelling evidence has been offered that he was; in fact, the idea that he was contradicts a mountain of established fact.

"But I think he would have liked to have been part of it if he could have kept his fingerprints from showing. He would have liked to have bankrolled the next attack."

Evidence? Logic? What would it have benefited Hussein to anonymously back a terrorist strike on the US? Hell, he had nothing to do with the one that actually happened, and he still got deposed over it. This is pure conjecture, and pretty weak conjecture at that.

Matt Barganier - 10/7/2005

I find it interesting that while Roberts' disagreements with Boudreaux sound as if all he's read on the matter is the WSJ editorial page, he STILL comes to the conclusion that the neocon project is doomed. We're beginning to see reasonable people agree about that.

Mark Brady - 10/7/2005

Thank you, Aeon, for the link. I had previously read Don's open letter and particularly welcomed his application of the insights of economics to the specific case at hand. Now having read Russ Roberts, I'm struck by how Russ conflates state (the U.S.) and society (American society) in his analysis. It seems to me that Don avoids this for the most part and the extent to which he does talk about "our government" is more a rhetorical device to reach his friends who support the war.