However... Stossel will be on Good Morning America Friday morning (7-9am EDT) and the producer is hoping to use some of that footage there. So we shall see.
And catch Bryan Caplan on tonight's episode!
Now, I admit to being a journalist. I admit to being an investigative journalist, a researcher, and I’m not here to argue theory. I’m here to discuss what happens in the messy real world when Milton Friedman’s ideas are put into practice, what happens to freedom, what happens to democracy, what happens to the size of government, what happens to the social structure, what happens to the relationship between politicians and big corporate players, because I think we do see patterns.
So Friedman and his ideas are guilty because people who supposedly believed them put them into practice in ways that utterly contract them, but that are nonetheless, in her warped logic, predictable applications of said ideas.
Well I'm glad to see that it's now fair game to pin the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century on Marx. After all, just substitute Marx for Friedman in the above and then just add"and leads to 100 million innocent dead" and see if it isn't just the same.
Even on Klein's own whacked, but now even playing field, I'd say Milton still comes out ahead.
If you have additional ideas, let me know, as I am more than willing to update the letter to cover things I might have missed. Other feedback is welcome as well, either in the comments or by email.
Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists.
On a related note, will folks on the Left attack the Paulson bailout plan for the naked violation of the rule of law that it is? From the proposal:
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
This abrogation of the rule of law, after all, is precisely what the Left has correctly opposed about the Administration's conduct in the"war on terror," so why not continue the same opposition here? Anyone want to take a guess at the odds of that happening?
Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists.
I spent yesterday morning attending a memorial service for the mother of a colleague here at SLU. One element of the SLU campus is that we have a large (for our size) and vibrant gay and lesbian community within the faculty, of which the colleague in question is a member. Watching her long-time partner grip her hand as they walked in and watching one member of a gay faculty couple with his arm around his long-time partner during the service (not to mention another long-time lesbian couple two rows behind me) got me thinking about the same-sex marriage issue.
We all share a common humanity when it comes to death, especially of those close to us. We turn to the people we've built and shared a life with for comfort and consolation in those times. We share that same humanity in times of great joy - at the weddings or births or anniversaries of our friends and family. And we want to share those moments with the person with whom we've shared the journey of our lives.
Sitting there watching those three couples and thinking about how they can never fully share those times of sorrow and joy without thinking twice about where they are and who might be watching, and without the full protection of the law if it was their own partner who was being mourned, not to mention whether some of their own families and friends might have rejected the very relationships that sustain them in such times, welled up my political anger and sense of injustice, of both the thin and thick libertarian variety.
Libertarians can disagree in good faith about what the relationship should be between marriage and the state. In the first-best world, many of us agree that marriage should be freed from the state. I certainly do. And in the second-best world we can and do disagree about whether the state should treat same-sex couples equally when it comes to marriage. As a matter of justice and equality under the law (a classical liberal idea that unfortunately gets short shrift in the modern libertarian emphasis on reducing the size and scope of the state), my own view is that libertarians should support measures to legalize same-sex marriage, including judicial ones. That said, there are certainly cogent libertarian arguments in the other direction, weaker though they may be.
As my wife and I celebrate our 20th anniversary this coming Thursday, I simply cannot imagine having to engage in the fancy footwork about our relationship that gays and lesbians do about theirs, nor wondering and worrying about how the law would treat either of us if something happened to the other. These concerns about our common humanity and treating equally the relationships so many of us rely on in times of sorrow and joy should, in my view, be part of a thicker libertarianism that is more than just politically tolerant or neutral about such relationships, but instead is positively supportive of them as part of a larger vision of a world in which individuals are free to create meaning out of the voluntary relationships they construct in their lives.
To be clear: I'm not suggesting any role for the state in this (beyond treating such relationships as equal to heterosexual ones as a second-best solution), nor am I suggesting that it is "unlibertarian" to simply dislike such relationships. What I am saying is that I wish more libertarians would get past thin approaches that treat the marriage issue no differently than the issue of, say, whether municipal power companies are inefficient.
The marriage question is more than an abstract exercise in political philosophy; it goes to the very core of who we are as human beings and what it means to live a life of dignity. How someone committed to individual liberty can be anything less than supportive of the desire of gays and lesbians to be treated equally, both under the law and in the eyes of others, when it comes to how we face the common sorrows and joys of human existence remains a very frustrating puzzle to me.
"I'm much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives."
Oh gee, thanks Obama, but I'll pass on your"help." I'd prefer the empty rhetoric, if that's okay with you.
The elitism that suggests that middle-class families need his"help" in living their lives is exceeded only by the hubris of him believing he knows what it is that they supposedly need. I'm pretty sure most of the middle-class, more and more of whom are moving up and out of the middle class, can figure out how to live their lives on their own, thankyouverymuch.
It's a sad state of affairs that as bad as Obama is, he's probably not quite as bad as the other major party candidate.
"The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government's business. I don't think it is the government's business to tell you how to spend your leisure time."
might actually be worth the effort to vote for! Where's a pen to write him in?
Better yet, it was in the context of his introducing"a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance."
Is it too much to hope for that Rep. Frank includes economic activity other than drug purchases in the things that are in that"vast amount of human activity" that are none of government's business?
Not so in politics, where such manipulation is plentiful as well and where the decisions of the state give us no alternatives.
In my post yesterday, I mentioned NASA scientist James Hansen's Torquemada impersonation in his call to try oil executives for crimes against humanity. This morning, I read an account over on Planet Gore of Hansen's first testimony on global warming 20 years ago and the way in which several members of Congress and staff manipulated the visual scene to create support for Hansen's testimony. Here's an excerpt from the account linked above:
Specifically, the PBS series Frontline aired a special in April 2007 that lifted the curtain on the sort of illusions that politicians and their abettors employed to kick off the campaign.
Frontline interviewed key players in the June 1988 Senate hearing at which then-Senator Al Gore rolled out the official conversion from panic over “global cooling” to global warming alarmism. Frontline interviewed Gore’s colleague, then-Sen. Tim Wirth (now running Ted Turner’s UN Foundation). Comforted by the friendly nature of the PBS program, Wirth freely admitted the clever scheming that went into getting the dramatic shot of scientist James Hansen mopping his brow amid a sweaty press corps. An admiring Frontline termed this “Stagecraft.”
Sen. TIMOTHY WIRTH (D-CO), 1987-1993: We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify.
DEBORAH AMOS: On Capitol Hill, Sen. Timothy Wirth was one of the few politicians already concerned about global warming, and he was not above using a little stagecraft for Hansen's testimony.
TIMOTHY WIRTH: We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it.
DEBORAH AMOS: [on camera] Did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?
TIMOTHY WIRTH: What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn't working inside the room. And so when the- when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and double figures, but it was really hot.[Shot of witnesses at hearing]
WIRTH: Dr. Hansen, if you’d start us off, we’d appreciate it. The wonderful Jim Hansen was wiping his brow at the table at the hearing, at the witness table, and giving this remarkable testimony.[nice shot of a sweaty Hansen]
JAMES HANSEN: [June 1988 Senate hearing] Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe, with a high degree of confidence, a cause-and-effect relationship to the greenhouse effect.
Next time someone accuses capitalists of using manipulative images to persuade people to buy something, you might bring this little incident up and point out that at least we have choices in the market.
Like the child who murders his parents and then asks for pity because he's an orphan, the Federal Reserve has a long history of asking for more regulatory powers to clean up messes for which its action or inaction is the primary cause….Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists
The history of banking in the United States and elsewhere does not show that the industry is beset by market failures that require regulatory intervention. To the contrary, almost every major crisis faced by the banking system has been the consequence of already-existing regulations, many of which came about as responses to previous crises caused by older regulations. Countries, like Canada, where some of the worst of these regulations were absent, have not had the same history of crises as has the United States. Perhaps this time we will learn from history and avoid a new regulatory regime that will create new threats to an already somewhat shaky U.S. financial system.
Julie Novak is reporting at her blog that Liberty and Power's Sudha Shenoy has died after a bout with cancer. Julie's obituary provides all the relevant information on Sudha and her career. Sudha was everything Julie says she is and more. She was truly one of the founders of the Austrian revival. Although she never published with the frequency of many of the rest of the stellar group of young scholars who attended the first revival conference in South Royalton, VT, she was active, including her contributions here at L&P. Her knowledge of history, especially European economic history, seemed endless and her training as an Austrian economist enabled her to see things in that history that others often overlooked. She was also one of the loudest classical liberal voices against the American imperialism of the last few years.
But above all of that, she was "old school" in all the best senses of the term. She was a scholar and a gentlewoman, and she was fun to be around. Last November at a Society for the Development of Austrian Economics session looking back at the early years of the Austrian revival, Roger Garrison told a hilarious story (as only he can) about an early conference in California that included Sudha taking an unplanned dip in the pool. My own favorite memory is what a good sport Sudha was when a group of us at an SDAE meeting a few years ago decided to go out to dinner at a barbecue place. It was decidedly not her scene, but she came along, found some things she could eat, and had a great time I think. It was also one of the few chances I really had to chat with her one-on-one as we sat at the same end of a long table. It was a great experience.
Rest in peace Sudha and thanks for all that you have done to help put Austrian economics where it is today.
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Cases like these do pose difficulties because they raise an interesting conflict of legitimate rights. Children surely have a right not to be physically or sexually abused and in the non-anarchist world, it's legitimate as part of the state's job of protecting rights to respond to genuine cases of such abuse (noting that what constitutes physical abuse isn't always crystal clear). But parents have rights as well, both at the state level and in terms of the federal constitution. And those rights include the right to make decisions about how to raise and educate their children. We might not like what parents teach their kids, but unless there's evidence of actual abuse, parental beliefs alone are not sufficient grounds to deny them their rights. Yes, this group's practices might threaten the rights of some of their girls, but the state's action definitively denies the parental rights of the adults and libertarians, it seems to me, must account for both sets of rights, even as we might recognize there are trade-offs and imperfections all around.
The Texas SC made this clear in their decision, arguing that if the child protective authorities wanted to remove children they would have to do it on a case-by-case basis, demonstrating that abuse was happening or some sort of immediate possibility. The circumstances did not justify a wholesale "class action" removal of several hundred kids. In the case of the boys and the pre-pubescent girls, the court was unanimous. Three dissenters argued that there were grounds to remove the pubescent girls based on past patterns of behavior, even though the other six argued there was not enough evidence to do so. I think this is the right decision on both counts. I'd like to offer a couple of reasons why, in particular in response to the view that the group's practices create an environment in which the girls are being abused and the boys are being raised to be abusers.
First, the state has to show that actual laws were broken. The age of sexual consent in Texas is 17 and the minimum age for marriage (with parental consent) is 16, raised from 14 a few years ago (see David Friedman's excellent blog post on this topic). Any 16 year-old girls who are married and pregnant with their parents' permission have broken no laws of the state of Texas, nor have any girls who were married at 14 or 15 a few years earlier, and neither have their parents. So if the justification for removing the children is that girls are being coerced into sex/marriage with older men, the state will have to demonstrate one of two things: 1) that the girls in question are not yet 16 (or were not 14 a few years ago) or 2) that they or their parents did not consent to the marriage. Only girls who fall into either of those categories are victims of sexual abuse in the context of early marriage. To the extent the law is being followed, the early marriage practices are not fundamentally different from those of immigrant communities, as Eugene Volokh notes. He also points out that the sexual consent laws are broken in communities across the US all the time, and might well be a socially prevalent practice in those communities. Does that justify removing any or all young women from such communities? Here too, Eugene points out, the state must find individualized cases to work from.
The point here is that critics of the TX SC decision who argue that FLDS is somehow creating a toxic institutional environment for the girls are going to have to show how their practices actually violate Texas law. If parents are forcing children to break the law, or doing it themselves with the kids, then that seems grounds for state action. If not, then what the complaint really amounts to is not liking the Texas consent and marriage laws and, by implication, believing that your dislike of a community's marital norms is grounds to take the children away. I'm not sure that's a good place to go, as I argue later. Of course the SC's job is to make sure the other branches of government are not wrongly punishing people who are abiding by the law, whatever the law might be.
If one wants to go after the parents for being polygamists, then find the relevant laws and prosecute them. Before you take their kids away, you better clearly show that the children are in danger by staying with their parents and that they would be better off in foster or institutional care or with other relatives. This is an exercise in comparative institutional analysis and we cannot fall for a family policy version of the Nirvana Fallacy. Just because one set of institutions is imperfect, doesn't ipso facto mean the statist alternative is better. Parental lawbreaking is not sufficient cause to remove the kids. (Plus, as David Friedman also argues, it's quite possible to engage in polygamy of a strong sort without technically violating the law.)
Second, some have argued that the boys are victims too, being raised to become rapists/abusers of young girls. Clearly this can't be true of all of the boys, given that this is a community in which one male has multiple wives. If we assume a 50/50 split in births, there must be some significant number of men who are denied sexual/marital access to the women (as each woman has only one husband, but each man has multiple wives). The problem of "what to do with the other men" is one that plagues polygynist societies. Assuming actual abuse is taking place, rather than just marriages right at the minimum age, it's not being done by every male, thus the argument for taking away all of the boys seems highly problematic. For all the concern about the individual rights and autonomy of the young girls, don't the young men deserve the same respect and thus not be hauled away from their parents having themselves committed no crime nor been the victim of abuse?
But beyond these considerations, I think there's a more compelling reason why the Court has done the right thing here and why especially folks on the left who are making the argument that it's putting the girls in danger and poisoning the boys should think carefully about this case. In the end, the argument by the Texas CPS amounted to a claim that this group's beliefs and practices as a whole were such that they raised the threat of abuse to these kids as a whole. That is the justification for taking them all, rather than identifying specific victims. The reason why such an argument is so dangerous is that it is the very same argument that has been used to take kids away from gay and lesbian couples as well as other religious groups with non-standard belief systems, such as Wiccans or other neo-Pagans. The long-standing argument was that their "lifestyles" in and of themselves posed a threat to their children because the parents' supposed practices or beliefs amounted to abuse. Of course cooler heads have largely, though not totally, prevailed and have been able to demonstrate that the worst fears of the child-savers were based on stereotypes and misinformation.
This is precisely why in such cases, the burden of proof should lie squarely on the state to demonstrate what the parents have done that is abusive and to identify the specific children who have been abused. To expect parents to demonstrate that they are not abusers, and that's been the case for gays and lesbians as well as minority religious groups, violates our notions of innocent until proven guilty and demands that they prove a negative. The parent-child bond is simply too important to the well-being of children, not to mention the constitutional protection of parental rights, not to hold the state to an extremely high standard when it intervenes in families.
It may well be the case that there is abuse going on in the FLDS. If so, the state needs to clearly demonstrate that laws are being broken and who the precise victims are. At that point, it can decide whether to remove the specific children or remove the specific adults or some other solution. Short of that, do we really want to give the state the power to take kids away based on the parents' general beliefs and practices after having come so far in not doing this in so many other situations where we used to? However much we might dislike the specific practices of the FLDS and however much some on the left might think giving the state that power in this case would so some good for the possibly victimized girls, we know all too well that such a precedent and giving the state such power will hardly mean that it will be used only when "we" think it should. To the contrary, it is most likely to be used against groups the left is much more sympathetic to and whose practices and beliefs are seen as "out of the mainstream" and potentially threatening.
The problem with giving states the power to do what you think is right is that they won't always agree with you.
Finally, we live in an imperfect world. We cannot eliminate all mistreatment of children without doing grave damage to the individual rights of parents. We know that children do better when raised by their parents as opposed to foster care or institutions. We also know that states face knowledge and incentive problems whenever they intervene in voluntary social orders. Thus, the burden of proof on the state is and should be high, even if that means parents sometimes get away with things they shouldn't. It's the price we pay for the freedom to form families and raise our children as we see fit. The alternative, which more or less would make parents adjuncts of the state, is much, much worse.UPDATE: To provide some evidence for my point about the comparative analysis, check out this post by Tim Lynch at Cato's blog where he details the awful treatment of the children and their mothers by CPS (some of whom were allowed to stay with their kids if they complied with CPS rules and commands) as reported by social workers who were invited to observe by CPS itself. If you're going to take kids away, you better be damn sure where you're taking them is no worse.
My two questions were a drop in the bucket compared to the total and utter takedown of the book administered by Johan Norberg in a new Cato Policy Briefing entitled"The Klein Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Polemics."
I'm not going to snippet it as the whole thing deserves to be read as a masterful, well-footnoted, response to Klein and others like her. If you have friends who are talking about Klein's book, send them Norberg's piece.
Thanks to the generosity of the Koch Foundation, we have inaugurated a Visiting Speaker Series in Political Economy here at St. Lawrence. Our kickoff speaker in March was Chris Coyne, who did a fantastic job with a talk on After War. Last night was our second speaker for the semester, Pierre Desrochers of the Geography Department of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Many of you are probably familiar with Pierre's work.
As I did with Chris, I gave a brief introduction that both said something about the speaker but also talked about the issues each was addressing. I tried to pick themes that illustrated the ways in which libertarianism shares the values of the left. In Chris's case, I talked about the anti-imperialist tradition of classical liberalism. For Pierre last night, I talked about the parallels between the War in Iraq and the calls, especially in the current issue of Time, for a"war on global warming." I share a slightly revised version of my thoughts on those parallels below.
The willingness of people such as Pierre to challenge the commonly held beliefs about capitalism and the environment is a model of critical thinking and courageous scholarship. It is especially so when one considers the current issue of Time magazine, with its cover image of the Iwo Jima Marines planting not the US flag but a tree and its title of “How to Win the War on Global Warming.” That is a powerful image that suggests both that the debate over the facts is over and that we all should be in this war together, much as was the case in World War II… and it also recalls the atmosphere created in 2003 by supporters of going to war in Iraq. The text of the articles support this interpretation of the image.
The use of the war metaphor is troubling on several grounds. Any time war is invoked as a common cause, both critical thought and our freedoms can easily be lost in the name of militarizing society in pursuit of a moral cause. As Hayek recognized, the invocation of war is implicitly an attempt to turn a free society into a consciously organized one, with all of the attendant problems such an attempt will bring with it.
It is particularly ironic that a good number of folks who were rightly critical of the rush to war in Iraq because they questioned the apparent consensus about the existence of weapons of mass destruction there, as well as the ability of the US to “nation build,” appear to be so willing to undertake a “war on global warming.” I would hope that those who fit this category are as willing to entertain “dissent” on environmental issues as they are with dissent on the War in Iraq. Principled and courageous dissent can look like something different, and tolerating it can be a lot harder, when you’re on the “pro” side of a war.
More generally I would ask several questions of people critical of the War in Iraq but gung-ho about a War on Global Warming. Should we not be asking the same deep, critical questions about what we do and do not know about climate change and environmental issues more broadly, and how we acquired that information, as we should have asked about Iraqi WMDs before we go rushing to “war” on global warming? Though the earth has been warming, it is not at all clear that the consensus on the causes and consequences of said warming is as widely shared among scientists as Al Gore and others would like us to believe. Should we not also be asking the same questions about the effects that such a war will have on innocents in the third world as dissenters did with respect to Iraq? After all, the environmentalism-driven rush to biofuels appears to be a significant contributing factor to the run-up in world food prices, which is causing great harm to the poorest folks on the planet. And shouldn’t we be asking what the consequences of this “war” will be on our own freedoms and our own standard of living, just as critics of the War in Iraq have rightly drawn attention to those same issues in the context of that war? Finally, is it really all that much more imperialistic to try to create democracy at the point of a gun in Iraq than it is to tell the Third World that they must abide by high Western standards of environmental regulation in the name of a war on global warming and environmental destruction, when the consequences of doing so are sure to prolong their poverty?
The scholarship of those who are challenging the conventional wisdom of environmentalism, but who also do not have feature films to promote their views, are a crucial part of the critical thinking and provision of historical context that we need in order to make sure that we don’t go rushing into another mistaken war – one that will once again harm us and perhaps millions of innocents in the name of a moral cause whose factual assumptions may not be as certain as its proponents believe.
And those who have argued the hardest for the toleration, if not the encouragement, of dissent on the War in Iraq have an equal obligation to do so for the War on Global Warming. Whether they will do so is very much an open question. So far, when dissenters are relabeled as “deniers,” with the parallels to Holocaust deniers made explicit by some critics, the outlook for the toleration of dissent during this war remains unclear.
It is worth noting that the same argument can be made in reverse - conservatives who agree with my cautions about global warming should do some soul-searching about their support for the war. I'm not optimistic about that possibility either, especially when Rich Lowry of National Review says of the Time cover: "Regarding that Time global warming cover, just imagine if the mainstream media were as exercised about the war on terror and as devoted to crusading to win it. How different would the political environment look?" Sigh. The right-wing worship of war continues unabated.
Of course none of this is to say that we shouldn’t be attempting to tackle real environmental problems. Nor is to deny that such problems exist. But invoking the war metaphor to do so is not helpful to say the least, and a severe threat to liberty and prosperity at the most.Cross-posted at The Austrian Economists.
Like David and Aeon, I've been following the Abdul Rahman case as well. This BBC story captures things pretty well.
Maybe the problem is that democracy per se isn't the desideratum. What's needed is _liberalism_. Democratization of tyrannical regimes can lead to liberalization, but doesn't necessarily do so. I think many political leaders and their speechwriters confuse the two, but I suspect Eugene knows the difference, and isn't in favor of pure majoritarianism, either as an export or as a domestic product. I'd wager that what Eugene favors is limited government. Democratic institutions are often a part of that, esp. when the regime used to be a dictatorship, but the demos also needs to be limited, typically by some codified rights theory. Then there's no contradiction.
I think Aeon's distinction between the exportation of "liberalism" and "democracy" is right on target. The problem with much of the talk about "fixing" the Arab world, especially from the current administration, is that it is focused on exporting "democracy," as if that were the panacea. Of course what the Rahman case forces us to confront is "what if the 'demos' votes in the theocrats?" For those who talk only of democracy (and I certainly don't mean Eugene here), what possible objection do they have to this? Until and unless people start talking seriously about liberalism, they will not have much of an argument against what's happening in Afghanistan. For smart folks like Eugene, they understand this point even if they don't always use the words as carefully as they might. I'm much more concerned about the folks in the administration as well as the general public who perhaps don't see this distinction in the ways we wish they would. (I find myself on the first day of class in Comparative Economic Systems having to make the democracy/liberalism distinction for my students, many of whom have never thought about it before.)
To take Aeon's point another step or two and link it to David's response in the comments, this use of "democracy" is particularly invidious because it's a lot easier to create the trappings of democracy and think the job is done than it is to create anything resembling liberalism. Democracy is, after all, ultimately about the processes and procedures by which state power is created and allocated, and not directly about the scope of that power. At some level, as the history of the West nicely illustrates (unfortunately), democracy is compatible with a very large state and all kinds of restrictions on the freedom of the individual. So, yes, one can create electoral processes and get political decision makers who have been voted into office, yet still end up with the Rahman problem. This is even more clear when it's noted that the Afghan judiciary is "independent" of the political process. Isn't this the worst of all scenarios: a demos that supports a state religion and a judiciary independent of that with no constitutional limits on the power of the state? For all the talk of an Iraqi constitution, it's much more about constitutional processes than it is about the substance of rights. Where are the Iraqi and Afghan George Mason and Thomas Jefferson?
Bottom line: if your goal is to create "democracy," it's no wonder that the Wilsonians in the administration think this is doable in the Arab world in the shortest of runs. After all, just create the processes necessary to have elections and a legislative body, and you're basically there. If the real issue is, however, moving the Arab world toward liberalism, then you've got your work cut out for you because liberalism must, at some level, grow out of the culture (and here's where Chris's concerns come into play - although he's talking "democracy" there and should be talking "liberalism"). Only when you have a culture of liberalism can democracy really flourish. Changing the culture of the Arab world to accept liberalism is not going to happen in a matter of months or years, and certainly not going to happen at the point of a gun. The very sorts of Hayekian unintended consequences David notes in his original post will make that even more difficult. The West did not adopt liberalism in a day - after all, how different is the Rahman case from our own history of Inquisitions, pogroms, and witch hunts? Our transformation took centuries. Baghdad and Kabul will, like Rome, not be built in a day.
We'd do a lot better modeling the very liberalism we want them to adopt by bringing the troops home and finding ways to exchange goods, people, and ideas peacefully with the Arab world. If you want to make cultural change happen, technology and books go a lot farther than tanks and bullets.