Sunday, October 07, 2007

Brad DeLong's intellectual cowardice

From one of my comments in the censored discussion here:

Profesor DeLong, what about Goldberg's argument makes you so emotional that you feel obliged to censor a plain summation of it from someone who (in a censored section above) expressed a lack of interest in the question of W/M's motives? If you're right, then make your case - it shouldn't be hard if the opposing side is obviously wrong. To carry a point you refuse to even begin to argue by censoring any discussion of it is, it seems to me, intellectual cowardice.

One of my censored comments:

Goldberg is probably fairly described by US standards as a centrist on I/P questions, having written a book sympathetic to but critical of both sides. In the essay in question he calls for a fair, well-sourced, reasonable book criticizing AIPAC.

"But in practice they cannot be debated because people who supported them would tend to be labeled antisemitic and their arguments discounted on that basis."

Would you discount an argument on that basis? Would you discount any argument saying something is anti-Semitic because it says that?

The Goldberg argument is basically: the text is fundamentally flawed in logic and evidence and approach, and blames a small set of (in large part) rich or prominent Jews for manipulating the US into a war and causing OBL to attack us, and uses arguments based on e.g. the fact that Howard Dean's wife and kids are Jewish - hence as a fraudulent work unfairly attacking the influence and works of Jews and making arguments based on the identity of Jews, it is anti-Semitic.

In fact it seems to me that some (not the above) of the criticism of those saying the text is anti-Semitic is made to silence any push-back at all.

Anyway I don't find the question of whether the text is or isn't anti-Semitic of much interest compared to the question of whether the thesis is of - I think Dan Drezner said "piss-poor" quality - or whether I have the wrong e.g. 10-parameter model of why we invaded Iraq or why OBL attacked us.

Another (which I failed to copy) noted that I believed we have a lot of data about the reasons for 9/11 and the Iraq invasion - enough to dismiss claims of unitary causes. I should also note that it's too bad that some excellent commentary by Ragout was deleted. His or her principled reaction:
Brad DeLong,

I am not that interested in whether M&W are antisemitic. What I would like you to do is delete the posts where *your* words appear under *my* name.


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