Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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July 24, 2006
The Less Than One Percent Doctrine

Harvey Sapolsky and Benjamin Friedman of MIT go Ron Suskind one better and enunciate the brilliant thesis that the USA's national security rests on the doctrine of You Never Know(ism)(.pdf):

In a democracy, government expenses require justification. Threats justify budgets, so strategies sell threats. Our strategy documents are rationalizations of spending, not its guide.

You Never Knowism is a product of politics. . . . What was once self-interested dishonesty becomes organizational culture. . . .

You Never Knowism relies on flawed logic. But because it is generally a cover for politics, defeating You Never Knowism requires more than reason. It requires changing the politics that create it.

The above is from the Spring 2006 issue of Breakthroughs, a publication of MIT's Security Studies Program.

The article's key notion does well to provide an all encompassing explanation of a number of peculiarities of the present age, including Rumsfeld's obsession with "known" vs. "unknown" unknowns; the ascent of a national intelligence culture that seems to value bad information (or NO information) over sound data collection; and the issues surrounding the purported threats to the USA's supply of Amish popcorn, as chewed over by the Citizen-Viewer, here.

Nice catch by the summer 2006 Wilson Quarterly, which flagged the article.