The American Obsolescene

What’s new in obsolescence? Expert conversationalist Heather Hurlburt spent much of the day yesterday indulging me and the following questions: Is shoe-leather journalism obsolete? Is NATO? How about your aspirations to being well-read once you have a kid?

I had a lot of fun putting on and taking off my “neocon hat”. You might wind up bracing for some sexy brass instruments to start playing a BHTV rendition of “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” One thing we could’ve spent the whole hour talking about is the difference between political rationalism and deliberative reasonableness in politics. But how many people want to watch a revue of “The Rational Actor: No Longer a Fact, Not Yet a Fiction?”

Another thread that didn’t get woven into the final cloth was an important back and forth on the viability and suitability of “victory talk” in, and after, Afghanistan. Heather worried that talking victory, instead of ‘mere’ success, would continue to rhetorically distort our discourse and our expectations so badly that we’d remain prone to fight too many wars too readily and wind up too disappointed. I maintained that it’s important for us to remember that unconditional surrender and total conquest is a crazy and at least very narrow standard for victory, and that we still retain the capacity to understand that without having to abandon the language of victory, the aspiration for victory, or the American moxie and pride that’s historically been important to our simple military success. This was a majorly fun Bloggingheads.