Thursday, November 05, 2009

The New Yorker and Truth in Advertising

The New Yorker has a piece by John Cassidy which offers the view that the Democratic push for healthcare reform is:

(1) Laudable.

(2) Dishonestly presented.

(3) Likely to incur giant costs, despite what Democrats say.

(4) Likely to incur a large set of unforeseen consequences.

(5) Likely to become impossible to dismantle once it becomes law.

(6) On balance a net good.

(7) Such a net good that it justifies--and perhaps even requires--the Democrats' dishonesty.

That's fine, as far as it goes. But one does wonder if Remnick would have published a piece in 2002 taking a similar view of the prospective war in Iraq. And if not, would it simply have been because of a disagreement over whether the "net good" of regime change was worth intentional governmental dishonesty, or would it have been a more high-minded objection?

I ask this not because I pre-judge what Remnick would say, but because I honestly have no idea. Remnick runs, for my money, the best book in the business. He also happens to be a seriously wonderful writer and an interesting mind. He's not Graydon Carter--he's the great magazine editor of our time. Which is why the Cassidy piece seems so strange.

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