Glenn Reynolds puts his cards on the table

He likes grossly excessive and gratuitous violence, as long as he gets to imagine it being inflicted on people he doesn’t like. No wonder he’s a fan of the War in Iraq.

The use of grossly excessive or gratuitous violence, while not exactly encouraged, isn’t exactly deplored, either.

Well, by that standard the occupation of Iraq has been a roaring success, hasn’t it? The Bush strategy reflected in Glenn’s revealing joke seems to be that, if you don’t actually know how to make an omelet, you should just smash lots of eggs and hope an omelet will arise spontaneously.

Of course violence is sometimes necessary; that’s the Machiavellian point some Blue people refuse to learn. But violence is always a cost, never a benefit, and should be used sparingly, and never gratuitously or excessively: that’s the Machiavellian point some Red people would prefer to ignore.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: