Projection Dep’t

Of course, I wouldn’t expect a sense of irony among people devoid of ordinary decency and intellectual honesty. But it does seem strange to observe the colossal message discipline with which the rightwingnutosophere is attacking the Journolist list-serv project for … attempt to create some message discpline.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Projection Dep’t”

  1. It must be at least five years ago, I recall a rightwing journalist smirking at how journalists on the right get away with railing against the left for doing exactly what they do. He said something to the effect of, "We've got a nice little racket going here…" He certainly seened aware of the irony.

    I can't recall the person, source or exact context and it's diving me NUTS. Can anyone else recall this as it was pretty widely reported. Google avails me naught.

  2. mark,

    consider three premises:

    1) whatever virtues you may have as a generalist pundit, your comparative advantage in improving American government society is in drug/crime policy and this is a crucially important problem, both because of mass incarceration and because crime remains high (relative to 1960, if not to 1990)

    2) policy reforms are more likely to be enacted when they have bipartisan buy-in, especially when something can be uncharitably framed as "weakness" which requires a "Nixon goes to China" approach to discredit such demagoguery

    3) things like characterizing the right as "people devoid of ordinary decency and intellectual integrity" can't exactly help make you an appealing figure to the right. (i'm putting aside the issue of whether such statements are justified or accurate, to focus on their practical impact on your political palatability).

    if we accept all three premises, this implies the lemma that creating a long record of inflammatory statements makes it, on the margin, less likely that we'll get your policy proposals enacted than if you were more tactful about orthogonal issues.

    do you ever worry about the conflict? certainly it seems very unlikely that you'd pass "vetting" were you ever to take a leave to go back to government, but it's possible that even a more indirect role of "intellectual architect of the president's new policy" could make you an inflammatory figure. do you acknowledge it but take a stance of, look i'm not a politician walking on eggshells to avoid offending people and focus-group testing everything i say — or more strongly, "here i stand, i can do no other"? or is it that you disagree with the premise, for instance because you think the personality of policy entrepreneurs has at most only a trivial impact on their political success? i think any of these answers would be fair, i'm just wondering how you think about it.

    this is meant as a friendly and honest question and i ask it precisely because i like you personally and i'm a fan of your drug policy proposals, but when i read stuff like "devoid of ordinary decency" i worry that your belligerent stance on unrelated issues will make it less likely that we'll get to benefit from seeing your drug/crime proposals enacted into policy.

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