The Emperor’s New Clothes, revisited

A reader writes that we’re in an inverted Hans Christian Andersen world, in which all the folks who want to show how sophisticated and worldly they are are pointing fingers at the Emperor’s nakedness, and only a few of us innocent children are capable of seeing, and willing to risk saying, that he’s actually rather elegantly dressed.

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:

11 thoughts on “The Emperor’s New Clothes, revisited”

  1. Well, I think Janet's comment is completely vacuous and says absolutely nothing, and I'm not ashamed to say it, so there. 🙂

  2. I think Janet's comment is perfect as it is, and I wouldn't change a word of it.

    She has perfected the art of Zen commentary.

  3. This is nicely said. I was asking the reverse the other day: When are the children of Republicans going to start pointing out to their parents that the party hasn’t had on a stitch of clothing in years?

  4. It certainly is fun to pretend that all of the people who disagree with you are doing so in bad faith, isn't it? Now you can see why the Republicans do it so much.

  5. > This is not about us, and about how betrayed we feel because our actual leaders don’t

    > satisfy our fantasies about how we would behave under pressures we don’t feel and

    > constraints we can’t even see. This is about whether we can establish Democrats

    > and progressives as the natural party of government. If Obama’s Presidency works,

    > we win. If his Presidency fails, we lose.

    One thing that Obama could do without permission from Congress, or anyone else, is to reverse and dismantle Richard Cheney's illegal and unconstitutional programs of executive secrecy, spying on citizens, torture, and the Fourth Branch of Government in general. It is the one thing many, many Democrats (and at least the two lifelong Republicans on our local Obama campaign team) were working so hard to achieve. It is something that Obama addressed directly in his inaugural address. And yet, within three weeks of inauguration Obama not only ceased all efforts to undo the damage that Cheney did to our national honor and integrity but he actually started working to cement down and even expand Cheney's evil and unconstitutional theories. Please explain those actions in detail, Mr. Kleinman, and why I shouldn't be angry about them. I'll state upfront if by "constraints we can't even see" you mean the CIA and similar entities whispering thoughts about "bad men" then you have a long uphill struggle; I am very well aware there are bad men in the world (bin Laden and Cheney being two, right off the bat) and I don't agree that instituting a secret regime of torture and internal, Soviet-style spying is an acceptable way to deal with them.


  6. It's two AM after my chemo, and I'm web surfing while waiting for the 'emergency' anti-nausea pill to kick in so I can get back to sleep. So I want to say, I am PROFOUNDLY thankful for that belly laugh. The Prez employees children for his court? That would explain some things…

  7. Michael:

    Janet's Zen comment : Wittgenstein :: Obama : left (right) hopes (fears) regarding Obama


    Best wishes on your treatment.

  8. Kevin J. Maroney says:

    "It certainly is fun to pretend that all of the people who disagree with you are doing so in bad faith, isn’t it? Now you can see why the Republicans do it so much."

    Kevin, I wish you luck on your physical therapy; I can't imagine how hard it must be to learn to walk again after having been in a coma for almost a decade.

    Good luck!

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