Wei wu-wei …

Perhaps the Democratic leadership, rather than being rudderless, has mastered the art of not doing anything to interfere with a natural process that’s moving in the right direction: in this case, the political self-destruction of George W. Bush.

… is a Taoist term usually translated as “effortless effort” or “passive activity.” Wei wu-wei is the capacity to refrain from intervening when things are going the way they ought to go and don’t need your help. Its maxim is, “Don’t just do something, stand there!” Its political application is exemplified by Churchill’s warning against interfering when an opponent is committing suicide.

Much as I hate to interrupt a nice round of Democratic fratricide and mutual loathing, would it be utterly unreasonable to suggest that not interfering as George W. Bush pours political gasoline all over himself and his party and strikes a match might in fact be the wisest strategy the Democratic leadership could pursue? It does, after all, seem to be working.

Have you noticed that Harry Reid and Lao-tse never appear in public together?

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