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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds
Left I On The News
Doing their best to demonstrate how "supporting the troops" isn't inconsistent with attacking the mother of a dead soldier who dares to speak out against the war in Iraq, the right, led by Matt Drudge and joined by many others, has been all over Cindy Sheehan for supposedly "changing her story on George Bush." Media Matters sets the matter straight. The truth is that Cindy Sheehan has been a frequent speaker at antiwar events across the country since her son Casey was killed in Iraq.
But so what if she hadn't? Polls show rather clearly that millions of Americans have changed their minds on the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq; surely Cindy Sheehan, or anyone else, has the right to be one of them. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," and the key word in that sentence is "foolish". There's nothing wrong with consistency of course; this blog maintains (I hope!) a consistent anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist position. But where consistency becomes "foolish" is when your previous position is contradicted by new evidence. Clear and convincing evidence that not only weren't there WMD in Iraq, but also that there never was any serious evidence that there were WMD in Iraq (cf the "Downing Street Memos", for example) is now in the hands of all Americans, and more than 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of others are dead, and tens or hundreds of thousands of people are seriously wounded, thanks to the invasion of Iraq. Surely any intelligent person has the right, and in fact the obligation, to weigh that new evidence and reconsider their position, even if they had been a gung-ho supporter of the war. Only in George Bush's America, with an intellectual lightweight (ok, a complete moron) named George Bush in charge, is clinging to a position in the face of contradictory evidence, whether it be the value of remaining in Iraq or the existence of global warming or dozens of other things, considered a virtue, something to be admired.
And that's where the end of Emerson's quote comes in, the part that few people know about: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." Well, I'm not sure that "statesmen" really applies to George Bush, but "little" certainly does.