Illegally Searching for Libertarians in the Middle East

The last line of “Non-reading list” said I'd talk about some good pieces I read on Wednesday as well. Actually, it said I'd do that in my next post after that one, but as you may know if you've read this blog for a little while, claims about what I'll post next are always false. Now I'll talk about them, instead of just talking about talking about them.

  • Jeffery Goldberg's op-ed on Gaza, with some interesting reporting on Hamas and analysis. A couple of writers whose views I trust and usually agree with don't like Goldberg (that may be putting it too mildly), and regularly have good reason to disagree with him. So I wondered if I was missing some flaws in his piece. But on Thursday, Yglesias briefly responded, and while the post says he's not impressed by the op-ed, he also doesn't bring up any significant flaws (similarly, Glenn Greenwald would presumably bring up problems if he had them, instead of just mentioning the article. It's not like Greenwald is afraid of writing lengthy pieces). So I'm sticking with my initial assessment, it's good.
  • DeLong had a post about the intellectual history behind the fact that despite being an economist he doesn't come to libertarian policy views (and not just DeLong, most economists). He's really smart; you should read what he says. There's certainly room to quibble with his line about what a self-interested butcher would do, but since the rest of his argument doesn't depend on that at all there's really no point in doing so.
  • On Wednesday, the Supreme Court gave their opinion in the 4th Amendment case of Herring v. United States. I first heard about the case when the court granted certiorari in February last, and wondered at the time why the principle with which the court decided U.S. v. Leon over twenty years ago wouldn't control. There are some factual differences (and an even more on-point case that I didn't know about), primarily that in Herring there was an error made by the police while Leon involved an error made by a judge in granting a warrant, but they didn't seem to me to be outcome-determinative differences. I'm ambivalent about whether or not Leon is rightly decided, but given that it has been on the books for over twenty years, yesterday's decision didn't bother me. For good posts about Herring, check out Orin Kerr writing about it back in May and Tom Goldstein (who is really worried about it, and makes me think I might be wrong) on Wednesday. Kerr wrote about it on Wednesday too, it's just that his May post is better.
  • I didn't read it on Wednesday (which was supposedly the unifying theme for this post) because it wasn't posted yet, but I also want to recommend a truly excellent Yglesias post discussing the mistaken cost/benefit analysis behind U.S. strategy in the Middle East over the last quarter century.

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