Re: The Curious Case of Chas Freeman
I was hoping to let the subject drop with you but since you followed me into the discussion I was having with mvantony I suppose I will respond.
I think you're right that in the end it is difficult and perhaps even unusual to change someone's mind on a subject. I suppose I just feel that there's at least some chance to change someone's mind when the argument they are making is the one that really motivates them. If there is a sense in which am guilty of the idealism that I charged Brian and Conor with - it is that I believe that good faith public discourse can work and that in the end it is the only way to avoid violence. It won't always work but it's the best chance the world has.
Just for the record: in the other thread you seem to imply that I offered a non-neutral stance on Freeman. My "I could spend the rest of my life defending one position or another in the Freeman situation" quote was intended to convey a neutral stance. I see now how it might be misinterpreted to mean that I could defend Freeman on every charge brought against him - what I intended to convey was that I could either defend the critics of Freeman or his attackers. The point was that in terms of political effectiveness it's only ever worth it to respond to the arguments people actually believe (including observers, as discussed).