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April 12, 2005



Well, the last argument is indeed the strongest one of the lot to the extent that it's a winning one, so far as I'm concerned. There are all sorts of things that I could insure myself against that I'd still, rationally, want to avoid, and that you'd presumably understand my being upset about even if I'd been compensated by a large cheque - the death of my partner or my children, say.

Putting it another way: suppose I strongly supported the war (I did, in fact) - would it have made sense for me in early 2003 to bet against the possibility that there wouldn't be an invasion of Iraq, and that Saddam's regime would therefore remain in place, and then channel my winnings to some organisation dedicated to the welfare of the Iraqi people? That strikes me as a qualitatively different kind of result, to which the liberation of Iraq was (from my point of view) far more preferable.

I guess someone opposed to the war could make an analogous argument the other way - would they be saying that it was all OK after all if only they'd had the foresight beforehand to bet that it was going to happen?


To be fair to Toynbee, what she wants is for the wealthy to pay for redistribution to the poor, and an insurance pay-out to her and other labour supporters which was then redistributed to the poor is not equivalent to that, because I would imagine she thinks it matters who pays for the redistribution as well as who recieves it.

Oh, and Tom above is right.


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