Thursday, July 17, 2008

Credit Where Credit Is Due

We'll just use the tired cliche that a stopped clock is correct twice a day, w/ the caveat that in our digital age a stopped clock is often blinking "12:00" or showing how much time has elapsed since power was restored, to note that one of the many women we constantly revile here (let alone there – it's 'cause we expect better of them, sexist weasel that we are) Megan McArdle, has located an item that pretty well covers/uncovers the truth about terrorism. (Alright, not all of the truth about terrorism, but the truth about how it may actually affect us here in the United Snakes. That is, the terrorism perpetrated by Islamo-fascist & Amero-wackjob terrorists, not U. S. Gov't.-sponsored terrorism.) Click here for a link to the full report, should you not want to increase Megan's alleged readership. Here are the hot parts:
The premises: 1. The number of potential terrorist targets is essentially infinite. 2. The probability that any individual target will be attacked is essentially zero. 3. If one potential target happens to enjoy a degree of protection, the agile terrorist usually can readily move on to another one. 4. Most targets are "vulnerable" in that it is not very difficult to damage them, but invulnerable in that they can be rebuilt in fairly short order and at tolerable expense. 5. It is essentially impossible to make a very wide variety of potential terrorist targets invulnerable except by completely closing them down. The policy implications: 1. Any protective policy should be compared to a "null case": do nothing, and use the money saved to rebuild and to compensate any victims. 2. Abandon any effort to imagine a terrorist target list. 3. Consider negative effects of protection measures: not only direct cost, but inconvenience, enhancement of fear, negative economic impacts, reduction of liberties. 4. Consider the opportunity costs, the tradeoffs, of protection measures.
Remember when Yankee pig-dogs were considered common-sense pragmatists, not scared little babies who want mommy to keep them from dying? Talk about your "nanny-state."

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