Ezra just demolishes Lane today:
It seems, at this point, that our dispute comes down to tone. Lane wonders whether “it will be easier to achieve reform in an atmosphere where accusations of mass murder whizz about freely.” I wonder whether reform is even possible to achieve in an atmosphere where statements about consequences are ruled out of order.
At no point in our discussion has Lane disputed the contention that insurance reduces mortality, and for that matter, morbidity and bankruptcy. Similarly, he has agreed that Lieberman is acting partially out of residual anger at liberals, an argument Howard Fineman also made on Hardball last night. That is to say, the two premises on which my argument is built are both relatively non-controversial, even with Lane.***
Second, Lane suggests that the rhetoric is simply overheated, as compared to the crystalline calm of his own prose. “I objected to Klein’s piece about Lieberman for the same reason I objected to the right’s scare talk about socialism and ‘death panels,'” Lane writes.
I find that peculiar. I objected to the rhetoric of socialism and ‘death panels’ because that rhetoric was untrue, and it harmed people’s understanding of the underlying legislation. But Lane, as far as I can tell, agrees that what I’m saying is true. But in this case, an accurate rendering of the situation reads like a radical attack on Joe Lieberman. Sometimes, reality is uncivil. But that does not mean it is uncivil to point it out.
Really, what is at play here is the same mentality that makes a person nonchalantly dismiss the notion that we should investigate war crimes or torture, but then gets the vapors when someone on the internet says “FUCK.”