Dialing It Down

Ezra Klein's plea:

Politics is high stakes. And even when it isn't, it often feels like it is. There's a natural tendency, then, to wave the bloody shirt -- to make the strongest and most maximalist argument possible in service of your case. And those arguments are often empirically accurate. Indeed, they may actually be understating the effects of the policy. But there's also a cost in letting too much pressure and too much fear build up within our politics. And though libertarians like Jack Shafer may lament this sort of self-policing, the reality is that a violent act that could be clearly traced to the rhetoric of certain leaders or groups would lead to much more damaging and coercive restrictions on political speech than anything people are considering now. Having this conversation when no one has blood on their hands is far preferable to having it when someone does. And though political assassinations are rare in American politics, they are by no means unheard-of.