Stephen Walt runs through the historical record:

[W]henever it becomes politically dangerous to challenge prevailing orthodoxies, misplaced policies are more likely to go unquestioned and uncorrected. Wouldn't it have been better if more well-placed people had objected to the U.S. decision to build massive nuclear overkill (including 30,000-plus nuclear warheads) during the Cold War, questioned the enduring fears of "monolithic communism" and Soviet military superiority, or challenged the wisdom of three decades of financial deregulation? Some did express such qualms, of course, but doing so loudly and persistently was a good way to find oneself excluded from the political mainstream and certainly from the highest corridors of power.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.