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Saturday
Feb262005

David Brooks: Why Not Here?

This op-ed piece in today's NYT from David Brooks is worth the read.  Whether one subscribes to the full set of objectives (declared and undeclared) of the current administration's efforts in Iraq, there is no denying the "meme" Brooks identifies here.  I find this to be a reason for optimism.

Thomas Kuhn famously argued that science advances not gradually but in jolts, through a series of raw and jagged paradigm shifts. Somebody sees a problem differently, and suddenly everybody's vantage point changes.

"Why not here?" is a Kuhnian question, and as you open the newspaper these days, you see it flitting around the world like a thought contagion. Wherever it is asked, people seem to feel that the rules have changed. New possibilities have opened up.

The question is being asked now in Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt made his much circulated observation to David Ignatius of The Washington Post: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world."

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