Thursday, May 24, 2007

Broken crockery and civilized discourse

By Libby

I read the refreshingly civilized exchange between Dale at QandO and Oliver Willis and thought Oliver got it exactly right except for one point. The Pottery Barn Rule.

Progressives are making a huge mistake by validating the GOP framing. Cernig is the only blogger I know who has the correct intepretation on this. To begin with the rule is "you broke it, you bought it." It's not "you broke it, you fix it."

If you break the crockery at Pottery Barn, you pay for it and go home. You're free to take the pieces with you, but you don't send in your gang of home boys to take over the store while you run out to buy some glue to put it back together. Neither do you get to fix it, put it back on the shelf and then tell the store owner how to run his business. All you get is a flawed item that may be repairable to functionality, but will never be perfect again.

But Bush didn't just break a random crock. He busted out the plate glass window because he just couldn't wait for the store to open. He got his statue but it got broken in the crush of looters he let him in behind him and now he, and by extension we, are responsible for all the lost merchandise.

If we're going to apply the Pottery Barn rule, then it's time to accept we're going to have to go home with nothing of real value and we're going to have leave all those shiny new fixtures we paid so dearly to replace, behind. Paying for the damage doesn't give us ownership of the store and breaking in the first place doesn't really give us the right to decide who ultimately gets to run the business.

[thanks to Liberty Street for the link]

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3 Comments:

Anonymous lester said...

actually, if you break a bowl at the pottery barn you DON'T have to buy it. al franken wrote about it in has last book. but anyway...

10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Is that true Lester?

3:11:00 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

indeed

4:15:00 PM  

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