Quote for the Day
“I believe you have a great thing. The great thing is, you have a president for four or eight years, and then out. If you are an enemy of the minister of culture and he bans your plays, you will be banned for only four or eight years. The beautiful idea is to limit the damage one human being can do to another. It’s a beautiful idea. Do you know how beautiful it is?”
— Egyptian playwright Ali Salem, to Jeffrey Goldberg
Sometimes, you need to reduce something to simplicity to see it wholly new again. Sometimes, you need to look at it from an angle that feels slightly off-kilter. Sometimes, you need to do both.
I too think it would be beautiful if we could ban works of literature for a term of years.
Just let me be the one to do the banning.
Beautiful, I tell you.Report
I think he’s saying the ‘beautiful thing’ is having term limits for Presidents, not banning plays- it sounds more like he doesn’t understand how that works in the US. But I don’t think he’s calling for banning plays- just getting rid of leaders after 4-8 years, which it sounds like he wants to import. Like Jaybird, I think he’s a bit too optimistic about the prospects for real change that come with term limits, but if I was Egyptian, I probably would be too.Report
He is, in fact, talking about term limits — his example of the way in which term limits might limit damage was what I meant by “off-kilter.” Especially since we’d be likely to think of being able to ban a play for only 4-8 years as a tremendous breach of the limitations of what one person (well, in this case, government) can do to another.Report
My problem with this is that it seems most likely that the folks most likely to get elected will have large overlap when it comes to stuff that they want banned.
It’s not like we’re banning pr0n this year and then, next year, releasing all of those movies and then banning movies that contain smoking… and then the next guy releases all of those old movies and then goes on to ban movies that contain domestic violence.
It’s that the minister of culture is, to use a strained analogy, an Obama to his predecessor’s Dubya.
He talks an awesome game (you may even want to give him a Peace Prize!) but, next thing you know, we’re bombing a third country.
The old banned books stay banned. The new minister of culture adds to the list. He rarely subtracts.
Meet the new boss.Report
If we just vote all Team Red in next time, they’ll totally roll everything back. They’ve learned their lesson this time!Report
I’m wondering if Ron Paul might not actually be Goldwater this time around.
Worse things have happened, mind.Report
Point of fact, I’d vote for Ron Paul in a general election if he got that far. Talk about injecting a crisis into a situation.
Although I disagree with the good doctor on a large number of fronts, a serious veto threat would go a long way towards effecting some sort of change. Nothing else seems to be working at clearing out the embedded log jams.Report
Categorically opposed to term-limits. Think this playwright is mistaking cause & effect here.Report
I think its more an indication of the difference between those who see politics as personal and those who see it as institutional.
If you think of the quality of policies as being about whether “good people” or “bad people” are elected term limits make sense as a stop-loss measure – they cap the harm that can be caused by individual bad people in office.
If however you think that the quality of policies and politicians depends mostly on voter preferences and institutional structures then term limits are pointless at best – get rid of one bad politician, and another will take their place. And term limits make politicians less experienced and less accountable.
I lean toward the latter view, but I suspect the playwright favours the former.Report
Ironically, I think term limits are important for politicians the public respects, but a terrible idea where they’re held in comtempt. The UK has no need for term limits because we believe our politicians are near-criminal scum, even though they’re actually relatively speaking not. The US presidency needs term limits because we tend to like our presidents once 5 or 6 years have passed – imagine how long Washington would have been president for if he hadn’t felt compelled to quit after 8. California needs to get rid of term limits because we hate our politicians so much we’ve made things so complicated it takes 8 years for them to figure out how to do their job.Report
Conversely, while our regime changes the guard on a predictable schedule, other countries watch our leaders come and go. Consider KSA, as its royal family watches our presidents come and go, each POTUS feebly waving his bony finger at them in his turn, urging democratic reforms.
As in war, it’s never a question of who wins or loses the battle. It’s a question of who stays and who leaves.Report
Term limits are awesome -particularly in a design with a strong executive – because after all is said and done, it’s relatively pretty easy to steal an election (especially if you’re an incumbent)Report