The Corner

Consistency

is getting a bad rap here, I think. I suspect that what Jonah has in mind when saying that inconsistency is okay as long as it’s defended is, in fact, the better specification of a principle that’s being consistently applied. In the case of Iraq and North Korea, which he discusses, that principle might be: protect the national interest. Or: eliminate nuclear threats when it’s possible to do so at a reasonable cost. Seeming inconsistencies that flow from deeper consistencies do not call the virtue of intellectual consistency into question.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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