One of my red-hot Trotskyite correspondents passed along this link, with apparent approval:
Ultimately this is the question by which the revolution will be judged: After all is said and done, did it actually result in an improvement in the quality of life for the Libyan people?For one sentence, this is pretty breathtaking on a number of levels: the fluency with cliche being the least of them, but quite impressive in its own right (all said and done; quality of life).
There is of course the unjustified assumption that there was a 'revolution in Libya' -- rather than, say, a coup, or a factional struggle, or even a conquest; the gratuitous assumption that it can and must be 'judged'; the unreflective assumption that there's some scalar figure of merit by which to judge it; the downright extravagant assumption that 'quality of life' is the proper standard; and finally, the clearly nonsensical assumption that there is a population-wide metric of 'quality of life'. Suppose some people's lives are worse and others better? How do you measure the worse and the better? How do you combine, say, income and self-respect? Or do you assume that the latter simply reflects the former? How do you do the averaging -- arithmetic or geometric? Do you exclude outliers? Just how important is easy access to Internet porn?
But suppose you could average all that out, in some reasonable way. I don't think you can; but suppose(*).
Wouldn't there still be a few other questions to ask? Like for instance: what does a big victory for the Empire imply for the 'quality of life' of people in places outside of Libya? Just for starters.
(*) Hey, we could always suppose that pi was a rational number. Wouldn't that be fun? And wouldn't it make things so much simpler?