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Manufacturing complexity


Since we strive to present a balanced viewpoint here at LGM, please consider this argument from Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen Breyer:

Everywhere I go these days, I encounter variations on the same question. “Your Honor, when do you think you’ll be done juggling my great-grandmother’s irreplaceable wedding china?” “Your Honor, wouldn’t it maybe be a good idea to put those down?” “Your Honor, does it worry you at all that these floors are made of marble, and that you are very old?”

I would love to put this question to rest once and for all, but the fact is, choosing when to stop hurling your most cherished possessions high into the air isn’t a simple matter. There are multiple factors that play into my decision, which mustn’t be rushed.

The first factor is, I am having a swell time juggling all this china! I don’t expect this to resonate much with you, the frantic owner of the china in question, but it’s been a pleasure to step into the role of senior juggler after all these years and find out just how high these plates can soar. My friends and great-great-grandchildren say that playing fast and loose with your fragile valuables seems to have put a new pep in my step, and that’s something I will need to consider.

Then there’s the problem of public perception. If I were to lay down your treasured dinnerware now, just when you are on your knees tearfully begging me to do so, might not the casual observer conclude that I had timed my decision based on the fleeting concerns of the day? Might I not sully the noble and independent institution of china juggling with the stain of politics? In that respect, the more you demand that I stop flinging these saucers in a reckless arc over my ancient head, the longer and higher I am compelled to fling them.


Let me be clear: I completely understand your anxiety. All around us lie the broken shards of other priceless family heirlooms that previous jugglers in my position have fumbled to the ground. Even now, a number of my colleagues are whaling on your fallen antique silver tea set with baseball bats, mangling it beyond recognition. I’m as horrified by this as you are. It was a beautiful tea set, one that I personally assumed you’d have forever. While I’m sure these guys have their legitimate reasons, my heart goes out to you.

Here’s what’s different about me and this wedding china: I have no intention of dropping it.

We should be really clear that point 1 is what’s driving this — Breyer just really likes being a Supreme Court justice, and everything else is inventing non existent norms as an ad hoc rationalization.

And needless to say there’s a lot of protesting-too-much in the recent comments of Breyer and the speech about the Court’s apolitical nature at the McConnell Center (introductory speaker: Mitch McConnell). The public is not in fact buying the bullshit they’re selling:

The Court overruling an extremely popular decision to allow states to ban a medical procedure that is the end result of one in five pregnancies, needless to say, is not going to improve these numbers. I would say that this disproves the theory that RBG refusing to resign strategically would preserve the integrity of the Court if I thought anyone actually believed it in the first place.

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