It Can Be Good to be Stubborn

Flexibility is usually seen as a virtue, and it’s almost always preferred to stubbornness, but constitutional law professor Richard H. Weisberg wants us to reexamine our collective cultural bias toward flexibility, open-mindedness, and compromise. In In Praise of Intransigence: The Perils of Flexibility he argues that flexibility has not fared well over the course of history, and that emergencies both real and imagined have led people to betray their soundest traditions. He illustrates his argument with historical examples from Vichy France and the occupation of the British Channel Islands during World War II as well as post-9/11 betrayals of sound American traditions against torture, eavesdropping, unlimited detention, and drone killings.