The goal in building consensus is not to bestow legitimacy on Michael Steele for his stupid ideas, the goal is consensus itself. Because the alternative -- pursuit of ideological purity -- is a recipe for disaster, pure and simple.
As if the Soviet Union, Khmer Rouge, and Jacobin Terror had not provided enough examples, yet another one looms: Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. We'd already seen how far they will go to defend an illegitimate regime, but last week's Economist underlined their cravenness, outlining some very un-Islamic industries the IRGC has got going on the side:
The IRGC is also widely rumoured to control a near monopoly over the smuggling of alcohol, cigarettes and satellite dishes, among other things in great demand. One MP reckons these black-market deals net it $12 billion a year. This creates not just a drain on state coffers but an incentive to radicalise the regime; the IRGC’s commanders personally profit from Iran’s isolation, since it creates more demand for contraband.(File that next to Taliban, heroin smugglers.) My old history teacher always warned about idealists in power. But they don't even need to be in power: if you believe you are enacting God's will and possess sufficient firepower, that's scary enough.