Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"An issue over which reasonable minds differ..."

Photo from Flickr.

The US Mint is planning to release a DC quarter, in line with the state quarters they've released over the past few years, and so have asked the DC government to submit a proposal for what the design on their quarter should look like. The DC government's first proposal included the inscription "Taxation Without Representation". Unsurprisingly, this proposal was rejected. What was surprising, at least to me, was the reason the US Mint gave:

"Changing how the District of Columbia (the Seat of Government of the United States) is represented in Congress is a contemporary political issue on which there presently is no national consensus and over which reasonable minds differ."

Has the phrase "an issue over which reasonable minds differ" lost all content? Are there any disagreements over contemporary political issues that the US Mint would be willing to say are unreasonable? I really think that people who use the phrase "reasonable minds differ" should be expected to say what they think is reasonable about both sides in the debate. And if they can't say what's reasonable about both sides, then they should be expected to take back the claim that this debate concerns "an issue over which reasonable minds differ". Put more bluntly: what's a reason for thinking that DC should pay taxes but not have representation in Congress?

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