In other words, two different instances in which one gets overt attention and the other does not are not necessarily "opposites." That this particular logical flaw pervades American political debate is, perhaps, more telling than anything else. As a general ruleprobably an unconscious attempt to acknowledge "majority v. minority"we tend to reduce all policy arguments to a contest between two, and only two, alternatives. The world is not that simple. Perhaps our two-party system is, but the world is not. Consider, for example, the ongoing controversy over SarbOx (to name something near and dear to the Perfesser, and justifiably so). The debate quickly crystallized to "SarbOx or the status quo," instead of "Determine the best meansregulatory or otherwiseto prevent future director-approved accounting scandals." Thus, scrapping the GAAP and GAAS, and rebuilding accounting and auditing standards from ground zero instead of for the sake of consistency with late-nineteenth-century practicesto name only one potential possibilitynever really entered the debate. Neither SarbOx nor the status quo is acceptable; but that kind of position is lost in binary reasoning.
Some of this may come from the American tendency to avoid even considering revolutionary changes in governmental or commercial contexts. There is certainly something to be said for predictability; however, predictability is properly a factor (and a significant one) in considering the merits of policy and practice alternatives, not the default condition. The irony that our nation has evolved to this after beginning two-hundred-odd years ago with one of the most revolutionary forms and practices of government seen to that time is a bit disturbing. Although I often disagree with Jeffersonremember, he and his party pushed through the Alien and Sedition ActI think he was right to praise "a little revolution, now and then"at least for consideration.