Friday, September 26, 2008


Sandy Levinson on Balkinization

Thoughts on John McCain as our constitutional dictator
25 September 2008
If one needs further proof of what is most scary about John McCain , it is provided by his grandstanding yesterday and today. The reason for my concern is linked to my previous post about the non-"authority" of George W. Bush. Well, folks, the same is true of both McCain and Obama, as a matter of fact. Neither of them has anything whatsoever to contribute to the negotiations going on right now, at least if one takes seriously the repeated argument that we are in a crisis that demands an immediate solution, and that the solution should be hammered out by people who really know what they're talking about (and are not engaged in crass political calculation). John McCain, by his own admission, knows very little about economics in general and, I am confident, about complex financial institutions in particular. His only contact with them was as a participant in the corruption generated by Charles Keating and Lincoln Savings. So, if we assume that the negotiations involve knowledgeable people, including Paulson, Bernanke, Barney Frank, Charles Shumer, and others, including, no doubt, Republican representatives and senators, McCain has nothing useful to add. Obama has many, many strengths, but I am not aware that knowledge of the intricacies of financial institutions is one of them. So Obama has nothing useful to add. It is as if one asked them their views about whether the new super-collider in Switzerland should shut down several months in order to engage in relevant repairs. There are people who know the answer, or at least the range of probabilities of different courses of conduct, but I am absolutely confident that neither McCain nor Obama is one of them. Both totally lack what philosophers call "epistemic authority," i.e., relavent knowledge about the topic under discussion. And that is true about the delicacies of responding to the ostensible financial crisis.

1 comment:

  1. I think that Obama, you, me, and the average person on the street are all far more qualified than Paulson to address the bailout issue. Paulson, as Goldman Sachs CEO, raised that company's debt from $20 billion to $100 billion.


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