Barack Obama President Elect: A Few Hopes From An Independent

Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama on a victory that is historic in ways many other campaigns are not.  He has out-paced, out-funded, and out-maneuvered the competition.

A few of my hopes:

1.  Obama can lead a response to terrorism that deals with the subtlety and danger of the threat: the relatively low probability but extremely high consequences of a potential terrorist attack.  My post here Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads.

2.  Obama can find common ground between the United States, Europe and other interested parties in this endeavor and do the hard work necessary to forge alliances of common international self-interest (in the face of of what I think is an inadequate institutional framework to do so).  Can we include China without comprimising too much?  Must we continue to have to rationally pursue so much of our self-interest outside the U.N.? Can Obama include shrewd moral realism (he is a law professor) as well as liberal internationalism in his world view?

3.  Some commitment to politically pragmatic individualism at home.  Even as Obama may pursue policies that require redistributive measures on trade and the economy to make good on his promises and fulfill his vision…perhaps he will be able to deepen and attach those policies to ideas broad enough to keep sight of the importance of personal liberty, open-markets, and a collectivism that doesn’t too much threaten free-thinking.  

Perhaps some pretty wishful thinking (even a bit selfish) on my part I know…but there have got to be some other independents thinking similar thoughts…

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Bloggingheads Discussion Of Moral Realism

Full discussion here.

We may be in a period of culturally dominant moral relativism. 

However,  Don Loeb doesn’t argue for moral relativism, but for moral irrealism.  Ultimately, (if I get him right) you can’t root moral thinking in any transcendant law or form of knowledge.   You can have values like Loeb does, but you can’t make factual assertions about morality. 

Peter Railton takes the opposing view but his moments of “moral awakening” at recognizing the depth of jazz and the wrongs of politically excluded women while consistent…may be…a little too convenient.

Is that really the best application of moral realism given the problems of the world?  It makes me want to read Machiavelli.

See Also: Jesse Prinz goes so far as to defend moral relativism Another Note On Jesse Prinz’s “Constructive Sentimentalism”

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