Blogs > Liberty and Power > Maybe Huey or Louie?

Dec 7, 2006 12:05 pm

Maybe Huey or Louie?

This is one of the stupidest essays from the Chronicle I’ve seen in a while. It argues that Hannah Arendt seems so great because all the rest of 20th century political philosophers were lame. I don’t know Arendt well enough to have an opinion about whether or not she’s overrated; it might well be true. The author notes that her “two most famous books make opposite points,” and that she gets a lot of unearned mileage for being a “public intellectual.” But even if it’s true that she’s overrated, it’s certainly not attributable to the reasons given here! Dissed by omission are Nozick and Hayek, but the author goes out of his way to dis Rawls and Berlin. Author’s choice for last great American political philosopher? Dewey! Please.

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Aeon J. Skoble - 12/9/2006

Yes, further supporting my contention that the author of that essay was an ass.

Roderick T. Long - 12/9/2006

And in fact it's not just academic philosophers who are interested in Rawls -- he's had a big influence, for good or bad (for good and bad, actually) in the field of law, for instance.

Aeon J. Skoble - 12/7/2006

I remember both your obit and Jacobs, actually! The author of the silly Chronicle piece does note that "academic philosophers" think Rawls is important, but manages to say this in such a way as to suggest that this is weird, and that we're a strange group anyway. This is true, but not in the sense that he means it; he means it in a way that marginalizes our importance and contribution.

Roderick T. Long - 12/7/2006

Interesting that there's no mention of Foucault or Habermas among the Europeans listed.

For some kind libertarian words for Rawls see Jacob Levy here and me here.