Tuesday, January 11, 2011Not for the first time, Matt Yglesias has held forth on Rawlsian theory as if he knows something about it. As I suspected, his total exposure to Rawls is one Harvard undergraduate course. Now I don't think discussions about political philosophy should be restricted to those who have PhD's in political philosophy. I certainly don't have one. But I have spent over a decade trying to understand Rawls. He is deceptively simple on the surface but his theories are actually quite subtle. He's not someone you can just skim and expect to absorb.
What bothers me about Yglesias is that (as he does with education policy), Matt is taking a little superficial knowledge and running with it. I suppose that's an operational risk for bloggers, but he's particularly egregious about it, especially since he quite clearly has no idea what he's talking about. I mean seriously, perhaps if the entire Anglo-American discipline of political theory has been dominated by a single thinker for forty years this person's arguments can't be disposed of so glibly?
Hmm. Now that I think of it, there's probably a lesson in that for me too.