Paul W. Kahn

Philosophy and the Politics of Unreason

Stephen Holmes has presented a lecture full of good ideas and genuine common sense. If I were in a position to hire him as Deputy Secretary of State for Policy and Planning, I would. Over the past few years, he has produced a number of pieces that identify the errors and dangers in arguments made by the Administration and its supporters. He writes in praise of the rule of law, drawing our attention to the institutional wisdom embodied in our traditions of constitutional governance. Since it all seems so reasonable, I always come back to the question: Why does our government continue to act in ways that are so unreasonable? The answer, I will argue, is because reason is not the only measure of political action.