Michael Walzer
Professor Emeritus, The Institute for Advanced Study

Michael Walzer on the Presidential Candidates

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Political philosophers don't have any special insights into daily politics, Walzer says, but one candidate does stick out.

Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer is one of America's leading political philosophers. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and editor of Dissent, a left-wing quarterly of politics and culture. He has written on a wide range of topics, including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic and a member of the editorial board of Philosophy & Public Affairs. To date he has written 27 books and has published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews. He is a member of several philosophical organizations including the American Philosophical Society.

Question: How would you rate the presidential candidates?

Transcript: I don’t think that political philosophers have any special insight into everyday politics. As I suggested before, most political philosophers are more interested in philosophy than in politics, so that doesn’t give them any handle on what’s going on in the world. And my experience in the academic world is that academics are not much more intelligent about everyday issues than ordinary citizens. They are more knowledgeable; they can call up historical references, but that doesn’t mean they get things right here and now.