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: What is the most dangerous idea in this campaign?
Michael Walzer: Well, McCain is increasingly trying to run as a Republican after having been a maverick, almost an independent for the past 8 years, and therefore he is saying a lot of things which I think are wrong and dangerous. He is defending tax cuts that he voted against. He needs--if he’s to win the nomination, and if he is to run as a Republican candidate--he needs to convince the base, the Republican base, that he is one of them having not been one of them for some period of time. And so he is saying a lot of things which I hope he doesn’t believe. He is defending tax cuts that he voted against. He is no longer as passionately against torture as he has been in the past. He is defending a policy on anti-welfare politics which I also hope he doesn’t believe, but all of those would be dangerous because they are the continuation of a Republican program that has brought the country into state of radical unfairness and inequality Recorded on: 2/27/08