Regardless, it lead me to browsing more Rortian themes. I came across a few points of interest. First, when he died in 2007, he was memorialized by Greg Mankiw and Tyler Cowen. Cowen provides his understanding of Rorty's significance and Mankiw provides a story of his relationship with Rorty in class.
I also found this passage from a 1992 Virginia Law Review article interesting:
"The good kind of prophet thinks of herself as just someone who has a better idea, on an epistemological par with the people who claim to have a new gimmick for retreading tires, or programming computers, or redrawing the company's table of organization. Good prophets say that if we all got together and did such and such, we would probably like the results. They paint pictures of what this brighter future would look like, and write scenarios about how it might be brought about. When they've finished doing that, they have nothing more to offer, except to say "Let's try it!" (a phrase I prefer to "Just do it!").
This kind of prophet does not think that her views have "legitimacy" or "authority". The other, worse, type of prophet thinks of herself as a messenger from somebody (God) or something (Truth, Reason, History, Human Nature, Science, Philosophy, the Spirit of the Laws, The Working Class, the Blood and Soil of Germany, The Consciousness of hte Oppressed, Woman's Experience, Negritude, the Overman who is to come, the New Socialist Man who is to come) - somebody in whose name, or something in the name of which, they speak. Such prophets think of themselves as not just one more voice in the conversation, but as the representative of something that is somehow more than another such voice."
The first paragraph made me think of Keynes's approach, and the second paragraph provides a window on the some of the voices he was up against; those who took the gold standard and other orthodoxies of either theory or policy as an independent authority for Britain to hew to, as well as socialists and other totalitarian philosophies that cited higher authorities for their counter-arguments. It also reminded me of the "reform liberals" or non-Keynesian New Dealers in America; those for whom the primary problem was "economic royalists" rather than "magneto trouble". Many of these sorts were really just well-meaning people with rhetoric instead of reasoned positions (the same can probably be said for many gold-bugs), and they were eventually brought into the Keynesian camp. You can also see the opponents of Keynesianism today reflected in that second paragraph - some higher moral priority like "fiscal responsibility" as an abstraction, or "sound money" as an abstraction and as a moral goal substitute for "this is my idea, this is how it works, let's give it a try". It doesn't matter if dedication to the abstraction works - "liberty" or "responsibility" or some other abstraction or tradition justify it. Functionality is a distraction.
This is not to say that a moral justification of sorts isn't important: it is. But it's not a substitute for (1.) humility when it comes to citing the authority with which you speak, and (2.) a good argument on why what you're proposing is functional in making the world better.