I am loathe to link to someone who not only calls me "deliberately obtuse" but then - after reading a full elaboration of the point, reaffirms the assessment. But Gene is a good guy, so here is his response.
In my opinion, the response misses the mark badly, and since I agree with half of it it's not even clear he has a good sense of what my claim is. I have about four comments in moderation now that lay my response out.
A couple thoughts:
- If you think I make views based on politics, you're really barking up the wrong tree. I have no attachment at all to the Democratic party, and none to Obama except that I think he's a pretty good president - but that assessment comes from my pre-existing sense of what "a pretty good president" consists of. I had a post the other day that made the president-invariance of my views pretty clear.
- People are imperfect. That has at least three implications: First, design institutions with the knowledge that they are imperfect. Second, if they behave imperfectly that is not evidence that your institutional arrangements are the wrong ones (see premise: people are imperfect). Third, assume symmetry: if you don't think a president can be relied upon to make a decision because of human failings you better not be counting on a judge or any other member of the public to do better. They are humans too.
I don't think Gene is being deliberately obtuse here, but I do think he is unconvincing.