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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The End of an Era

Someone has accused Bill Clinton of being insufficiently political !

That someone is the usually acute Matthew Yglesias who is clearly suffering from the mass pomposity on parade at the Clinton Global Initiative

Bill Clinton, at the opening ceremony for his meeting, defined the purpose of the Clinton global initiative as to tackle problems that "government won't solve, or that government alone can't solve." A worthy purpose, indeed, for a charity. And I really think there are things that fit that category. [snip]

That, though, isn't what this event is about. Instead, it's really about political issues: education, poverty alleviation, global public health, and climate change.

In those fields, it really seems to me that Bill Clinton could do much more good using his charisma and standing to try to convince rich guys and executives at big companies to take a more enlightened attitude toward the political process,

Uhm Matt, think that maybe Bill is doing good as a goo goo do gooder because he's given up on politics ? Or maybe he is trying to help Senator Clinton by do the most politicianlike of acts -- pretending to be outside of politics.

I guess he could have stayed home and baked cookies, but this is clearly as far as he is willing to get from politics. Why doesn't someone real real smart explain that to Yglesias.

Like maybe Yglesias

Now, obviously, despite my somewhat jaundiced views about charity as an approach to tackling big issues, this is a good thing. And, indeed, it seems to me that it's an especially good thing in that the "commitments" go beyond the merely financial. One of the best things about engagement in charitable activities -- especially if it's real engagement rather than mere check-writing -- is that it can get people emotionally invested in the issues they're working on which can, over time, help broaden perspectives and get people more involved with the need for systemic remedies. In principle, there's a possibility for conflict between allocating resources toward charitable giving and toward political advocacy, but in practice I'm not sure that conflict really arises -- if you build social capital and a sense of engagement, you tend to get both.

Yeah exactly. That's what I meant. Why didn't I manage to put it so well ?

Oh and Matt, are you sure that WiFi is an unmixed blessing ?

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