open letter

Politics is exceptionally difficult. I mean, think about it: what could be more complex and challenging and fraught with landmines than the attempt to figure out ways for all of us, with all our differences, to live in some semblance of just harmony together. Moreover, as we have seen repeatedly throughout human history, even the most well-intentioned and well-informed of policies can have unfortunate or even disastrous unforeseen consequences. (What William Goldman said about the movies is even more true of politics: “Nobody knows anything.”) And, to add to all that: I have no specialized political knowledge or experience. Sure, like everyone else, I have my preferences and inclinations and aversions, but there is absolutely no reason for me or for anyone else to think that my opinions have any particular weight or value. So, in public I will remain largely silent about political matters, and will focus instead on writing and speaking within my areas of expertise. In that way I hope to provide some public service while also avoiding the dangers of darkening counsel by words without knowledge. 

Yours sincerely, 

No academic ever