We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree and make bolder claims than we can defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or to move a debate forward, but to look a certain way—incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand.
Nowhere is this more evident than in public discourse today, and especially as it plays out across the internet. To philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke, who have written extensively about moral grandstanding, such one-upmanship is not just annoying, but dangerous. As politics gets more and more polarized, people on both sides of the spectrum move further and further apart when they let grandstanding get in the way of engaging one another. The pollution of our most urgent conversations with self-interested puffery damages the very causes they are meant to advance.
Drawing from work in psychology, economics, and political science, and along with contemporary examples spanning the political spectrum, the authors dive deeply into why and how we grandstand. Using the analytic tools of psychology and moral philosophy, they explain what drives us to behave in this way, and what we stand to lose by taking it too far. Most importantly, they show how, by avoiding grandstanding, we can rebuild a public square worth participating in.
Please join us for a discussion of this important and timely book about political conversation.
- "Moral Grandstanding," Philosophy and Public Affairs, Summer 2016, vol. 44, no. 3
- Purchase Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk on Amazon
- Purchase Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk on Oxford University Press
Drawing from work in psychology, economics, and political science, and along with contemporary examples spanning the political spectrum, the authors dive deeply into why and how we grandstand.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962—the so‐called national security statute—gives the president vast latitude to identify and define the nature of a threat to national security and to determine appropriate actions to mitigate that threat. President Trump has invoked this statute more frequently than any other president, most notoriously in cases resulting in tariffs on steel and aluminum from allied countries.
Recently the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a case brought by an association of steel importers who argue that the law’s absence of an “intelligible principle” to guide the executive’s actions constitutes a violation of the nondelegation doctrine, rendering the law unconstitutional. Fortunately, the Cato Institute has no such reservations and will hold a public forum to air the appellants’ compelling arguments. Discussion will also cover policy options and the broader range of trade laws where Congress seems to have ceded—or the president has nonetheless claimed—seemingly boundless discretion.
- “On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI,” by Alan B. Morrison, Donald B. Cameron, Gary N. Horlick, et al.
- “Congress Must Fix America’s Unconstitutional Trade Laws,” by Daniel J. Ikenson.
- “American Institute for International Steel v. United States,” by Ilya Shapiro and William Yeatman.
- “Closing Pandora’s Box: The Growing Abuse of the National Security Rationale for Restricting Trade,” by Simon Lester and Huan Zhu.
- “Trump’s National Security Protectionism Will Open Pandora’s Box,” by Daniel J. Ikenson.
A Columbia University study estimates that imposing social‐distancing measures one week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives. If so, then the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to block reliable SARS‐CoV‐2 diagnostic tests for nearly two months could easily have cost twice as many lives. Rather than speed diagnostic tests to market, the FDA created additional barriers to entry that proved not only unnecessary but deadly.
Please join us at this event where leading scholars will discuss how the FDA regulates diagnostic tests and other medical products, the effect of those regulations on public health, and how respecting the right to test would have helped contain COVID-19 where the FDA failed.