by Jonathan Bernstein
Mark Kleiman asks an interesting question: "Who in America has moral authority?" Kleiman suggests Barack Obama, but it's a fairly half-hearted answer, as I read it. He asks for nominations. I read through his comments, and I was mostly not sold on any of them.
I suspect America might be, for the most part, too big for the question. Too many subgroups, too many categories. I mean, just speaking for myself, if Bob Dylan said that something was just wrong, I'd listen pretty carefully…but really, at the end of the day I don't know that I'd want to argue that he's a moral authority, as opposed to some other kind of national treasure. Perhaps.
The other group that comes to mind for me are the people who took a stand against torture during the last administration, especially those inside the administration or the military. But of course an awfully big group of Americans, I guess, disagree. Again, subgroups and subcultures.
At any rate, to me there's only one fairly obvious answer to the question: the gentleman from Georgia, John Lewis.