I think pretty highly of Barack Obama’s judgment. But what does it mean to say that? Just this: that I think highly of his judgment even when I disagree with him.
… To make this more concrete, I also think highly of Glenn Greenwald’s judgment on issues of civil liberties and the national security state. This means that when he takes a different position than mine, it makes me stop and think. After all, we’re on roughly the same wavelength on these subjects, and they’re subjects that he’s often thought about longer and more deeply than me. This doesn’t mean that I’ve outsourced my brain to Glenn, but it does mean that he influences my judgment, and that’s especially true on issues that I’m unsure of.
Ditto for Obama. Unlike Glenn, perhaps, I’m unsure about the wisdom of our Libya intervention, and the fact that I’m unsure makes me more open to giving Obama’s judgment a fair amount of weight in this matter.
This largely pacifies Greenwald:
It’s absolutely true in general that any rational person would pause to examine their convictions if someone whose judgment they respect disagrees with them, and it’s also wise — I’d say necessary — to seek out the input of people who know more than you do on any particular issue. But that is a fundamentally different exercise than substituting someone else’s judgment for one’s own, particularly a political leader’s.