Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a highly influential French/Swiss philosopher, who also wrote “The Social Contract” in 1762. It opens with the famous sentence that “Man is born free, and everywhere is in chains.” Among the notions in this important work is that individuals are the result of their upbringing or social environment. It helped me to understand how a poor black son of a crack-head single mother in the ghetto might be different from the pampered white kid in a country club. Out of respect, I even visited Rousseau’s grave in Geneva.
While certainly not defending Bloomberg nor his terrible performance in the Las Vegas debate, it seems that the purity test applied to men of the 2000’s is not fair to people of different times. Rousseau would say that Bloomberg was a child of the 1950’s and undoubtedly reflects the social environment of that time (think AMC’s “Mad Men”). As a child of the 1960’s, I must have had my share of crazy ideas and would resent being defined by those ideas today. Fortunately, people can and often do outgrow their times. Purity tests are simply unfair — age unfair. They should cover a point-in-time, not a lifetime. Besides, purity tests do not reveal character, which is far more important, especially during these times.
By the way, political “debates” are just beauty pageants for sound bites.
If you want to see a honest intellectual debate, watch the “Up for Debate” show on NewsyTV.