Philip K. Howard on Daily Show

I tuned into the Daily Show last night (actually this morning on DVR) interested to hear Jon Stewart’s take on Bin Laden. His guest after the skits? Lawyer hater Philip K. Howard.

I watched. I’ve never seen him before. He seems like a nice enough guy. (I’m always amazed when philosophical opponents that I’ve never seen don’t have horns.) Moreover, Jon Stewart seems to like him. It is his second time back. Jon Stewart has a vote with me.

He said two things on Jon Stewart that I thought would be interesting to conservatives. First, he says government officials are shackled to a 19th-century legal infrastructure that doesn’t give them the autonomy to make choices. So the answer, my conservative friends, is to empower government bureaucrats to make decisions as they see fit. How is that sitting with you?
Then he says the Founding Fathers got it wrong by making it too hard to repeal a law. Wait! I thought the game plan was to venerate the Founding Fathers (two capital Fs), pretend many were not slave owners, and focus on getting right what was inside their minds 240 years ago.

I think most conservatives disagree with Philip Howard on some of the details to his “first, let’s kill all the lawyers” game plan. But I credit Howard – a lawyer, by the way – for at least looking at the issue of law and our society creatively.

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