Thursday, March 13, 2008


If you're interested in Eliot Spitzer's background, motivations and methods as attorney general, check out Roger Donway's 2005 analysis. Here's a sampling:
... In the case of business, he seems to begin with the moral principle that self-interested behavior, such as moneymaking, is at best a merely practical activity, and if not constrained by noblesse oblige a positively malign one. ... Spitzer therefore wages war against the self-seeking, moneymaking bourgeoisie in the name of the little guy. All he asks in return is ever more power to do so.

... Spitzer's moral outlook has definite, discernible contours, and at its core are three elements that have shaped his crusades against business.
  • First is an antipathy toward anything he perceives as greed. He may not be a socialist who wants to eliminate the pursuit of economic self-interest altogether, but he demands that self-interest be restrained and decorous—a necessary evil
  • Secondly, Spitzer is profoundly egalitarian in his outlook. He assumes that conflicts of interest between the classes are manifold, and the danger of exploitation constant. With that conviction, he invariably sides with workers and small investors against the wealthy and successful.
  • Third, and worst of all, Spitzer is a Jacobin: he is willing to sacrifice the political principles of a free society—individual rights, the rule of law, and democratic processes—when they stand in the way of his moral views.