Reading the documents of criminal charges filed against Blagojevich, I began to feel sorry for him. He is operating exactly the way any shrewd person within a corrupt system does. I am reminded always by news stories of this kind, of Nietzsche's assertion that lying, corruption, and all forms of insanity are almost unheard of as isolated individualized phenomenum, but as standards of society and institutions, are more or less the norm. Blago may be less of a scoundrel or idiot than a mirror held up to the political system. In any case, I feel pity for him, and I take my feeling seriously. In philosophy, feelings are viewed as beliefs, statements; they are rightly perceived as symptom, consequence and incident of thinking, the mechanism of a transubstantiation of valuation. And after a certain amount of years of academic study, reading, and refelcting, I have come to trust my own thinking process. And when that thinking process translates gives rise to pity, sympathy, empathy, I am inclined to take it seriously. We first make scoundrels, and then punish them.