Jan 4Liked by Sheril Kirshenbaum

Another thought or two:

How do we allow (or even promote) lobbying as a proper mechanism for presenting the views of a given "interest group", including their rights to free speech, while providing for maximum openness and transparency and minimal option or opportunity for corruption, from either side? How are such visits currently documented: who, where, when, what topics discussed, actions or promises made, if any, etc. ??? Any trackable metrics available?

From the scientific and technological side:

What should be the policy for supporting new developments? How far should governmental support extend for some promising new idea? Early and high risk R&D? Possibly including up to substantive laboratory or mechanical demonstrations? Should it extend to prototyping of manufacturing capability? But clearly stop short of supporting commercial pilot operations or full scale production. If the government has paid for the high risk early portion of development, who should the patent or copyright really belong to?

When is subsidizing something justified, and when is it just a favor, or pay back, to insiders and connected operators?

Expand full comment
Jan 4Liked by Sheril Kirshenbaum

And of course what you plan to pitch to us over the next several weeks is "intellectualizing", too. :-)

One reason intellectuals come across in a poor light is that many do not write very well. I read many essays (or try to) where the core criteria of essay writing:

1) say what you are going to say (introducing)

2) say what you have to say (explaining)

3) say what you have told us (summarizing)

are too seldom followed. Thus, you come to the end and ask "just what did they say??". "Why does it matter to me?" "What am I supposed to do with this new information?" And many also hide their lack of real understanding or contribution behind a barrage of pseudo language trying to look smart. They fail to recognize that "reality is not optional".

If you are going to educate us about various DC jargon and acronyms, I find too many authors present the full name or wording only once, with the acronym following in parentheses, and then expect the jargon to be fixed in their readers' minds. For common things that is ok, but some of us carry jargon from past lives that can be confusing when exposed to a newer field of discussion. For newer or rarer subjects, I request at least two or three repetitions to help set the meaning of the acronym, etc. Piled higher and deeper (PhD) speaking here.

I agree that just facts, without context or correlation, can lead to people just talking past each other.

Some topics I hope you can help explain to us are:

Do congressional staffers receive any training in how to ethically interact with lobbyists?

Or receive training covering some of the various procedural rules applicable to one house or the other? Vs. learning OJT from cynical oldsters??

Are any of these rules something a non-DC resident layman (like many of us) might benefit from learning about as well? Most civics classes are light on such details and on discussing the rationale for creating such rules.

How do such rules impact scientific or non-scientific policy making?

Expand full comment

Nice read, anti-intellectualism definitely is a driving force in a lot of civil/political discourse in America. And something I have felt/experienced since COVID

Expand full comment

ngl, i don't trust 'elites' as much as i did a few years ago. i think they overemphasize their certainty on many issues and that undercuts trust.

Expand full comment

Bit confused. I assumed that the focus of the blog was going to be on the staffers, and how they shape public policy by taking on the tasks delegated by the elected. This makes it sounds like it will be moving on to a different subject, intellectualism and public policy. What exactly is the focus going to be?

Expand full comment