POLL: Should we add a Policy Analyst?

Should the Center add a Policy Analyst to publish a series of Congressional Policy Briefs, outlining radical reform on various issues? Embedded poll…

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18 thoughts on “POLL: Should we add a Policy Analyst?

  1. Why hire someone? I can cover the territory in two very brief briefs!

    First brief: Introduce, sponsor or co-sponsor constitutional amendment to dissolve the United States of America. Vote in favor of sending to states for ratification. Adjourn in anticipation of ratification.

    Second brief: WTF are you still doing here?

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  2. OK, OK, I was kidding around a little … I can buy into the idea of a policy analyst, but I'd like to see it be a different kind of policy analyst.

    Rather than advise/lobby Congress on "what to do FOR us," the briefs should be detailed analyses (longer than commentaries, which due to their short length have to be either general or very focused on one or two line items) of "what they're doing TO us."

    I mean, take a bill, take a wrecking ball to the bill, then sift through the ruins of the bill with a magnifying glass, holding each little piece of the abomination up for close inspection.

    That could be very cool, in a fingernails-on-chalkboard kind of way. But it takes a very special kind of person to do it. Remember the Patriot Act? I tried to work up a "special report" on it right after it passed. Went through line by line. Made it about halfway through. Now you know why I no longer have hair.

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  3. I would suggest that Tom's approach is to reactive. Instead, a policy analyst should be proactive, pointing out broad features of the system that are oppressive, proposing policy removals.

    One way to combine the policy analyst with the "building the new society in the shell of the old" would be to have not only an analysis of how policies in activity A are harmful to freedom, but also how free market alternatives exist, and what they look like. This should ideally go well beyond mere legalisation or decriminalisation all the way to "abandon all statism ye who enter here."

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  4. Jim,

    Good points.

    My concern — and I'm sure it's one that Brad et al are mindful of — is that C4SS not wander down the path of "this bill wouldn't be too shabby if they'd just take the mohair subsidy out" and such.

    That concern may be projection on my part, as I'm still in the process of personally disengaging from that type of thing.

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  5. This is related to something I've been thinking about a fair bit lately. Is "political" anarchist an oxymoron? Don't have a perfect answer for this. I think it could be argued either way. I voted yes, not because I expect Congress to pay any attention at all, but that some policy briefs may be picked up in the media and anarcho-libertarian concepts begin to be discussed more broadly.

    The first hurdle is to get beyond the "what a bunch of nutcases" level. If people start to hear we've actually thought about these things quite a bit from a couple different angles and have at least plausible reasons for pursuing a stateless society that none should fear, I would regard that as advancing the end goal through valid means.

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  6. An organization that talks about governance should talk about what the current state of governance is. So yes, a policy analyst would be a good addition in my mind, lending more credibility to C4SS.

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  7. I think that doing this will help gain media attention, so if T. Knapp sends them to thousands of papers, more will be likely to bite.

    But is that the goal of anarchists, to get more followers? Or to live free themselves? I'd say it varies from person to person, to this endeavor can't hurt. And if it is a failure, than it gets kicked.

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  8. Against. There's more than enough libertarian/anarchist blogs out there that scream "STUPID!" at every single political decision made. We need more actual groundwork, laying a foundation and laying out A PLAN for how to reach our goals. Just reactively screaming "YOU'RE A MEANY!" doesn't help anyone.

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  9. I think the first thing to be concerned about would be having the steady supply of funds. It seems like it would be fairly easy for criticisms of any policy analyses to question how viable any proposition of radical reform would be, when the analyzing institution is not economically viable. Who is going to listen to a think tank arguing for a freer market when the think tank itself is not financially supported?

    I am under the impression that this particular organization exists, firstly, to spread memes of freedom, be they Libertarian, Anarchist, Capitalist, or whatever flavor is most succinct without losing clarity of concept. If work by a policy analyst will do this, then perhaps it is the best option; but I don't see the difference from the work C4SS already does in criticizing state policies – and it's been excellent about addressing current content – and explaining how a stateless society might pursue the aims of those policies.

    According to our Media Coordinator, we are still *just* breaking in to (I hope I'm not entirely inaccurate) mainstream print and electronic news distributions. The steady stream of articles has only been since March of last year, and I think another year that focuses just on attaining adequate funding and increased mainstream visibility will help us more than adding another staff member or position that the Center cannot afford.

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  10. I think the first thing to be concerned about would be having the steady supply of funds. It seems like it would be fairly easy for criticisms of any policy analyses to question how viable any proposition of radical reform would be, when the analyzing institution is not economically viable. Who is going to listen to a think tank arguing for a freer market when the think tank itself is not financially supported?

    I am under the impression that this particular organization exists, firstly, to spread memes of freedom, be they Libertarian, Anarchist, Capitalist, or whatever flavor is most succinct without losing clarity of concept. If work by a policy analyst will do this, then perhaps it is the best option; but I don't see the difference from the work C4SS already does in criticizing state policies – and it's been excellent about addressing current content – and explaining how a stateless society might pursue the aims of those policies.

    According to our Media Coordinator, we are still *just* breaking in to (I hope I'm not entirely inaccurate) mainstream print and electronic news distributions. The steady stream of articles has only been since March of last year, and I think another year that focuses just on attaining adequate funding and increased mainstream visibility will help us more than adding another staff member or position that the Center cannot afford.

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  11. I'm here to kill the beast. You make the bullets, I'll pull the trigger. I'm looking for talking points. Too often I find myself sliding into the "STUPID!" and "YOU'RE A MEANY!" mode. As far as long-term plans go I'm a fan of the "Starve the beast." approach, I'd just like to pull a few of its teeth before I die.

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  12. @Jared — re: financial viability — It might seem counter-intuitive, but the discovery process of figuring out what people would like to see money spent on is crucial to getting them to donate. We have to offer value in return for value just like any other market entity — even though the non-profit basis of the org means the value we offer more or less has to be the diffuse value of seeing mutual goals addressed, rather than directly trading $1 for an ice crean cone or whatever.

    Based on the discussion, I'm leaning against this now. Also, over 90+ "yes" votes came in all at once last night (with votes only trickling in before and after), which seems suspect.

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  13. @Brad

    That makes much more sense. And it's easy for me to forget that C4SS is based as a non-profit when I encounter the fundraising furor.

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  14. I remember years ago when Reason Magazine was touting the idea of privatized prisons. Now look where we are. The idea of ANY government is anathema.

    – NonE

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  15. It's probably just poking a hornets nest to no great effect. Congress is unlikely to listen, and if they do it would be only to twist the recommendations into something to give them more control.

    Right now cities are under a lot of pressure. Recommendation directed toward that audience might have some effect. However I think to really do it properly you'd need a team rather than a single analyst.

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