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Thursday, January 5, 2006

New Year's Predictions and Philosophy
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New Year's is a time for predictions, of course. That great philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said: "Predictions are tough if they involve the future." Amen, brother. So, I'll eschew predictions, well, except to say that I predict the market-oriented, property-rights-oriented Digital Age Communications Act approach we are developing here at PFF will gain even more reform-minded adherents in 2006!

Yogi the Philosopher also said: "If you come to a fork in the road take it." That's pretty good advice for a think tank that is striving to be as relevant as it should aspire to be. Developing and advocating sound public policy involves making meaningful choices--confronting forks in the road. While think tanks must take account of the outside parameters of the politically possible in order for their ideas and work to remain relevant, they should take the forks in the road that lead to espousing new and cutting edge ideas that will move public policy in a direction that will serve the overall public good.

Abraham Lincoln, certainly an idealistic thinker but also a practical politician, admonished: "If there ever could be a time for mere catch arguments, that time is surely not now. In times like the present, men should utter nothing they would not willingly be responsible for through time and in eternity." No, I am not necessarily equating the perils the country faces today with those we confronted during Lincoln's presidency. But these are surely perilous times too, times in which the country faces serious choices with serious consequences both abroad and at home. Not, in my opinion, a time for "mere catch arguments" by politicians, or, for that matter, those of us inhabiting think-tanks.

Finally, Henry David Thoreau, a philosopher at least the equal of Yogi Berra, if not more, declared: "The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run." As a believer generally in the value of cost-benefit analysis, I find that a pretty compelling thought to ponder as we move our lives into the New Year.

Best wishes for 2006!

posted by Randolph May @ 11:46 AM |

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