Most of the real policy wonks I know think about a lot of things in addition to government policy. That is certainly true of the three big supporters of this site, Dr. John Salter, John Harr and Art Elphick. Art is a prime example of wide ranging thought as you will see in the Essays section of this web site.
Recently we have been discussing a couple of very interesting topics about two aspects of any individual’s life. Those are first, the dangers individuals run into, frequently without ever realizing they are in danger, and second, preparing for a successful life. This site has previously been concerned with government policies based around a central theme of “the greatest good for the greatest number.”
We are now going to add two new areas, Dangers and Success. These areas will work just like the Policy database that you may already have seen on this website. The real difference is that these new areas will offer suggestions that will be of use to individuals in their own life, rather than as public policy.
Many of the dangers we face today result from rapid changes in society. Driving while using a cell phone and driving under the influence of alcohol are two well known dangers to others, but your likelihood of going to jail for these violations of the law is a danger to you.
I believe that a good education is a valuable element towards a good job in creating a successful life. But how do we define a successful life? There are elements of our work, relations with others, hobbies, and many other areas which may define a successful life. Benjamin Franklin was a pioneer in this kind of suggestion with Poor Richard’s Almanack, a yearly almanac he published from 1732 to 1758. Perhaps what we are going to work on here will be an update of his historical work.
The title of this blog is based on my own very strong belief that to have the best government for all the people we need to look at the reality of government, the people of that government and all other factors. In other words, “The Way It Is”. False beliefs, misinformation and lies have to be avoided.
We need to look at reality.
We have been working on this web site for about three months. Finally it is on line. While we expect to have much more on this site, we now have a real start. First let me thank Tim Holland for writing the code for the site, and Nicole Jasinski for her graphic and artistic contributions.
Thepolicywonk.org has grown out of many conversations over several decades with Art Elphick, John Harr and Dr. John Salter. Art has contributed the first essay, Dr. Salter and John Harr have made terrific suggestions. Many of our recent conversations have concerned the legislative stalemate in Congress, and if there is any way out of it.
The history of civilizations that survive demonstrates that they are flexible, can change and make progress. Stalemate in Congress handicaps our society’s progress. But progress means change and change is not something that everyone finds easy. Stalemate does slow progress and perhaps makes slow change more acceptable, so it is not all bad. However I believe technology can produce tools that will help us make faster decisions about the kind of government policy most favored by citizens. This site offers such a tool. This site has been created around a software decision program which allows for:
- Suggestions for new policy
- Votes for and against these suggestions
- Changes in those votes at a later date as people learn and change their minds.
So this is a continuing database about the way people think about specific proposed topics that will allow legislators and citizens to access the site and see what the people actually want.
What this site will become is still unknown. Perhaps it will be used as a poll would be used, or in other ways. Other elements of the site, such as essays and blogs will inform about various topics, and we hope will be a learning tool. We do intend it to be a real reference source and will do our best to make it useful.