Notable & Quotable: Think Tanks

Notable & Quotable from Friday’s WSJ, from remarks by Christopher DeMuth, former president of the American Enterprise Institute (1986-2008), on accepting the Bradley Prize, April 6:

Think tanks have risen to prominence and influence at a time when two much older institutions—the ones they are closest to—have been in decline. Universities and colleges have succumbed to demands to embrace orthodoxy and suppress open inquiry and dissent. Government and politics have succumbed to demands to regiment every aspect of society and commerce and ameliorate every difficulty of private life. . . .

In universities, armies of diversity deans, teacher-sensitivity trainers, and student-contentment counsellors are displacing faculty—whose tenured positions are supposed to carry responsibility for upholding academic standards. In government, fleets of specialized agencies are displacing elected legislators—whose constitutional positions are supposed to carry responsibility for deliberation and collective choice.

Bureaucracies are useful and necessary, but not when they are pursuing their own agendas, free of direction from a recognized authority or establishment. They have gained autonomy in what Robert Nisbet called the twilight of authority.
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s