Amen to this. If we could at least have facts to agree on and then recognize and negotiate on goals, then pick policies that will meet those goals, would we all better. These days we can’t even agree on facts to know what the problem if any is. Global warming is an example.
From: Environmental and Urban Economics
Folks, you do not have to be Jim Heckman to be able to tell apart a 7.7% decline from a quintuple increase. This is a pretty serious difference. Suppose you weigh 200 pounds. A 7.7% decline would mean that you now weigh roughly 185 pounds while a quintuple increase would say that you weigh 1000 pounds. Do you see the difference?
During this time period of left/right screaming, we need to agree on what the facts are. There is an objective reality that can be measured and described how it is evolving over time. But, we need more measurement and we need trusted institutions and researchers to spread the word about their findings. When people turn for information from sources who they know share common political goals, they know that they will solely hear “facts” that they want to hear. How do we expose everyone to “consensus” facts?
When I taught at the Fletcher School, one student suggested that everyone should be forced to listen to the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. I laughed at the time but I now think he might have been correct.
Would we make better public policy if we all agreed on what the facts are? If we disagree about the facts (such as whether climate change is taking place), what collective action decisions are tabled?