The Economist suggests that America’s public policy has deeper intellectual roots than one might imagine. A cursory glance at one of George W.’s fumbling speeches does not betray any hint of the notion that American policy is eggheadish. But on closer examination we can see that intellectualism indeed is the engine of public policy. As the economist notes:

“[I]t is America that is the land of the intellectuals and Europe that is the intellect-free zone.Look at the Iraq war, and you can see the influence of the dreaded neocons. Look at tax policy, and you can see the influence of the supply-siders.”

This is also true for foreign policy. In 1991 Jeffrey Sachs left his post at Harvard for a three-year stint helping Russia make the transition from Communism. This “government by brains” mentality is now spreading to Europe, where more and more think-tanks are opening each year. This is sure to provide lawmakers in Europe with more informed and more divergent opinions. Plato had it partially right– but in contemporary politics, it takes as many philosophers as you can get.

Daniel Corbett