Sunday, April 26, 2009

Setting the Agenda

Citizens today, particularly the young, are told that their greatest civic responsibility is to vote. I think this is ridiculous — the most important responsibility is to educate oneself and then add one’s voice to the debate. One way to do this is to pick a topic of particular personal interest, learn about it, and then participate in the early legislative policy debates (which are normally open to public commentary). In this way, instead of simply casting a vote for the limited choices others have saddled you with, you get to shape the choices that millions or even hundreds of millions will vote on.

This article supports this approach:
A new study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management demonstrates that public commenters who participate during the early phases of regulatory policymaking play an important agenda setting role. Results suggest that these “public” participants—who are often interest groups—can help shape the content of regulatory proposals as they move through the regulatory process and may thwart unwanted regulations.
HT OActivists


Blogger Burgess Laughlin said...

> ". . . pick a topic of particular personal interest, learn about it, and then participate . . ."

One of the many points I have learned from Peter Schwartz (ARB, search) is that the concept "liberty," a universal, subsumes the right of action by all individuals pursuing their own particular personal interests.

One form personally involved activism is in-line activism -- taking action to disseminate ideas in the same field as one's central purpose in life. An example is a nuclear-power engineer advocating for total deregulation of the nuclear-power industry.

The passion of rational self-interest is a powerful motivator for self-education and action.

Selfish? You bet.

3:20 PM  

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