Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Mission: A Defense of Reason

Hi. I'm JSK but you can call me Jeff. I'm half of the team here at The Thinking Heads - a dynamic, and perhaps volatile, combination of a left-leaning law student and a fairly conservative economist. Perhaps it is worth noting that, as may become evident, we don't agree on a whole host of things. For instance, I'm a registered Democrat from Connecticut who enjoys modern art, admires FDR and cheers for the Yankees. My learned colleague votes Republican, listens to Enya, hangs posters of Reagan in his room and roots for the Red Sox. Two more different people there could not be.

But some similarities abound, to wit: we're both former nationally ranked college debaters, we both talk entirely too much (that necessarily follows from the previous point) and, most importantly, both of us are tired of the mainstream media's superficial treatment of politics and political issues. It is this last common facet that catalyzed the blog-creation-process.

So what will you find here? I can best answer that inquiry by highlighting what you should not expect to see in our posts. You will not read about a candidate's extra-marital affairs. Nor should you expect to read posts regarding the efficacy or worthiness of certain political tactics. Because in the maelstrom of ad hominem attacks, red herrings and non sequiturs that comprise contemporary political dialogue, what is lost is most essential: policy.

Here, you will not find Bill O'Reilly's "talking points;" you will not find Keith Olbermann's "worst person in the world." This is not a place for talking heads, pundits, spinsters or party hacks. We at The Thinking Heads hope to inject some sanity and reason into current political debate. Our mission is to restore the democratic ideal of an informed citizenry - or at least take a small step forward in that direction - by engaging in extended dialogue and debate. Our motivation and efforts are informed by Thomas Jefferson who said: "Though the people may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand." Only by understanding the consequences and justifications of any given political policy can we hope to approve of that policy, rather than simply acquiesce to it. And only by exercising our right to free expression can we ever hope to understand the consequences and justifications of those policies.



Greetings from the other half of this endeavor. As written by my counterpart, we have become increasingly frustrated with the nature of political reporting, which is now more synonymous with sports broadcasting then news. Live media is more interested in following play-by-play campaign tactics and obsessing about gaffes and misspoken lines of politicians then it is about informing the public about the policies that candidates wish to implement.

So as my partner explains, the concept of this site was born. Though I believe that he and I do not disagree nearly as often as his introduction suggests, it is true that we generally see the universe via a differing world view. All too often individuals consume their news and analysis from sources that only reinforce their previously conceived notions. We strive to create a forum here in which fact and argument are presented from opposing sides in order to avoid this intellectual disservice. At the same time however, this is non-partisan and is not combative by requirement. Objection will not be made to an idea simply for the sole purpose of having to exist. Nor do we wish to promote the notion that is the false dichotomy of right vs. left on any given issue. So I too invite readers to this arena of intellectual curiosity and discussion to participate in the manner of discourse that our founding fathers envisioned. Hopefully we can have a small part in promoting this ideal; only time shall tell.