The Hoover Institution stands out with its assemblage of exceptional intellectual talent in matters of public policy within one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions, Stanford University.
Hoover prides itself on having the perspectives of both analytic scholarship and historical knowledge. The scholars at Hoover specialize in generating ideas defining a free society and in educating, as well as spreading those ideas widely to a broad and interested public, including government leaders, the media, and other members of the intelligentsia about public policies pertaining to peace and prosperity. Currently engaged in both high-quality and high-quantity research, Hoover scholars regularly participate in various ongoing public policy dialogues, including appearing on television and radio programs and testifying at government hearings, as well as producing an impressive body of books, op-eds and articles, research papers and essays, and web-based writings.
To fulfill the Institution’s objectives of contributing to the public debate and speaking to policies that will chart a course toward national prosperity and security, Hoover convenes the best available minds to analyze society’s most challenging problems so as to inform both the national leadership and the society at large. The strength of Hoover’s research programs lies in our fellows, who strive to address the “big picture,” offering ideas having broad, sweeping applications and internally consistent implications.
A number of prestigious awards and honors have been bestowed on Hoover fellows throughout the years, including such accolades as the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Humanities Medal, and the Bradley Prize. In addition, many Hoover fellows are involved in a number of honor societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Econometric Society, National Academy of Education, and National Academy of Sciences.
At the Hoover Institution exceptional ideas are applied to current issues, with novel applications that utilize the unique strengths of our fellows to make an impact on today’s policy discussions. As Thomas Jefferson said, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Thus, Hoover will continue to apply its thinking, based on long-standing principles, to adapt to changing societal circumstances.
Working Groups and Task Forces
During the years, Hoover fellows have focused their research and writing on a breadth of topics that includes individual freedom and the rule of law, American individualism and societal values, democratic capitalism and economic/political collectivism, as well as national priorities and international rivalries/global cooperation. The Institution also aggressively pursues policies that seek to enhance economic prosperity, fiscal integrity, educational excellence, and national security.
Embracing these themes, in recent years the Institution has developed a research methodology that synthesizes current thinking, offers new perspectives, and conveys the results to a broad constituency. The ten scholarly teams—working groups and task forces—were designed to focus on prevailing policy issues within the Institution’s research priorities and thus engage the national dialogue.
Leveraging the scholarly and administrative assets already in place at Hoover, these teams are organized as “virtual faculties,” consisting of Hoover fellows and scholars from Stanford University, as well as other leading universities and research organizations, all of whom work on jointly defined topics and projects.
The ten teams examine the economic, political, legal, and historical dimensions of a broad set of policy issues. Three teams are based on academic disciplines, mainly economics, politics and law, and history. Three teams specifically focus on health care, energy, and education. Two additional teams are concerned with radicalism in cultures different from our own, national security issues, and a new international order in the aftermath of 9/11. The remaining two teams focus on the foundations of our nation pertaining to property rights and the virtues of a free society in relation to our distinctly American way of life.
The teams are formed and engaged, with each having a role to play at a critical juncture in the American experience. The flow of books, essays, op-eds, blogs, testimony, media appearances, and other writings is at an all-time high. Since 2007, when many of these teams were launched, nearly forty books and essays have been published by group members, with another forty projects expected to be completed in the coming two years.
Terrorism and National Security
For decades, the themes of the Hoover Institution have revolved around the broad concerns of political, economic, and intellectual freedom. No sooner had communism and the cold war left the stage than they were replaced by the shocking events leading up to and following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Two concentrated areas of research have evolved during the past few years that focus on the modern international order of states. In thinking about international order, national security issues, in the face of terrorism and ideological strife, are paramount. Some fear that privacy is eroding under the guise of national security requirements that seek only to replace outdated conventions of the laws of war with the classical rule of civilian law. Hoover scholars continue to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on topics such as the ongoing security issues in the United States and abroad so as to further our understanding of the war of ideas with radical Islam and its links to terrorism. Numerous treatments have been written on such topics, including
Since the beginning of the financial crisis, Hoover fellows have been actively engaged in research and debate on the causes of and solutions to the problems. Their efforts, which focus on various aspects of the economic crisis, are disseminated in an array of mediums, including opinion editorials and articles, lectures, media appearances, governmental testimony, and short books. Books that have been published include Getting Off Track, The Road ahead for the Fed, and Ending Government Bailouts as We Know Them, which were led by the efforts of John B. Taylor. These three books examine the causes of the financial crisis and what prolonged and worsened it, the proposals for financial reform and exit strategies, and the dangers of continuing government bailouts as well as offering constructive alternatives. Thomas Sowell authored the book The Housing Boom and Bust that explores the economics and politics behind the boom and bust. And, to coincide with the first hundred days of the Obama administration, Terry L. Anderson and Richard Sousa, along with a team of expert contributors, produced Reacting to the Spending Spree that analyzes near- and long-term efforts by both the Obama and the Bush administrations to fix the current financial crisis by examining a range of issues affected by the proposed reforms.
At donor retreats, a tradition since 1992, Hoover fellows and other leading public policy analysts present their latest research to the Institution’s friends and supporters. Such retreats showcase Hoover’s many contributions toward generating public policy: the volunteer military, the intellectual framework of the Reagan presidency, the flat tax, the Taylor Rule, choice and accountability in education, and other ideas central to America’s political culture.
“Even in an era of much-ballyhooed change, the government cannot eliminate sadness. What it can do is transfer that sadness from those who made risky and unwise decisions to the taxpayers who had nothing to do with their decisions.”
— Thomas Sowell, the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy