Joining the Policy Dialogue with Defining Ideas

Thursday, October 22, 2009
John Raisian, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution.

The mission of the Hoover Institution is to promote the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom, private enterprise, and representative government. By collecting knowledge, generating ideas, and disseminating both, the Institution seeks to secure and safeguard peace, improve the human condition, and limit government intrusion into the lives of individuals.

With its distinct intellectual assets, including its exceptional scholars, momentous library and archives, and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution is a prominent contributor to the marketplace of ideas.

This new journal, Defining Ideas, is the result of our concerted efforts to be part of society’s continuing dialogue, conveying to the public, lawmakers, and others an in-depth understanding of important public policy issues. Crucial to this effort is a commitment to developing enduring solutions for the challenges that face our nation and our world—to advance ideas defining a free society.

Although Hoover has a broad and far-reaching program of communications, including the Hoover Press; the journals Policy Review, Hoover Digest, and Education Next; commentaries and opinion pieces; television, radio, and websites; and streaming video, Defining Ideas is a unique undertaking. Published quarterly and available online, it will be a platform on which to showcase the Institution’s scholarly working groups.

These academic teams, organized as “virtual faculties,” build on the strength of Hoover’s research program: recruiting scholars of exceptional ability, typically within the traditional disciplines of economics, history, law, and political science. Scholars from within Stanford as well as other universities and research organizations collaborate with Hoover fellows on jointly defined topics and projects.

Already six of the envisioned ten teams of scholars are convening and writing on specific, key policy issues. The ten teams can be categorized, according to their topics and fields of study, as follows:

Three working groups based on broad scholarly disciplines:

  • National and Global Economic Markets
  • Critical Junctures in American Government and Politics
  • The Role of History in Policy Formation

Three working groups based on specific policy arenas:

  • K–12 Education
  • Health Care Policy
  • Energy Policy

Two working groups based on culture, ideology, and national security:

  • National Security and Law
  • Islamism and the International Order

Two working groups broadly based on our founding principles:

  • Property Rights, Freedom, and Prosperity
  • Virtues of a Free Society

Throughout history, ideas have led to consequences, both beneficial and detrimental to the human condition. The Hoover Institution’s working groups have been convened to promote ideas that advance freedom, peace, and prosperity for consideration by the American public. Defining Ideas is intended to illuminate the work of these groups.

John Raisian
Tad and Dianne Taube Director
Hoover Institution