If you’re tired of watching the umpteeth rerun of Burl Ives narrating the obvious Communist parable about the red-nosed reindeer, then here are two new electronic distractions worth taking in.
First, our friends at Liberty Fund have done a terrific podcast with William Voegeli, author of The Pity Party. (And as I’ve been saying for weeks, you can’t have a good party without inviting the author of The Pity Party. By the way, those of you who have taken our advice and read the book should do Bill the favor of putting up a five-star review on Amazon.com. These reviews are actually quite important for sales, etc., and the left sometimes floods the Amazon reviews to suppress a book.) One thing Liberty Fund podcast impresario Richard Reinsch draws out in this conversation is how liberals resolutely refuse to do any serious evaluation of their policies, or avert their gaze when the evidence piles up (such as with Head Start) that their policies don’t work.
Which brings us to the latest “Conversations with Kristol,” featuring one of the smartest persons I’ve ever met—tech entrepreneur and author Jim Manzi. Manzi, author of Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial and Error for Business, Politics, and Society, makes his living as founder and chairman of Applied Predictive Technologies, which measures real-world impact of business marketing strategies. Jim has long been an advocate of policy evaluation in exactly the way Voegeli suggests, but understands government is not very good at this. One excerpt from his conversation with Bill Kristol shows you what I mean:
“I remember seeing these economists confidently saying…these will be the effects of this amount of stimulus spending. I thought: you can’t possibly know that. I just spent ten years figuring out how many Snickers bars ought to go on a shelf at the local convenience store. Predicting what effect that was going to have was really hard. I don’t believe you really know this.”
Here’s the entire interview, but you can find individual segments at the link above: