Government and Science: Their Dynamic Relation in American Democracy

Government and Science: Their Dynamic Relation in American Democracy

Government and Science: Their Dynamic Relation in American Democracy

Government and Science: Their Dynamic Relation in American Democracy

Excerpt

The immediate reason I undertook to write this book was an invitation from New York University to deliver the 1953 James Stokes Lectures on Politics. The deeper reason was a notion that had been developing in my mind for several years (not a particularly original one) that the development of public policy and of the methods of its administration owed less in the long run to the processes of conflict among political parties and social or economic pressure groups than to the more objective processes of research and discussion among professional groups.

While working with the Public Administration Clearing House in Chicago, in association with the dozen or more organizations of public officials that have their headquarters at 1313 East Sixtieth Street, I was struck by the way in which a professional consensus, based on the findings of research of a scientific or semiscientific nature, often brought about the adoption of a new public policy and determined the method of its administration. This does not mean that I concluded that this process did not need to be under democratic control; on the contrary, it began to seem to me that it could operate only under democratic control, and that effective democratic control depended on an underpinning of this kind of professional and scientific activity.

My interest in the subject was intensified while serving in the United States Coast Guard, which now administers several . . .

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