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The Role of PSO

 
Policy making and scholarship should go together, but much of the time they don't. Decisions are made without any knowledge of the background. A classic case is the war in Vietnam, which American leadership became entangled in partly for lack of knowledge about Vietnamese nationalism. An aim of the Policy Studies Organization is to close the gap between academia and decision making, and that is a never finished task.
 
Good ideas and good policy can go hand in hand. Our meetings bring together teachers and activists, professors and politicians.  Our journals reach both legislators and researchers. We are determinedly nonpartisan. Some of us  have to make rapid decisions and depend on well thought out literature. Others of us spend years on a topic, building on decades of past PSO work. Unlike many think tanks, we do not have any axe to grind, unless it is one of accuracy and thoroughness.
 
We have made a difference. Not long ago a study we published of the opinion pages of the Washington Post and New York Times was noted and the subject of articles in both papers, and led to a reconsideration of who participates.  Very long ago our oldest journal, World Affairs, was a major force in the abolishing of slavery. Our interest in online education has contributed to the acceptance of online instruction as an important part of education.
 
President of the Policy Studies Organization, Dr. Paul J. Rich on the Role of the PSO, Academia, and the InfraGard as presented at the 2012 Infragard Session as part of the Dupont Summit, at the Carnegie Insitute of Science. 

 

 
 
 
PSO and the Intellectual
In Europe, intellectuals play an important part in public discourse. They appear every day in the newspapers and electronic media. But in the United States, their position has been somewhat less secure.
 
To be sure we have had some outstanding figures like Walter Lippmann and William Buckley, and with blogs and twitter there are new ways for ideas to spread. On the other hand, newspapers in many cases have become thinner and newsmagazines shorter.
 
Whether things have gone to the dogs or are simply transitioning because of technology, the PSO does believe in the public intellectual and counts among its supporters a number of them. Our editorial board members and panels of peer reviewers are constantly popping up on talk shows and op eds, and we like to think their activities to an extent draw on the PSO journals and books. We believe that they play a part in responsible discussion of the major issues of our day and that PSO is part of they way they participate.

 

 

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