Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don’t be so quick to place politicians’ views of “national interests” above the mood of the public — The Monkey Cage

Don’t be so quick to place politicians’ views of “national interests” above the mood of the public — The Monkey Cage:
Political scientist Benjamin Page wrote a few years ago, there are systematic differences between the attitudes of the public and of U.S. foreign policy elites:
"Most gaps between citizens and officials appear to have more to do with differing values and interests than with differing levels of information and expertise. To the extent that this is true and that Americans’ collective policy preferences are coherent and reflective of the best available information, there would seem to be a strong argument, based on democratic theory, that policy makers should pay more heed to the public’s wishes."
Interesting, and it is supported by data. Still thinking when a society in which people pay far more attention to iPhones and MTV than foreign policy, why collective policy preferences would be better. Maybe distorted personal interest is more vicious than lack of knowledge?

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