This site is designed as a model or demo from which think tanks and similar organizations might draw ideas to create a special section on their own websites structured along similar lines for purposes outlined herein.
As envisioned, this special section would have three roles:
1) It would serve as a shortcut introduction to key elements of the main site:
It would include some of the most important and pertinent articles, op-eds, and position papers from the main site arranged by category and linked to other similar ones on the main site.
It would include, with a brief description, some of the most important books on the main site arranged by category, all linked to other books in that category on the main site.
2) It would outline the most serious critical threats currently facing the country and the articles would be arranged by threat category to further explain them and how to address them.
3) It would serve as a tool for civic education because it would address the most important issues in a simplified format and present an overall view of the big picture.
A core purpose of the special section would be to promote the idea that fundamental principles and characteristics are common to good governments and good societies, that the worst countries violate many or all of those principles, and that the defining characteristics of the best and worst kinds of government produce radically different effects on their citizens’ lives.
The special section should provide an introduction to the wealth of excellent material that is available for a balanced understanding of political philosophy and of how good and bad types of government develop and are structured.
The special section should outline major threats and pitfalls that most successful democracies face, and describe the defining characteristics of good and bad governments and societies. A reasonably widespread understanding of the right governing principles is essential for a successful democracy.
The character and quality of a democracy’s educational institutions are critical, particularly in the subjects related to civic education – history, government, political philosophy, economics, law, foreign and defense policy, sociology, etc. The new type civic education now being so widely promoted is very dangerous for a democratic republic. Educational initiatives that weaken respect for America’s founding ideals and divide our citizens into contending groups weaken our country and fray the social contract. They are accompanied by enlarging the scope of government’s control over individuals through expanded government benefits (leading to increased dependence on government), and through increased regulation – all of which will weaken the institutions of civil society and reduce individual freedom and self-reliance.
Should an institution decide to include a section on its own website taking ideas from this demo site, the format might be quite different from what is shown here, but ideally, the general concepts would be retained. If used, the principles of good government, characteristics of government, democracy and commentary sections should be rewritten by that institution’s scholars. The expectation is that, for conservative think tanks, there would be rough agreement on, and similar descriptions of, the basic principles, and that those principles would align with the founding principles of this country.
The articles and book summaries on the site are selected to illustrate, explain and expand on the core principles.
As an example of how the articles section would work, assume several think tanks adopted the concept. Each would favor articles by its own scholars but would also include particularly illuminating articles from other sources on key subjects. Articles would be dropped as they become dated and replaced with more timely ones. Some articles are so timeless that they would remain on the site indefinitely.
The articles now on the site were selected to illustrate that only the most important articles on the most important subjects would be included and they would all be ordered by classification and sub-classification. This would allow an argument to be seen from several different perspectives. Articles might appear under more than one classification where appropriate.
These articles would all be linked to related articles on the institution’s main site so users could drill down for more comprehensive information.
The book review section would feature books by that institution’s scholars but could also include other important books.
Wall Street Journal
Should the Wall Street Journal use ideas from this demo for a website featuring articles from its opinion pages, it could create an extraordinarily valuable educational resource. Robert Bartley is said to have estimated it took around 60 editorials to effect a change in policy. A properly structured Journal website featuring particularly pertinent articles, primarily from its opinion pages, but not limited to those, would multiply the effectiveness of editorials intended to influence specific government policies and practices.
The site could be structured like the articles section of this demo using similar category descriptions but broken down into more subcategories. Seeing a number of articles together that approach a subject from different perspectives could give a better idea of its relative importance.
Ideally, the articles to be included should all be educational and on important subjects to create a well-focused website in the national interest.
The book review section might include only books addressing issues important to the successful operation of government and society, including politics, economics, fiscal policy, monetary policy, regulatory policy, foreign and defense policy, social policy, education policy, etc.