What became incredibly evident to a lot of people after Donald Trump's election was the fact that expertise, from academia to journalism, is not trusted by a significant portion of the public. However, we have to recognize that this is not a new phenomenon. Anti-intellectualism is a snake oil that the forces of conservatism have peddled for decades. The election of an orange oaf into the Oval Office is a culmination of that long campaign to ultimately convince people to vote against their own rational self-interest.
However, turning the tide against this is no easy feat. It's become obvious that simply presenting good data and clear findings is insufficient at convincing the public (if it were, supply-side economics would have gone the way of flat-earth theory years ago). Not only are well-researched journal articles on policy remarkably inaccessible to most people (if you have trouble sleeping, just read a policy research paper in bed; works every time), but most people intake news and information via filters that reinforce the beliefs they already hold.
The crucial challenge is presenting information to people in a way that is clear, accessible, and most importantly, honest. But in confronting this challenge, all is not lost. Since the election, major news publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post have seen substantial increases in subscriptions. There is an appetite among a lot of people for quality information that is presented with integrity.
We believe we can contribute to that discourse in a productive way. It starts, as I mentioned previously, with being honest. One problem, we argue, is the obsession that exists over "objectivity." Raise your hand if you sincerely believe that Fox News is "Fair and Balanced." I thought not. Data and information is never truly objective. This is not to say that there aren't objective facts or truths. However, even the same statistic can serve wildly different agendas based on the way they are presented.
Instead, we the Radical Bureaucrats confront this reality head on by being upfront and honest about our biases. We're open about the agenda that we're trying to advance: we believe in enacting policies that serve the interest of the many, the underprivileged, and the most vulnerable. If you fundamentally disagree with that, then there's probably nothing we can say to you that would be convincing anyway.
But if that notion isn't completely antithetical to your worldview, then we have the basis for a conversation. And hopefully, by presenting well-researched, sound data that we have access to as policy wonks in a way that is clear, accessible and not condescending, we just might be able to convince people that striving for a more progressive society is better for all of us.