New leader for the AEI

Christopher Alleva
American Enterprise Institute (AEI),  the highly regarded Washington think tank has named Arthur Brooks as it's eleventh president. Brooks replaces Christopher DeMuth who wraps a more than two decade run in the job.

Here is a link to the press release announcing his appointment.

A short look at Dr. Brooks CV shows him to most assuredly qualified to lead this esteemed organization. With all due respect, his principal scholarship seems to me rather amorphic pop social science. Captured in his book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism"  Dr. Brooks endeavors to verbalize and analyze the compassionate conservativism abstraction. Evidently, he and his publisher managed to get the book a good deal of attention, including an invitation to the White House. This is great if you aspire to be to social science and economics like Dr. Phil is to psychology and Dan Brown to theology.    

Citing the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) and the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (SCCBS) Brooks concludes that conservatives are more generous than liberals. I have no idea if these surveys yielded sound data. Generally, using empirical analysis to measure social behaviour is not something from which you can make valid conclusions. On more than one occasion I've found scholarly authors' use studies like these in the same way reporters use polls to fit a pre-figured conclusion. 

I don't believe it's possible to use empirical methods to measure something like the correlation of personal political sentiments and charitable giving. Political self identifications are notoriously inaccurate. Vast numbers of respondents may perceive themselves one way that upon deeper reflection they may in fact be other. People are pardoxical. Using statistical methods like regression analysis cannot correct for data that is hopelessly corrupted.

That said, I have not studied the good doctor's work sufficiently to draw any valid conclusions. The one thing I can vouch for is his indisputeable horn playing talent and that's good enough for me.  President Bush rode the compassionate conservatism slogan to victory in 2000. The slogan was coined as a response to the false "mean conservatives" narrative the media used  to campaign against Republicans in 90s. Brooks' book were welcomed by Republican establishment types that are conservative to the extent they can use it to win the next election. While AEI has been around since the 40s, they have not always been the most effective conservative policy advocates. There failure to effectively advance the conservative agenda led to the founding of the Heritage Foundation. 

Paul Weyrich co-founder of the Heritage Foundation tells of courting Joe Coors to fund the start up, recounting a meeting in a conference room he had with I believe Ed Rollins. Coors asked how Heritage would be different than AEI (who was seeking money at the same time). The meeting took place around the time of the SST (super-sonic transport) debate in the late 70s. At the time AEI scrupulously adhered to IRS rules concerning legislative advocacy so the they held back a favorable report,  futily delivering it days after the vote to cancel the program. To dramatize his point, Rollins went over to a book shelf pulled a random book, blew the dust off it and scoffed that all AEI did was write reports that are promptly forgotten and end up filling book cases.  Coors signed on.

Fortunately, AEI does more than write reports to for decorative purposes. Dr. Brooks has large shoes to fill and we wish him well. 
American Enterprise Institute (AEI),  the highly regarded Washington think tank has named Arthur Brooks as it's eleventh president. Brooks replaces Christopher DeMuth who wraps a more than two decade run in the job.

Here is a link to the press release announcing his appointment.

A short look at Dr. Brooks CV shows him to most assuredly qualified to lead this esteemed organization. With all due respect, his principal scholarship seems to me rather amorphic pop social science. Captured in his book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism"  Dr. Brooks endeavors to verbalize and analyze the compassionate conservativism abstraction. Evidently, he and his publisher managed to get the book a good deal of attention, including an invitation to the White House. This is great if you aspire to be to social science and economics like Dr. Phil is to psychology and Dan Brown to theology.    

Citing the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) and the 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (SCCBS) Brooks concludes that conservatives are more generous than liberals. I have no idea if these surveys yielded sound data. Generally, using empirical analysis to measure social behaviour is not something from which you can make valid conclusions. On more than one occasion I've found scholarly authors' use studies like these in the same way reporters use polls to fit a pre-figured conclusion. 

I don't believe it's possible to use empirical methods to measure something like the correlation of personal political sentiments and charitable giving. Political self identifications are notoriously inaccurate. Vast numbers of respondents may perceive themselves one way that upon deeper reflection they may in fact be other. People are pardoxical. Using statistical methods like regression analysis cannot correct for data that is hopelessly corrupted.

That said, I have not studied the good doctor's work sufficiently to draw any valid conclusions. The one thing I can vouch for is his indisputeable horn playing talent and that's good enough for me.  President Bush rode the compassionate conservatism slogan to victory in 2000. The slogan was coined as a response to the false "mean conservatives" narrative the media used  to campaign against Republicans in 90s. Brooks' book were welcomed by Republican establishment types that are conservative to the extent they can use it to win the next election. While AEI has been around since the 40s, they have not always been the most effective conservative policy advocates. There failure to effectively advance the conservative agenda led to the founding of the Heritage Foundation. 

Paul Weyrich co-founder of the Heritage Foundation tells of courting Joe Coors to fund the start up, recounting a meeting in a conference room he had with I believe Ed Rollins. Coors asked how Heritage would be different than AEI (who was seeking money at the same time). The meeting took place around the time of the SST (super-sonic transport) debate in the late 70s. At the time AEI scrupulously adhered to IRS rules concerning legislative advocacy so the they held back a favorable report,  futily delivering it days after the vote to cancel the program. To dramatize his point, Rollins went over to a book shelf pulled a random book, blew the dust off it and scoffed that all AEI did was write reports that are promptly forgotten and end up filling book cases.  Coors signed on.

Fortunately, AEI does more than write reports to for decorative purposes. Dr. Brooks has large shoes to fill and we wish him well.