Policy Paradox: the Art of Political Decision Making

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Selena Smith

Essay # 5

PA 400

Fall 2004

Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making


Selena E. Smirth

In life the best way to conduct business of any type is to do it transparently. That way everyone is clear as to exactly what you are doing and it makes it easier and a lot less difficult for someone to buy into your mission or plan. Typically, policy making is complicated and often times muddled, which makes for a very hard sell when trying to get one to buy into as stated, your mission, plan or vision. Often times, the method by which a policy gets passed is through making the language accurate to the point where it appears seamless; so as to gain support from the people. According to Deborah Stone, "the fields of political science, public administration, law, and policy analysis have shared a common mission of rescuing public policy from the irrationalities and indignities of politics, hoping to make policy instead with rational, analytical, and scientific methods." In Stone’s book the Policy Paradox: The Art of Policy Decision Making there are two specific aims that the author has set out to make. The first is, she denotes this as "the rationality project" and brings attention to the fact that it misses the points of politics. Instead of helping policy making, these organizations are actually missing the point and are pursuing an impossible goal. Another aspect she points out is that, “the very categories of thought underlying rational analysis are themselves a kind of paradox, defined in political struggle". . . paradoxes do not exist without politics (573). “The second aim is to derive a kind of political analysis that makes sense of policy paradoxes such as the ones depicted above.” The theory of rationality professes to offer a correct vantage point, from which we can judge the goodness of the real world. Policies should be made to attain the goals in life of equity, efficiency, security, and liberty. "Policy...
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