On the Death of a Public Policy Giant

Guest post by Mark A.R. Kleiman, public policy professor at UCLA. Professor Kleinman regularly blogs at The Reality Based Community

Jim Wilson, who died at a very young and vigorous 80 this March, left a huge imprint on American social science and public policy. He was also my friend, over a fairly yawning political divide. So I was delighted as well as honored when Zócalo Public Square asked me to moderate a panel discussion about his legacy.

The panelists were Angela Hawken of Pepperdine, Mark Peterson of UCLA, and Chief Charlie Beck of the LA Police Department. All of us admired him and learned from Jim, and all of us had critical things to say about some aspects of his thought, or the thought attributed to him. Charlie Beck's exposition of the difference between community policing based on the "broken windows" idea (often useful) and "zero tolerance" policing (always disastrous) is especially valuable, but Angela Hawken offers a wonder appreciation of Jim as a teacher and as someone willing to change his mind in the face of the facts, and Mark Peterson a clear explanation of how Jim, a conservative and a political scientist, differed from contemporary conservatism in politics and from the main conservative strain in political science: primarily in his belief in the positive role of government and the potential nobility of political action.

Full video (about 70 min.) here.

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

Just In