Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls, Where words come out from the depth of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection, Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit, Where the mind is led forward through ever-widening thought and action into that heaven of freedom, Let my country awake. (Rabindranath Tagore)
All of us who attended or are interested in the IDS40 conference are exploring the ‘country’ that Rabindranath Tagore describes in his poem, and we know how difficult and demanding that journey can
This is especially true today, though here I can be accused of being overly influenced by the context in which I live and work – the USA – where facts, objectivity, proof, accumulated wisdom, public
debate, accountability, the careful calculation of risks and benefits, and the other pillars of effective policymaking we have been gradually piecing together since the Age of the Enlightenment are
increasingly up for grabs.
Let decisions be driven by ideology, faith, speculation, greed, graft and revenge. Let truths be revealed rather than negotiated. In modern politics, or at least in this form of modern politics, facts are for losers.