- Editor's Note
In an era of gridlocked, money-driven politics and specialized, esoteric scholarship, it can be hard to see how rigorous inquiry into the character and conditions of a good society can create meaningful change. The purpose of this issue is to confront that difficulty directly and, in the process, provide both hypothetical and historical models for overcoming it. As guest editor Peter Levine explains, the challenge is to relate facts, values, and strategies in such a way that our understandings of what is, what ought to be, and what might be done to close the gap are not developed or analyzed in isolation, but emerge and evolve interdependently. In other words, what we know depends on what we value, what we value depends on what we know, and both simultaneously inform what we do and depend on what we learn from doing it.
I am grateful to Peter for conceiving this special issue and the symposium on Facts, Values, and Strategies in Civic Politics that produced it. He has been an inspiring, assiduous, and gracious co-creator—indeed, the ratio of his work to mine renders my own implied co-creator status suspect at best. I am also grateful to Dean Alan Solomont of Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life for sponsoring and hosting the symposium. Contributors, facilitators, and guests of the College were not only introduced to a refreshingly collegial and productive format but treated to the warmest hospitality. Finally, I thank my industrious, talented, and wise [End Page iii] managing editor, Rebecca Shamash, for all her work with Penn State University Press to bring this issue to print. The fact is, turning a research conference into a high-quality scholarly product is hard work. But I think readers will find the result valuable, and I am proud of everyone who found a way to make it possible. [End Page iv]