Quote of the Day: Quantifying the Idiocy of the U.S. Congress

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

From Matt Steinglass, on the recent spate of proposals to defund funny-sounding research:

The most urgent research priority for American social science is the question of why so many congresspeople are boastful ignoramuses.

But would you use an instrumental variable approach or a natural experiment approach? What kind of scale would you use to measure boastful ignorance? Should you measure separately by gender? And what about other countries? Are their legislators boastful ignoramuses too? If not, what method do they use to keep them safely on talk radio, where they belong?

This is clearly a pretty complex project. Perhaps we should delegate it to the UN.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend