US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study

US Is an Oligarchy Not a Democracy, says Scientific Study April 17, 2014

Andy Schueler came across this little piece. Although I would be cautious over the definition of oligarchy (“meaning profoundly corrupt” rather than “a small group of people having control of a country or organization.”), this could make for interesting reading:

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.

The authors of this historically important study are Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, and their article is titled “Testing Theories of American Politics.” The authors clarify that the data available are probably under-representing the actual extent of control of the U.S. by the super-rich:

Economic Elite Domination theories do rather well in our analysis, even though our findings probably understate the political influence of elites. Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate for a large set of policy cases – is probably less consistent with the relevant preferences than are our measures of the views of ordinary citizens or the alignments of engaged interest groups. Yet we found substantial estimated effects even when using this imperfect measure. The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.

Nonetheless, this is the first-ever scientific study of the question of whether the U.S. is a democracy. “Until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions [that U.S. policymaking operates as a democracy, versus as an oligarchy, versus as some mixture of the two] against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.” That’s an enormous number of policy-issues studied.

What the authors are able to find, despite the deficiencies of the data, is important: the first-ever scientific analysis of whether the U.S. is a democracy, or is instead an oligarchy, or some combination of the two. The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s “news” media). The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious “electoral” “democratic” countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” That’s it, in a nutshell.

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  • Peter

    My Funk & Wagnalls, Websters and online dictionaries does define oligarchy as “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.” However that definition might change in light of European and especially Russian oligarchs. In the states it’s no secret that the super-rich like Koch brothers do have undue influence in right-wing Republican politics. Thankfully, can’t say the same for Canada despite Stephen Harper, but that could change.

    • Hey Peter. think you may have misread my comment there. That is my definition. the one from the OP just mentions “meaning profoundly corrupt” rather than my later definition.

  • Peter

    My Funk & Wagnalls, Websters and online dictionaries does define oligarchy as “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.” However that definition might change in light of European and especially Russian oligarchs. In the states it’s no secret that the super-rich like Koch brothers do have undue influence in right-wing Republican politics. Thankfully, can’t say the same for Canada despite Stephen Harper, but that could change.

    • Hey Peter. think you may have misread my comment there. That is my definition. the one from the OP just mentions “meaning profoundly corrupt” rather than my later definition.

  • Peter

    My Funk & Wagnalls, Websters and online dictionaries does define oligarchy as “a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.” However that definition might change in light of European and especially Russian oligarchs. In the states it’s no secret that the super-rich like Koch brothers do have undue influence in right-wing Republican politics. Thankfully, can’t say the same for Canada despite Stephen Harper, but that could change.

    • Hey Peter. think you may have misread my comment there. That is my definition. the one from the OP just mentions “meaning profoundly corrupt” rather than my later definition.

  • Andy_Schueler

    I really wonder how the results of a similar analysis would look like for countries other than the USA. I have a hunch that the USA might be an exception when it comes to the influence of lobby organizations and rich donors – not that lobbying and money doesn´t play a role in other democracies but maybe not to the same degree as they apparently do in the USA.
    Also, for those that haven´t seen it already – George Carlin on the american dream:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

  • Andy_Schueler

    I really wonder how the results of a similar analysis would look like for countries other than the USA. I have a hunch that the USA might be an exception when it comes to the influence of lobby organizations and rich donors – not that lobbying and money doesn´t play a role in other democracies but maybe not to the same degree as they apparently do in the USA.
    Also, for those that haven´t seen it already – George Carlin on the american dream:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

  • Andy_Schueler

    I really wonder how the results of a similar analysis would look like for countries other than the USA. I have a hunch that the USA might be an exception when it comes to the influence of lobby organizations and rich donors – not that lobbying and money doesn´t play a role in other democracies but maybe not to the same degree as they apparently do in the USA.
    Also, for those that haven´t seen it already – George Carlin on the american dream:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

      • Andy_Schueler

        One thing I never really understood when it comes to this issue – why the hell are election campaigns so ridiculously expensive in the USA?
        Obama + Romney together spend over 4.5 billion € for their election campaigns. In contrast, the five biggest political parties here in Germany spent less than sixty million € for our last election – and that´s more than enough to spam TV spots + billboards all over the place etc.pp. (and this is one reason for why I suspect that the USA might be particularly bad when it comes to rich donors effectively buying politicians).
        What the hell are americans doing with all that money?

        • damned good points. It’s a sickening amount of money.

          • Andy_Schueler

            I get that the USA is a very big country, but Germany ain´t that small either – we have a population of 80 million, the US 310 million, so roughly a fourfold difference, yet the election campaign is almost a hundred times as expensive in the USA…
            The german CDU (Angela Merkel´s party) spent a little more than 20 million € on their 2012 election campaign, and that was sufficient to spam so many billboards that I saw Merkel´s face five times on my drive to work, while the Romney and Obama campaign had single donors who spent more money than that! (Example: Billionaire Sheldon Adelson donated roughly 24 million € for the Romney campaign).

  • Luke Breuer

    Nate Silver’s As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? is required reading.

  • Luke Breuer

    Nate Silver’s As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? is required reading.

  • Luke Breuer

    Nate Silver’s As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? is required reading.

  • Luke Breuer

    Jonathan, what do you think needs to be done to fix the situation? I’d say more people in government who have solid character. Would you agree, or propose something different?

    • Half the problem is, in comparison to the uk the blurring of politics and corporate life. In the uk, we have stricter laws and things are transparent-ish. In the States you seem to be able to have all of these policy -makers who are on the boards for different corporations causing a conflict of interest. The film Sicko springs to mind with that classic photo of all of the health policy makers and the money labelled to them that they were receiving from the health industry.

      • Luke Breuer

        Does the UK perhaps swap aristocracy for oligarchy? I don’t know much about politics in the UK, but I do recall a video you posted a while ago of some comedian being interviewed, and saying that the system just ain’t working.

    • http://youtu.be/VoBleMNAwUg?t=37m54s

      Watch from here on for 2 minutes or so.

      • Luke Breuer

        Can’t see it in the US. :-(

    • That bit with the labels above their heads is shocking. It’s all about lobbying. It should be rigorously outlawed.

      • Luke Breuer

        Nothing lobbying-ish happens in the UK? My experience is that you can outlaw specific behaviors, but not the spirit behind them. People will game any system that is enforced on them. Letter of the law cannot promote spirit of the law, except perhaps a tiny bit.

        • it happens but on a way way smaller scale.

          • Luke Breuer

            Have you heard of Continuum? It’s a neat TV show airing these days and extremely relevant to this discussion.

    • Phasespace

      I know you asked Jonathan this, but I’ll just throw out a few things that I’ve been thinking about:

      1. We need to disempower the political parties. Note: I’m not saying they need to be dismantled, I’m saying that they wield too much power for entities that aren’t even officially recognized as arms of the government. In spite of this, they have managed to pass laws that grant them a strangle hold on the electoral process. That needs to end.

      2. We need more oversight and control over political donations and/or the campaign process. Unfortunately, with the combination of the Citizen’s United case and now the McCutcheon case, it’s now probably going to take a constitutional amendment that explicitly states that money is not equivalent to free speech in political contexts.

      3. We need to do something about political reporting in general. It’s become way too incestuous, with a too frequent focus on strategic wonkery than on actual policy analysis. I’d say a reinstitution of the fairness doctrine in some form would be a start, but that’s only a part of the problem, and I don’t think that alone would solve our current problem.

      I’d like to believe that all we need to do is just ensure we elect people of solid character and intelligence, but I don’t think that will be enough. Just getting elected under the current circumstances requires one to kowtow to money’d interests to such a degree that, by the time you’re elected, you’re already corrupted and unduly influenced by the factions that helped get you into office.

      • Luke Breuer

        1. I agree. But wielding power non-destructively requires character. How many people have that, these days? Without character, people will give their power to demagogues and the like. At least, so goes my thinking right now. This means more people need to become able to wield power. If you haven’t read Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?, I suggest it. It’s about how Harvard education has changed over the years, written by a Harvard Dean who was a faculty member for 30 years.

        2. More transparency is definitely important. Citizens should know where every dollar is going, except for restricted national security reasons. Let more citizens know how money is spent and they might just find inefficiencies themselves, instead of needing expensive government studies that don’t necessarily produce any benefit. Hell, more transparency in medical billing would be a start! I want a receipt for my medical procedures, just like I get when I go to the grocery store. (I’ve worked on hospital billing analysis in the US, so I know a few things, here.)

        3. Hahaha, “incestuous”, I like it. But for this to change, don’t we need more people to competently care about where our country is headed?

        I’d like to believe that all we need to do is just ensure we elect people of solid character and intelligence, but I don’t think that will be enough. Just getting elected under the current circumstances requires one to kowtow to money’d interests to such a degree that, by the time you’re elected, you’re already corrupted and unduly influenced by the factions that helped get you into office.

        I disagree with your “just”, in the sense that I did not mean to imply it. Indeed, there are incredible selection forces at play in who even wants to become a politician. I believe we should do the required things to get ourselves into a position where people of solid character and intelligence are elected. This has a lot of prerequisites.

        • Phasespace

          But wielding power non-destructively requires character. How many people have that, these days?

          Oh, I agree with you about the character requirement. As for how many people actually have that character? I don’t know, it might be more than you think. My gut feeling is that there are a lot of people in public office (not necessarily at the federal level) whom I vehemently disagree with, but whose heart is likely in the right place. And if they would stop demonizing anyone that doesn’t fall lockstep into their ideology, some productive conversations could be had. At least superficially, I have to agree with you, too many people seem willing to allow demagogues to do their thinking for them. They’d rather self identify with a tribe first and think about the implications of that association later, if ever.

          Let more citizens know how money is spent and they might just find inefficiencies themselves, instead of needing expensive government studies that don’t necessarily produce any benefit.

          I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, but I think you need to clarify what you mean by “expensive government studies that don’t produce any benefit.” I’m not saying that such things don’t happen, but I do think there are circumstances where we really need expert input to provide some guidelines on public policy based on the best data available, and that’s not something that the general public, myself included, nor the politicians we elect are going to be qualified to adjudicate in all circumstances.

          But for this to change, don’t we need more people to competently care about where our country is headed?

          Good question. I would answer it with another question: Is it the case that our citizens are incompetent and/or don’t care? Or is it the case that our oligarchs, in collusion with our politicians have so thoroughly propagandized the media with misinformation and distractions that it is difficult to be competent? I’m not sure which it is, but that just cuts to the core of my original notion, that this is a very complex problem without very obvious solutions (at least the solution(s) don’t seem obvious to me).

          I disagree with your “just”, in the sense that I did not mean to imply it…

          Fair enough, I think we’re pretty much on the same page about that.

          • Luke Breuer

            My gut feeling is that there are a lot of people in public office (not necessarily at the federal level) whom I vehemently disagree with, but whose heart is likely in the right place.

            Is this “gut feeling” justified, though? I do not disparage intuition—I believe it to be more basic than rationality—but the only way to test intuition (that I know of) is to attempt to justify it. I don’t know what “heart is likely in the right place” means, if whatever is in the heart and mind isn’t sufficient to motivate good action. Much drunk driving is not due to evil intention, but simply a lack of sufficiently strong good intention. The most powerful force of evil may well be the threat of discomfort.

            I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, but I think you need to clarify what you mean by “expensive government studies that don’t produce any benefit.”

            I do not mean to disparage any and all government studies. I mean something more than what we currently call “the free press”. Something which allows the ordinary citizen to gain deep insight into how the government is functioning, which includes how it is spending tax dollars, in detail. Imagine being able to see an overlay, on Google Maps, of $/£ spent per square foot of pavement. Take into account traffic wear, relevant climate data, local cost of living, cost of transporting materials, etc., and you can see whether too much or too little money is being spent on road maintenance. Living in San Francisco, I’d just love to get some insight into why the city roads are so terrible, when surely many tax dollars are flowing in.

            Fun fact: the Obamacare website was originally designed to show healthcare plan costs without logging in with your personal data. This would have meant that people would have seen the various subsidies. Instead, a choice was made to require all people to log in; this was one of the reasons the system failed so catastrophically. This also hid the subsidies. Having worked in hospital billing analysis, I have seen what happens when people do not have transparent access to where their dollars are going. Prices become out-of-line with costs and inefficiencies creep in like crazy.

            Another fun fact: my father took part in designing a bus system near the DC area when he was young. It would have reduced traffic congestion. It was shot down for political reasons. Imagine what would have happened if the reasons for shooting it down had been publicly available, as well as the simulations for how traffic conditions would have been changed. As it was, the choices were made in a way which was secreted away from the common man. When politicians have insufficient character, the result of lacking transparency worsens without limit.

            Good question. I would answer it with another question: Is it the case that our citizens are incompetent and/or don’t care? Or is it the case that our oligarchs, in collusion with our politicians have so thoroughly propagandized the media with misinformation and distractions that it is difficult to be competent?

            I’m not willing to abdicate responsibility to oligarchs and politicians. A study of Nazification would probably be helpful, as propaganda was used masterfully. If the common man has 1% responsibility and the oligarch 99% responsibility, the common man is still responsible for abdicating 0.1% responsibility such that the split becomes 0.9%/99.1%. I am extremely reticent to pass the buck.

    • Void Walker

      Luke, I’ve oft picked a topic we should discuss. I want you to do the same– pick a topic, any topic, and we will go from there.

      • Luke Breuer

        Have you thoughts on narrative psychology and narrative identity? I’ve pointed you to the 1988 Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, including the Google books preview, in which you can read the preface. I’ve also linked to The Literary Mind: the Origins of Thought and Language.

        Some, like Sartre and Goffman, have claimed that all stories are false. Perhaps one consequence of this is the suicide of Afred Seidel, described in “Concsciousness as Doom”, in this Google Books preview. If all stories are false (in a way that F = ma is not false), what is it that connects life and makes it worth living? We have blog posts like Meaning is an Illusion, which is a kind of basic, naive derivation of Absurdism. We have books like Healing Fiction, which agree with Sartre. On the other hand, we have essays like CS Lewis’ “Myth Became Fact”, discussed over here.

        Have you thoughts on (a) the tendency of the human mind to dwell on and in story; (b) whether stories can be true?

        • Void Walker

          As for (a), you must define “story” in this context. Stories, by typical definition, are a recent concept; linguistically motivated, clearly (can’t have a story without language). Prior to our ability to speak, they did not exist (that’s kind of a no brainer). Honestly, without language I’m pretty confident that we would not even be here. We think using language, not just our imaginations (which are, in many ways, determined BY our languages). Again, I need you to define story for me. Not sure how you’re meaning to use it.

          As for (b), I’ll await your definition of story.

          • Luke Breuer

            I’m really confused by your response; you cannot come up with a concept of ‘story’ and ‘narrative’ (not sure how they differ, but perhaps they do) which makes sense given what I’ve written so far? Let’s try three quotations from The Literary Mind: the Origins of Thought and Language:

            Story is a basic principle of mind. Most of our experience, our knowledge, and kurt thinking is organized as stories. The mental scope of story is magnified by projection—one story helps us make sense of another. The projection of one story onto another is parable, a basic cognitive principle that shows up everywhere, from simple actions like telling time to complex literary creations like Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. (v)

            Narrative imagining—story—is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining. It is a literary capacity indispensable to human cognition generally. This is the first way in which the mind is essentially literary. (4-5)

            To study mind, we must become comfortable with the fact that mind generally does not work the way it appears to. This sounds paradoxical. We expect our introspective sense of mind to serve as a reasonable guide to the actual nature of mind. But it is instead badly deceptive. Our loose picture of mind is a loose fantasy. Consciousness is a wonderful instrument for helping us to focus, to make certain kinds of decisions, and create certain kinds of memories, but it is a liar about mind. It shamelessly represents itself as a comprehensive and all-governing, when in fact the real work is often done elsewhere, in ways too fast and too smart and too effective for slow, stupid, unreliable consciousness to do more than glimpse, dream of, and envy. (6)

            If this isn’t enough for you, I’m not sure how well I can give you a ground-up, analytic definition of ‘story’. The author of The Literary Mind attempts to do this, but it is a long, drawn-out process that even I find difficult to fully follow in all its technical details. I suppose that I have an intuitive conception of it which works pretty well, such that my entire previous comment coheres. Do you not?

            As the above indicates, your claim about stories requiring language is not at all obviously true. Or do you have a model of cognition which functions without story, which well-describes the obvious cognition going on in the world, by organisms which we recognize as communicating with each other with something language-like, as well as organisms that do not communicate with something we recognize as ‘language’? Alternatively, perhaps you ought to provide a rigorous definition of ‘language’—a very difficult task, it turns out! A friend of mine just got his PhD in Philosophy; his dissertation was Language and the Structure of Berkeley’s World.

          • Void Walker

            “you cannot come up with a concept of ‘story’ and ‘narrative’ ”

            Umm….no. I asked you to define it, in the context used. If you’d wanted a definition from me, you needed only to ask for one.

            “As the above indicates, your claim about stories requiring language is not at all obviously true”

            You’re kidding, right? How can you even have narrative without language?

          • Luke Breuer

            Umm….no. I asked you to define it, in the context used. If you’d wanted a definition from me, you needed only to ask for one.

            I’d really like to see your definition, because I’m having a hard time imagining what a good definition would be. More precisely, you seem to be imagining that maybe there is a definition of ‘story’ which doesn’t fit well with my original comment, and a definition which does. Is this an incorrect inference? Perhaps you giving your definition would help a lot, here.

            You’re kidding, right? How can you even have narrative without language?

            How can you have language without narrative? You did read the excerpts I quoted, right? You seem to have ignored them. :-( I have taken pictures of a few pages in the last chapter of The Literary Mind: the Origins of Thought and Language; care to comment on them?

          • Void Walker

            A story, in the broadest sense, is a recalling of events in a particular sequence; true or otherwise, perhaps the events in question were embellished or entirely fabricated. In relation, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative

            Now, you’ll note that both narrative and story are entirely contingent upon language. In fact, your arguments that story is not dependent upon language require language to even exist! Try telling a story without language, try arguing for a non linguistic story not using language. Consider that a thought experiment.

            “How can you have language without narrative? You did read the excerpts I quoted, right? You seem to have ignored them.”

            Dude, that’s the point! A case cannot even be made *without* language!

          • Luke Breuer

            Yeah I’m not interested in randomly having a discussion like this. I present a book which has scientific support in favor of an idea, and you won’t even take it seriously. Void, I honestly don’t know what your purpose is in having such conversations with me. I put a bunch of effort into them, citing sources extensively and typing up quotations or taking pictures of the text, and you just don’t seem to respect that effort. I don’t want to put all of the effort into our conversations; I don’t learn very much at all when they go that way. Don’t you want to learn? Don’t you want to read books or articles and figure new things out? Where are you doing this? You give very little evidence of it. :-(

          • Void Walker

            Good lord man, can you not see the points I’ve made? Story and narrative are human concepts that did not exist until we birthed them using language. It just seems odd to me that you’re asserting otherwise.

          • Luke Breuer

            Why do you believe that?

          • Void Walker

            Give me one solid example of a story (and try not to use language to do so) that existed, in any form, before the advent of language. Kinda hard to do, isn’t it?

            What you’re saying is akin to asserting that tools existed before we were able to construct/use them.

          • Luke Breuer

            I give up; I presented a book written by a cognitive scientist, Mark Turner, and your response is that you know better than he does. Flat earth for the win, because you cannot see the spherical aspects of it from your chair!

  • Luke Breuer

    Jonathan, what do you think needs to be done to fix the situation? I’d say more people in government who have solid character. Would you agree, or propose something different?

    • Phasespace

      I know you asked Jonathan this, but I’ll just throw out a few things that I’ve been thinking about:

      1. We need to disempower the political parties. Note: I’m not saying they need to be dismantled, I’m saying that they wield too much power for entities that aren’t even officially recognized as arms of the government. In spite of this, they have managed to pass laws that grant them a strangle hold on the electoral process. That needs to end.

      2. We need more oversight and control over political donations and/or the campaign process. Unfortunately, with the combination of the Citizen’s United case and now the McCutcheon case, it’s now probably going to take a constitutional amendment that explicitly states that money is not equivalent to free speech in political contexts.

      3. We need to do something about political reporting in general. It’s become way too incestuous, with a too frequent focus on strategic wonkery than on actual policy analysis. I’d say a reinstitution of the fairness doctrine in some form would be a start, but that’s only a part of the problem, and I don’t think that alone would solve our current problem.

      I’d like to believe that all we need to do is just ensure we elect people of solid character and intelligence, but I don’t think that will be enough. Just getting elected under the current circumstances requires one to kowtow to money’d interests to such a degree that, by the time you’re elected, you’re already corrupted and unduly influenced by the factions that helped get you into office.

    • Void Walker

      Luke, I’ve oft picked a topic we should discuss. I want you to do the same– pick a topic, any topic, and we will go from there.

  • Luke Breuer

    Jonathan, what do you think needs to be done to fix the situation? I’d say more people in government who have solid character. Would you agree, or propose something different?

    • Phasespace

      I know you asked Jonathan this, but I’ll just throw out a few things that I’ve been thinking about:

      1. We need to disempower the political parties. Note: I’m not saying they need to be dismantled, I’m saying that they wield too much power for entities that aren’t even officially recognized as arms of the government. In spite of this, they have managed to pass laws that grant them a strangle hold on the electoral process. That needs to end.

      2. We need more oversight and control over political donations and/or the campaign process. Unfortunately, with the combination of the Citizen’s United case and now the McCutcheon case, it’s now probably going to take a constitutional amendment that explicitly states that money is not equivalent to free speech in political contexts.

      3. We need to do something about political reporting in general. It’s become way too incestuous, with a too frequent focus on strategic wonkery than on actual policy analysis. I’d say a reinstitution of the fairness doctrine in some form would be a start, but that’s only a part of the problem, and I don’t think that alone would solve our current problem.

      I’d like to believe that all we need to do is just ensure we elect people of solid character and intelligence, but I don’t think that will be enough. Just getting elected under the current circumstances requires one to kowtow to money’d interests to such a degree that, by the time you’re elected, you’re already corrupted and unduly influenced by the factions that helped get you into office.

    • Void Walker

      Luke, I’ve oft picked a topic we should discuss. I want you to do the same– pick a topic, any topic, and we will go from there.