Welcome to Rational Policy!

My name is Mike Coté and I am the founder and writer of this blog. I’m an historian who is has a Master’s degree with a specialization in European History. Given this background, and my prior experience with finance and business, I see many issues through historical and economic lenses. Rational Policy focuses on using historical explanations and analogies to further understanding of the current day. History is not always relevant to modern events or policies (and I will absolutely point out when this is the case), but it can be used as a point of comparison and often informs our views. I write primarily about current-day politics, policies, and issues, as well as more specific historical analysis. Still, there is plenty of cultural discussion involved, including book and film reviews as well as travelogues, all focused on history.

My general must-haves in any post on this site are two-fold: 1) Posts must be based in fact and have real-world grounding based on published research, historical analysis, personal experience, or statistical backing; and 2) Posts must be of high-quality and are written for an audience that has an understanding of the issues at hand, and are not extreme or outrageous in tone or tenor. I am also a firm advocate of the freedom of speech here at Rational Policy and follow that belief in my publishing decisions; the right for one to freely speak his mind is central to who we are as Americans. I believe that the ‘battle of ideas’ should be fought through a lively debate in the tradition of scholars like John Stuart Mill, and, as the famed Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.” I will also not hesitate to admit when I have changed my mind, as openness to new information and ideas are qualities that are missing in much of our modern discourse.

One of the major reasons why this blog was started was to push back against what I see as the unfortunate move in mainstream and internet media towards the extremes in tone and content. Far too frequently I see left and right digging in their heels on issues that are largely lacking in substance when there are far more important issues facing the nation and world that require rational discussion, cogent debate, and even that hated bogeyman of the extremes, compromise. This blog will take a hard look at the crucial issues facing the United States and her people, as well as work to explain and shine light on critically important international policies, conflicts, and crises that far too often get short shrift in our rapid-fire cable news environment.

As an historian, I always try to take a longer-term view on the issues, as I find that short-term thinking tends to dominate nearly all aspects of American society today. History and its impact are a major focus of Rational Policy, and I work to involve my historical understanding and perspective into all of my posts. I push back on the politicization of history and the tweaking of historical fact to fit certain narratives. History is not set in stone, but not all interpretations of it are accurate; some can be downright misleading or mistaken. I strive to avoid this, as well as the plague of seeing all history through an eminently modern lens; neither of these approaches is edifying for the general public. Every so often, I also post some of my scholarly work in history for those who are interested, including papers and analyses I have completed. Thank you for visiting the site and I hope that you gain some new insights or perspectives from reading.

– Mike –

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