There’s a lot wrong with modern public policy and how it’s made. But one of the most critical deficiencies in the policy-making process of the 21st century is the failure to measure policy priorities against a clear and noble vision.
A vision is a conception of what might be. It is vital to sound public policy because it illustrates the end purpose at which public policy is aimed. It burns away the fog that often hovers over public policy debate. By clarifying purpose, it provides a basis for discussion and a standard against which to weigh ideas and make decisions. When contrast with actual circumstances, it helps reveal problems and deficiencies.
By encouraging people to look beyond themselves and their immediate circumstances, vision helps ennoble and unify a people and a nation. It offers hope and inspiration, and in so doing it encourages sacrifice, protecting against the temptations of immediate desires. It solidifies purpose, and thereby calls up moral strength during long, hard seasons of despair. It protects individuals and nations from being satisfied with less than the best. Vision helps ensure that policies drive us closer to being the kind of people we want to be.