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Trust Test:

Andrew Sullivan, InstaPundit, and Ann Althouse link to this quiz that purports to measure where you stand on the liberal-conservative spectrum. I tend to agree with InstaPundit: "it was a pretty dumb test."

"Which do you trust more: The Pentagon or The U.S. Postal Service?," the test asks. Well, trust to do what? The USPS is generally pretty good at delivering the mail. Its success rate at its tasks (delivering each letter entrusted to it) is almost certainly higher than the Pentagon's success rate at its tasks (accomplishing every military objective that it's asked to accomplish). On the other hand, the degree of difficulty is a bit higher for the Pentagon's tasks, no?

Likewise, which do I trust more: trial lawyers or doctors? What does that mean? Which is more honest? I expect both are on balance roughly equally honest, just like most professional groups are on balance roughly equally honest. Which is better at accomplishing the tasks that are entrusted to it? Hard to tell. Which better serves the country? Also hard to tell, given how large a group trial lawyers are (if you interpret trial lawyers literally, they'd include defense-side lawyers as well as plaintiff-side lawyers, plus of course criminal lawyers on both sides); but that's pretty clearly not a matter of "trust."

Or how about Q 10: "Which would curb violent crime most? [A] Stricter controls on the sale of guns [B] Mandatory sentences for those who use guns in the commission of a crime [C] Both." What about "neither," if you think that mandatory sentences are a bad idea (because you believe in leaving judges with considerable discretion) but you also think gun control is a bad idea — or for that matter if you think that both A and B are just unlikely to have any real effect?

Similarly, consider Q 11: "In the long run, do you think we can reduce crime more by building more prisons or providing more financial assistance to rebuilding our inner cities? [A] Build prisons [B] Rebuild cities [C] Both." What answer should be given by a libertarian who thinks that neither "building more prisons" nor "providing more financial assitance to rebuilding our inner cities" will reduce crime?

Or consider Q 17: "The religious right is a threat to our political system [Agree / Disagree]" — what about people who strongly disagree with the religious right but see it as just a wrongheaded part of our political system, and not a threat to it?

I realize that all these tests, especially ones that try to collapse your views onto one dimension, are flawed; but this one strikes me as especially flawed.

anonVCfan:
eh... the questions paint with a broad brush, but I think the idea is that if you ask enough of them, you'll get an answer. Either that, or the idea is that quizzes will draw more visits to the website.

Also, I think your objections are overblown.

Qs 10 and 11 ask which policy you think is more likely to lead to a certain result, not which policy you find less objectionable.
The answer to your question regarding Q17 is that those people would answer "false."
1.5.2007 4:54pm
Guest44 (mail) (www):
rule number one of assessment tests - they mean nothing if you're smarter than the test writer
1.5.2007 4:56pm
zooba:
On the other hand, question 5 is very enjoyable.
1.5.2007 4:56pm
tefta2 (mail):
That's why most serious tests of this kind ask many hundreds of similar questions to try to get an accurate reading and even then if the test taker is savvy, the results can be skewed in whatever direction the testee wants. They're fun though.
1.5.2007 4:59pm
Tracy Johnson (www):
It may be a toss up between USPS and the Pentagon for success at urban assault!
1.5.2007 5:00pm
disputatio:
That's what you get for being a libertarian.
1.5.2007 5:03pm
Jeff Shultz (mail):
I got a 36... I think I blew my "perfect" 40 on the porn question.
1.5.2007 5:06pm
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
I used to trust the USPS to deliver the mail without letting anyone open it without a warrant, but then along came Bush's latest signing statement. Does that make me liberal or conservative, or just slightly more cynical?
1.5.2007 5:09pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
anonVCfan,

The answer to your question regarding Q17 is that those people would answer "false" ["disagree"].

Yes, of course they would. But if the question is meant to rate one's place on a conservative-to-liberal spectrum, it either adds to or subtracts from one's point total, and I honestly wonder which it is.

Got a 25, for what it's worth -- which isn't diddly, because on most questions I had to take the least bad of an array of bad choices.
1.5.2007 5:12pm
CrosbyBird:
This question is terribly worded:

21. As a society, we should spend more money trying to find a cure for AIDS than for cancer and heart disease because AIDS threatens younger people.

What if you think we should spend more money as a society to cure AIDS because it is capable of being transmitted to others?
1.5.2007 5:19pm
MikeTN (mail):
What is most remarkable about this quiz is that people are still taking it and talking about it 12 years after it was written, despite its obvious flaws.
1.5.2007 5:20pm
Attorney SF (mail):
Weirdly, everyone I know who has taken the test has scored exactly where I'd put them on a scale of 0-40, liberal-to-conservative. Despite obviously stupid questions -- e.g. trial lawyers v. doctors -- perhaps the test makers were/are on to something.
1.5.2007 5:28pm
A.S.:
EV's objections are all well and nice, but he didn't tell us what we wanted to know: his score!
1.5.2007 5:47pm
JorgXMcKie (mail):
How about if I prefer we spend less money to find a cure for AIDS because in the entire history of human behavior we've found 'cures' for precisely zero virus-caused diseases?

I suppose if you ask enough bad questions of enough people perhaps the scores will begin to seem like they have meaning.

However, I'd probably give a low score to any student in my research classes who presented such generally poorly worded questions.
1.5.2007 5:48pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I scored a 26, largely because I left a lot of the questions blank. I seem to recall Rush talking about this on his show 10 years ago (IIRC he got a 39 because he sided with the players over the owners during the MLB dispute).

Questions I didn't answer (which gave me a lower score)

2) (except for choosing the Joint Chiefs over the UN) I agree with Eugene that it depends on what you're trusting them to do. The post office delivers tens of millions of pieces of mail each day without incident and our military consistently defeats our nation's enemies. I have no more regard or contempt for members of Congress or the Executive Branch or the judiciary (now that would have gotten some different answers) as each has a job to do. The FBI and CIA probably do a very good job with little appreciation and it's only when they fail (which apparently isn't often) that we hear about it. And even though I think taxation is legalized theft, my one-time I had to go to the IRS for a problem with my taxes, I found (even though the wait was 45 minutes but I was able to get some work done so I didn't mind) that the people I dealt with were knowledgeable, helpful, very polite/professional, and were able to help me with my problem.

3) Didn't answer because they're all private actors acting in their own self-interest which
makes them neither inherently more or less trust-worthy.

8) I tend to see the United States more of a stew with a general overall flavor (common values) but people still have their own sub-cultures and traditions just like individual families do. I like the idea of everyone speaking and reading English and seeing themselves as being part of America (without the hyphens), but beyond that when it comes to matters of sub-cultural traditions, religious beliefs, speaking other languages, manners of dress, etc. within reason, I say whatever floats your boat.

9) I don't like either Jocelyn Elders or Pat Robertson and "both" wasn't an option

10) My preference would be "allow law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminals" or "shoot more bad guys" -- neither of which was an option

19) Didn't answer because there would come a point at which I would agree that outright false statements ought not to be protected under the First Amendment.

20) I was inclined to answer "Disagree" but if kids are involved, I have no problem prosecuting. It's only when we're no longer talking about "consenting adults" that I draw the line.
1.5.2007 5:55pm
Steve:
How much does someone get paid to come up with a test question that asks if Reagan or FDR was a better president?

As usual, what's noteworthy is just how centrist the "liberal" position ends up. A true leftist would be just as baffled by some of these questions as Prof. Volokh. "Why don't they ask me which industries should be nationalized?"
1.5.2007 6:13pm
John McCall (mail):
Sheesh, it's like most people can't read JavaScript.

You start out as fully liberal, and whenever you give the conservative response, it gives you a certain number of points. Therefore, not answering a question is equivalent to giving the liberal answer. All responses give you one point except the first, which gives you two. If a liberal would check a checkbox, its value is ignored, so even if you don't check it, it doesn't affect your score.

Conservatives:
1. distrust the government;
2. prefer the Pentagon, executive branch, FBI, CIA, and the Joint Chiefs;
3. prefer doctors, business executives, and team owners;
4. want higher taxes on None;
5. cutting farm subsidies, eliminating art subsidies, abolishing public broadcasting, cutting entitlement programs, reducing welfare spending, reducing foreign aid, keeping illegal immigrants out of the public eduction system, reducing environmental regulation, and cutting taxes;
6. favor term limits;
7. think Ronald Reagon was a better President than FDR;
8. see America as a melting pot;
9. consider Joycelyn Elders strictly more extreme than Pat Robertson;
10. favor mandatory sentences for using a gun to commit a crime;
11. think prisons are more effective than city-rebuilding at lowering crime;
12. favor reducing the deficit, even if it means cutting programs;
13. believe the federal government is too large;
14. believe American interests are more at stake in Korea than Haiti;
15. disagree with gay marriage;
16. believe the media to be dominated by liberals;
17. don't believe the religious right to be a threat to our political system;
18. oppose the use of funds for abortion;
19. oppose banning deceptive political commercials;
20. support banning graphic pornography;
21. disagree with spending more on AIDS for the given specific reason;
22. believe the breakdown of the traditional family to the most significant domestic crisis facing the United States;
23. oppose racial and sexual preferences in hiring; and
24. oppose any government action on environmental problems which entails new taxes or programs.

Doesn't that clarify things?
1.5.2007 6:35pm
A Berman (mail):
On the other hand, I found it useful not in an absolute sense, but in comparing my score with the people listed at the bottom. I scored 27. Interesting, since I voted for Clinton (15). Of course, I didn't realize what a radical Jocelyn Elders was back then.
1.5.2007 6:49pm
Quarterican (mail):
Attorney SF -

If the question looks too stupid for me to be able to give an honest answer, I'm faced with a choice: try and screw with the test, or just give the answer I know it wanted to pigeonhole me into in the first place. ("*I* know I'm a liberal, and the test clearly believes the proper response is X, so even though it's a stupid question and I disagree with both answers, I ought to answer X.")
1.5.2007 6:55pm
tefta2 (mail):
Jocelyn Elders is far more dangerous, not because of her views, nutso though they may be, but because she had the force of the U.S. government backing them. Pat Robertson is just a preacher who often makes nutso statements to get face time on TV. He's backed only by his flock.
1.5.2007 7:02pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
John McCall,

Doesn't that clarify things?

It does indeed. "Sheesh" is right.
1.5.2007 7:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Lincoln Madison,

Here's the Bush signing statement you referred to. Which part do you object to? The part about protecting human life from hazardous materials or the part about lawful foreign intelligence collection?

"The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."
1.5.2007 7:14pm
APB:
Once again, figures lie and liars figure...

This is a typical poll developed to confirm the authors' preconceptions through bogus comparisons and knee-jerk answers to highly complex questions (i.e. crime).

The quality of javascript appears to be 7th grade level, right along with the comparative questioning. Just more examples of US public education down the dumper...
1.5.2007 7:15pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
What if you trust Jocelyn Elders and Pat Robertson to say nutty things with greater frequency than you trust the postal service workers to go "postal" and take out their co-workers?
Liberal, conservative or "declined to state?"
1.5.2007 7:17pm
TLB (mail) (www):
I scored 18, yet I hate "liberals". Odd.
1.5.2007 7:20pm
Splunge (mail):
I realize that all these tests, especially ones that try to collapse your views onto one dimension, are flawed; but this one strikes me as especially flawed.

It's not flawed, Professor Volt, unless it fails to accurately "collapse your views onto one dimension." Did you find that your score put you into the correct political company? If so, then the test ain't flawed.

Maybe what you mean to say is that it's annoying to be pigeonholed. But being pigeonholed is what democratic politics is all about. We can't have one political party per citizen, so that every possible shade of opinion is precisely represented. We've got the resources to sustain a national debate between half a dozen political parties, at most. Any more and we'd spend so much time debating we'd never get anything done.

That means every one of us has to be politically pigeonholed pretty crudely. The process is bound to be unpleasant. But complaining about this brutal fact o' life in a democratic Republic seems a trifle disingenuous, or naive.
1.5.2007 7:24pm
DJ (mail):
Bob Dole is more conservative than Jack Kemp?
1.5.2007 7:27pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Are liberals know as supporters of the US Postal Service?
1.5.2007 7:38pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
People ask what my score was; there was no score, because there were too many questions that I felt I couldn't sensibly answer.
1.5.2007 7:39pm
QuintCarte (mail):

Here's the Bush signing statement you referred to. Which part do you object to? The part about protecting human life from hazardous materials or the part about lawful foreign intelligence collection?

"The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."


I'm neither the person you addressed, nor am I particularly anti-Bush, but I'll answer anyway. :-)

It's neither of the stated goals that are objectionable, its that no goals are binding. In simpler language, the signing statement says "I'll open your mail, if, in my unreviewed opinion, I want to". No checks and balances, warrants, or oversight. No guidelines for under what circumstances it can and can't be done.

Why have the law at all if the signing statement says "I'll follow this only when I feel like it"? What force does the law have then? What is it outlawing?

It's another example of President Bush saying "trust me, I'll only use this power for good purposes. Because of that, I accept no limits on what I can do, nor will I accept review, or even further disclosure that I'm doing it".

Now, I happen to think Bush is fairly trustworthy, but that is beside the point - the point is seperation of power. The whole structure of government is set up so that we DON'T have to "just trust" anyone in it.

As a general comment (since I haven't read the bill this was attached to), I think the laws should either be signed and followed, or they should be vetoed. Signing it with a note that says, "but I don't intend to abide by this" is bad policy.
1.5.2007 8:19pm
A.C.:
Out of curiosity, who on earth thinks US interests in HAITI, of all places, are more important that US interests in Korea? How far left does a person have to be to come to that conclusion?
1.5.2007 8:37pm
Guest12345:
As a general comment (since I haven't read the bill this was attached to), I think the laws should either be signed and followed, or they should be vetoed. Signing it with a note that says, "but I don't intend to abide by this" is bad policy.


What would be interesting is if people started sending personal signing statements into the White House, DOJ, local LEOs, and the media. Wonder how Gonzales would respond if he started getting letters from Oregonians to the effect of: "According to the US constitution the doesn't give the Federal Government the right to regulate use of items such as marijuana, and indeed amendments specifically state that anything not enumerated is reserved by the People or the States. As such, regardless of federal legislation and legal precedent I will be lighting up regularily. Have a nice day."
1.5.2007 8:46pm
Guest12345:
Gosh. Am I dumb. That should read something like "The US Constitution does not give..."
1.5.2007 8:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
...but I think the idea is that if you ask enough of them, you'll get an answer.

Especially if the answer doesn't have to be meaningful.
1.5.2007 8:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
I used to trust the USPS to deliver the mail without letting anyone open it without a warrant, but then along came Bush's latest signing statement. Does that make me liberal or conservative, or just slightly more cynical?

Just ill-informed. As (I think) Andy McCarthy just pointed out, you're not mprotected from "warrantless" opening, you're protected from "unreasonable" opening, with some presumption under Article II that during wartime, in situations involving national defense, that the President has pretty wide discretion about what's "reasonable."

(In other words, FDR would have been gobsmacked that it was even necessary to mention.)
1.5.2007 8:53pm
JDS:
See http://www.theadvocates.org/wspq.html for a very good quiz. It systematically assesses values on both economic and personal liberty scales.

The franz quiz is terrible, including misspellings, unanswerable questions, and worse.
1.5.2007 8:57pm
gh:
I was quite happy with my 32 and as for the people who peeked at the java script ... get a life and have some fun.
1.5.2007 9:02pm
MDJD2B (mail):
Just because questions on a survey are facially stupid or difficult to answer does not detract from the validity of the survey. The concept of construct validity suggests that if a question on an instrument correlates with what you are trying to measure then the question is a valid question. If (for whatever reason) conservatives preferred the color yellow and liberals mauve, and a test were validated by administering it to liberals and conservatives before being used as a diagnostic test, then a color preference question would be valid.

I seriously doubt that this test was validated, but Prof. Volokh's comment about the facial idiocy of the questions detracting from the survey is off the mark.

In this case, it may be that the liberal/conservative dichotomy is not valid. There are people like libertarians and Dobbs populists who do not fit the mold. That is another question.
1.5.2007 9:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I trust the Pentagon more to deliver mail. They do get mail to servicemen and internal to the Pentagon building. They are pretty good at communications; after all they designed the ARPA net, which later became the Internet. The USPS on the other hand, I regard as one of the works of Satan. Many of the USPS clerks can't even speak English much less do anything else. They could not pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. It's hilarious to watch the mail deliverers. They get into a little vehicle, start it up, drive about 15 feet, shut off the engine, deliver a few letters and then start all over again. The USPS once delivered a letter to me that should have gone to my other address. They told me what happened was "impossible" until they scanned the bar code to find out it did go to that address. They said: "we can't explain it." The letters to my private mailbox would bounce because the "#" was left off in front of the box number. But the box is irrelevant for the USPS, they only have to deliver it to the address of the private mail box. How can it be "undeliverable?"

I highly recommend the novel "Post Office" by Charles Bukowski. The author actually did work for the USPS in LA. It begins: "It began as a mistake. It was the Christmas season and I learned from the drunk up the hill, who did the trick every Christmas, that they would damned near anybody …"

One day the universe will correct and the whole USPS will just disappear like a particle in a disallowed state.
1.5.2007 10:16pm
Lev:
Let me interrupt the regular programming for a vote that might be more interesting:

Vote to choose greatest medical breakthrough

Last Updated: 2007-01-05 10:25:47 -0400 (Reuters Health)

LONDON (Reuters) - Is it sanitation or vaccines? Anaesthesia or the contraceptive pill?

Doctors and scientists, as well as the public, are being invited to choose the greatest medical breakthrough of the last 166 years in an online poll.

Voting in the survey, organised by The British Medical Journal (BMJ), starts on Friday.

The journal has compiled a shortlist of 15 medical milestones, all made since the BMJ was first published in 1840. The list was selected from over 100 nominations from the journal's readers.

It includes achievements that have transformed the lives of millions of people around the world, including the discovery of antibiotics and the development of medical imaging.

Each of the breakthroughs are being championed by a representative from the medical community. They include Carl Djerassi, creator of the contraceptive pill, and Stephanie Snow, a descendant of John Snow, who discovered anaesthesia in the 1800s.

Each expert will set out the case for their chosen development on the journal's website, www.bmj.com British Medical Journal website , where readers can cast their vote.

"Any of these milestones would make a deserving winner - they have all made an enormous contribution to society and made a difference to millions of lives," said BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee.

Voting will close on Jan. 14 and the winner will be announced on Jan. 18.

The full shortlist includes:

- Anaesthesia

- Antibiotics

- Chlorpromazine to treat mental illness

- Computers

- DNA structure

- Evidence-based medicine

- Germ theory

- Imaging

- Immunology

- Oral rehydration therapy

- The pill

- Risks of smoking

- Sanitation

- Tissue culture

- Vaccines

We now resume our regular programming.
1.5.2007 10:37pm
Lev:
This quiz is quite a bit more interesting than the idiotically simple linear left/right quizzes.

world's smallest political quiz http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html
1.5.2007 10:45pm
Lev:
Hmmm....my formatting needs some work for the interesting quiz

www.politicalcompass.org
1.5.2007 10:47pm
Lev:
1.5.2007 10:52pm
Frater Plotter:
I trust the Pentagon more to deliver mail. They do get mail to servicemen and internal to the Pentagon building. They are pretty good at communications; after all they designed the ARPA net, which later became the Internet.

Actually, the ARPANET was developed by private contractors, including universities. Much of the initial work was done by the consulting firm Bolt Beranek and Newman. However, BBN's networking software didn't work very well; it was replaced in most early ARPANET systems with a reimplementation by Bill Joy of the University of California at Berkeley. (Joy went on to co-found Sun Microsystems.)

The first modern email system, Sendmail, was written by Eric Allman, also at Berkeley. (Allman's life partner, Kirk McKusick, remains one of the major developers of Bill Joy's network operating system -- today called FreeBSD. The BSD systems were a forerunner also to Linux.)

The World-Wide Web, on the other hand, was invented by a British contractor at a European research laboratory.

So while the development of the Internet was funded in part by the Pentagon, the people who actually did the work were U.S. and European academics -- not traditional defense contractors, and certainly not soldiers.
1.5.2007 11:40pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Quint,

Why have the law at all if the signing statement says "I'll follow this only when I feel like it"? What force does the law have then? What is it outlawing?

The signing statement is so short there is no need to provide any summary, and no need to build a strawman when the whole thing is only a few lines. The signing statement provides no basis for your claims.
1.6.2007 12:38am
Dan Goodman (mail) (www):
I don't want to abolish public broadcasting -- but I do want to cut off government funding for it.

Note that what positions are where on the spectrum changes over time. Around the time of the English Civil War, "All English males who own land should have the vote; nobody whose income is from salary or wages should have the vote" was a far-left position. In today's Russia, "The achievements of the Communist Party should be remembered and valued" is probably rather far right.
1.6.2007 1:05am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Frater Plotter:


What you say is absolutely true, the Pentagon meaning the Department of Defense, contracts out most of its R/D work. Nevertheless DOD through ARPA did provide the impetus and funding to get a robust computer communications network going. What's the USPS done except raise its rates and give poorer service over the last 35 years? If they ran the phone company, we would be talking to each other using a Dixie cup and a string. While it might be an urban myth, I've head you could get a letter from Philadelphia to New York faster in colonial times than today.
1.6.2007 2:22am
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
FP, Berkeley is a public institution. So how do you figure it in private sector?
1.6.2007 2:48am
Splunge (mail):
So while the development of the Internet was funded in part by the Pentagon, the people who actually did the work were U.S. and European academics -- not traditional defense contractors...

This is naive. Just who do you think are "traditional defense contractors"? Sheesh. Look up the history of Draper Labs at MIT, for example. Any good engineering school gets a big chunk of their funding from DoD, and qualifies as a "traditional defense contractor" just as much as Lockheed. They're just located in a different (more upstream) part of the military R&D process. Furthermore BBN certainly qualifies as a traditional defense contractor in any way you care to define it. Check out one of their latest developments ("Boomerang"), for example.

I think the important point the OP made was that the essential definition of how the ARPAnet should work was handed down from DARPA to meet military specifications, and the solution to the military problem (Internet Protocol and switched-packet communication) turned out (fortunately if fortuitously) to be amazingly useful for civilian purposes. Does the Pentagon get credit for the development of the tech that allows the VC to exist? Even though they weren't consciously trying for that particular result? I think so. They made a very sensible and well-managed investment in communication tech that paid off beyond their wildest dreams.

Fact is, very few large-scale research efforts in the US succeed as well as those sponsored by DoD. GPS, Internet Protocol, even that supposed love-child of libertarians the Linux operating system is the grandchild of Multics, another DoD-sponsored project. Add in the fruit of earlier decades like jet engines and radar, and new stuff coming down the pike, like developments in trauma care out of Iraq, and DoD money continues to look like the wisest R&D money we spend.

I think in part that's simply because the Pentagon almost alone among major players can and does think decades ahead. Well, that and they confine themselves to solvable, technical problems and not goofy moonbeam stuff like eliminating poverty or making sure all children are above average.

The importance to modern networked computing of the sendmail application and HTTP is laughably trivial compared to the importance of IP itself, of course.
1.6.2007 5:57am
John McCall (mail):
This is wildly off-topic, but I will just counterbalance some of the recent commentary about DoD.

DARPA, particularly J.C.R. Licklider, deserves an enormous amount of credit for the Internet. Many of the original computer networks arose from DARPA funding. When it became obviously silly that the networks couldn't talk to each other, it was DARPA (particularly Licklider) that decided to invest in fixing the problem. Packet-switching and TCP/IP arose from a collaboration between a researcher at DARPA (Bob Kahn) and one at Stanford (Vint Cerf), and of course the funding for the project came from DARPA. There's really no question that DARPA was the primary force behind the creation of the internet -- there were other players, of course, but almost everyone else was focused on expanding their own network technology, not on being able to speak to the other networks. DARPA has generally shown this same level of foresight throughout its history and on many other projects.

DARPA, however, is by no means typical of DoD funding vehicles; after all, DARPA's budget is $3.2 billion, compared to a $532 billion total DoD budget of which (quick estimate) about $50-60 billion is spend on R&D. Much more typical examples of DoD IT:
1. USTRANSCOM, the military command in charge of strategic transportation, gathers transportation requirements from commanders from (IIRC) over 20 incompatible and unconnected computer systems. I don't remember the exact number, but it's far more than the number of distinct commands or the number of branches.
2. Each of the branches uses at least one system for sharing information between units; as far as I know, no two of them use the same system, and there are no concrete plans to connect any of them.
3. An Anonymous Person Close To Me worked for several years on a DoD project; the work was contracted (I believe) from the government, to a private company, back to the government, back to the private sector, and finally to a university. The research group at the university got the contract, not because it was particularly competent at that work, but because the professor was friends with someone somewhere in the chain and bluffed his way into some irrelevant funding. Eventually, the project fell apart, but not before they made a last-ditch effort to produce a working-but-shallow demonstration, not because it was in any way meaningful, but in an attempt to convince the colonel in charge to come see the bombs drop.
1.6.2007 2:12pm