From Tablet, on the origins of think tanks: “Think tanks are odd institutions. Experts solemnly line up, often to defend a specific political or economic cause, and … no matter how fine the expert, his or her findings will, most likely, be in line with the ideological leanings of the institution. … In Europe, the origins of think tanks go back to the 800s, when emperors and kings began arguing with the Catholic Church about taxes. A tradition of hiring teams of independent lawyers to advise monarchs about their financial and political prerogatives against the church spans from Charlemagne all the way to the 17th century, when the kings of France were still arguing about whether they had the right to appoint bishops and receive a cut of their income.”
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