Strategy: The Battle of Ideas

The quality of your life and the success of our country rely to a significant extent on the quality of our government. In turn, the quality of government is determined by decisions based on policies – how decisions are made and what those decisions are.

The ‘how’ and ‘what’ of government decisions are not intangible and remote, beyond influence. In fact, it is often possible to determine what led a government to decisions that have real-life consequences for ordinary people.

Our approach to solving socio-economic problems goes beyond the activism that lessens the symptomatic pain of bad policies. We take aim at the root cause of the symptoms: the ideologies, ideas, and policies that underlie them. This is why we engage in the battle of ideas.

‘Battle of ideas’ theory provides a framework for exerting influence and achieving lasting policy change. This is accomplished over time by promoting and injecting ideas into public discourse and opinion, which eventually inform the policies on which governments base their decisions.

When a dominant school of thought collapses or is exhausted, the new paradigm and framework of solutions will be most heavily influenced by the ideas of whoever was most successful in promoting their ideas before the change.

This is how the IRR has maintained its ability to influence public discourse, policy, and ultimately the practical consequences of government decisions felt by ordinary people.

Through public and confidential channels of communication, we ensure that decision makers engage substantively with our analysis and policy prescriptions, using public pressure to advance better policies and oppose destructive ones. We engage constantly with the news media, sector representatives, chambers of commerce, corporations, embassies and foreign governments, local government departments and ministers, political parties, journalists and commentators both local and foreign, and local and foreign think tanks and research groups.

Through these engagements we promote our well-grounded analysis of South Africa’s challenges and promote policy solutions based on the foundational values of classical liberalism – non-racialism, a system of limited government, a market economy, individual liberty, property rights, and the rule of law.