June 24, 2012
Should tax dollars fund political scientists?
The Republicans want to eliminate grants from the National Science Foundation for political scientists, and the poly sci professors are in an uproar. But one political scientist writing in the New York Times points out why this is an excellent idea: It's an open secret in my discipline: in terms of accurate political predictions (the field's benchmark for what counts as science), my colleagues have failed spectacularly and wasted colossal amounts of time and money. The most obvious example may be political scientists' insistence, during the cold war, that the Soviet Union would persist as a nuclear threat to the United States. In 1993, in the journal International Security, for example, the cold war historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote that the demise of the Soviet Union was "of such importance that no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and competence should have failed to see it coming." And yet, he noted, "None actually did so." Careers...(Read Full Post)