Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Right's Hostility to Political Science

A Slate piece poses the question but does not really answer why the Conservatives in the US Congress are so motivated to end federal funding of political science.  The obvious answer is: ignorance is bliss.  The job of political science is to develop a better understanding of politics.  Who is against that?  Well, those who do not want voters, the media and others to understand politics.  Why would the Right Wing want an ignorant public?  Perhaps because they tend to support stuff that runs counter to what is best for the country?  That they support stuff based on myths, such as the supposed threat of voter fraud?

Here is a study that is sure to be most upsetting to the Right: that those representatives who support voter id laws--what I call voterfraudfraud--tend to be ... racist.  Yep, political scientists experimented on representatives, sending emails to them using vanilla names like Jacob Smith and Latino ones like Santiago Rodriquez.  Sure enough, the response rates were different for those who supported voter id laws.

There is an interesting irony here.  There was a recent study that showed that professors tend to respond to emails out of the blue better if they are from males and from males with less ethnic names.  So, my kind, professors, may be just as racist as the purveyors of voterfraudfraud.  The difference?  Professors as a class are not trying to squelch research, but the right wing representatives certainly are. 

I do think the ignorance is bliss approach is a rosetta stone for understanding the GOP's approach these days.  Too much understanding is bad for their party.  It probably explains why so many sales of my distraction sauces are to folks living in Red states.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I'd go one step further and suggest that political conservatives - and in particular the Tea Party fringe of the Republican party - not only ignore the findings of political scientists, but many of the conclusions reached by climatologists, biologists, physicists, [some] economists and other experts whose inquiries and propositions don't jive with their political interests