Poli-Sci 101 : Hunter S. Thompson Edition

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  1. Avatar Burt Likko
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    Analysis has its place. So does criticism. Critical thinking is generally considered to be a higher and more difficult intellectual task than is analytical thinking, and consequentially it is deprecated by those who are incapable of it.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Burt Likko
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      I’m not smart enough to know if I ought to take offense at this.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Burt Likko
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      What difference do you see between analytic thinking and critical thinking?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Murali
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        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Murali
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        I don’t think you were asking me, but analytic thinking strikes me as the pursuit of the right answer; critical thinking strikes me as a pursuit of a righter answer.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Sam
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          Sorry Sam, this doesn’t really improve my understanding. Maybe an example would help. What do you see as a paradigmatic case of thinking that is analytic but not critical. Similarly, what is an example of critical thinking which is not analytic?Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Murali
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            I think that people who pursue statistical significance as their goal can be engaged in analytic thinking, in which the dominant thought is, “How do I get to this level of significance?” (Some) Political Scientists routinely engage in such thinking because achieving statistical significance is cause for publication. Does that help? I’m not trying to intentionally obfuscate here; I’m trying to think of good examples.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali
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        I assume analytical thinking is a special case of critical thinking.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Chris
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          In which case, critical thinking cannot be some higher order kind of thinking than the analytical stuffReport

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali
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            I was being silly, though I suppose there’s something to it. Analytical thinking is about breaking things up into their parts and analyzing them from the pieces up. I suppose some critical thinking is analytical thinking, and some analytical thinking is critical thinking, but the two are not coextensive. In philosophy, of course, the terms have very specific meanings, and analytics is one part of criticism.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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          Maybe that’s right, but Burt said “analysis”, not analytical thinking (I donno, tho, maybe they’re the same thing).

          My first guess would be that analysis tries to show, narrowly, what is the case, while critical thinking includes considerations of what has to be the case. Eg, an analysis might show that P and Q, but further critical thinking might show that Q entails ~P. So it’s only because of critical thinking that the contradiction is revealed.Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr in reply to Chris
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          I’m pretty sure that critical thinking involves questioning some premises, whereas analytical thinking requires running something through an established framework.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Murali
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        An example, maybe: a professor who studies efficient Congresses and who uses as one of his variables the amount of legislation they produced. The argument was that there were certain Congresses that were hyper-efficient because they produced more legislation than other Congresses which did not. That strikes me as analytic thinking. You have a question (“What makes Congresses efficient?”) and you find and an answer that seems to (“Variables X, Y, and Z”) explain the efficiency, and you don’t bother to ask questions like, “Was any of the legislation any good?”

        Perhaps that’s specific to political science though.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam
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          Eh, all of the social sciences operationalize things like that. So efficiency comes to mean getting stuff passed. And in one sense, that is efficient. In other senses, it might not be, but once everyone’s agreed to use that sense, then you use another word to refer to something like producing good legislation (which is going to be tough, because you’ve already built several layers of shit you have to operationalize).Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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            I should expand on this a bit. A lot of disciplines (perhaps most of them, these days) get criticized for being too jargony, using words no one understands, or using everyday words in novel or extremely specific ways. This can be a problem, but in some ways, it’s necessary. In order to have a literature on, say, what factors are associated with legislative bodies passing more legislation, or even more abstractly, what factors are associated with more “efficient” legislative bodies, we have to agree to a set of terms, operationalize them in some repeatable way, and then when we’ve started dealing with that, we can move from there to other related problems (like bills that don’t get overturned, or bills that are associated with improvements in whatever domain they deal with, etc.). Eventually, it’s supposed to all cohere into a larger picture, and that’s one more reason it’s important to make the various concepts mean specific, testable (when we’re talking about science) things.

            Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that political science is or is not the most rigorous field in the social sciences. I really couldn’t say (James H. could better speak to this stuff), but if it’s going to even pretend to be a social science, it has to operate this way. Otherwise, it’s political philosophy, and trust me, when you get over there, you’re going to have a whole different set (sometimes overlapping, or at least mapping) of terms of the art (just ask Murali). They might be slightly more tolerating of Hunter S. Thomson (though I doubt it), and they’re not going to do experiments or surveys or whatever (in the Anglo-American-Australian world of philosophy, which apparently includes Singapore, they’re going to be doing conceptual analysis), but they’re still going to stick pretty closely to a script.

            I gather this is somewhat different in history departments, because its scope is so… broad. It may be different in literature departments as well, though they’re so cliquey, in my experience, that you’re probably going to have to toe some line very closely, whatever that line may be at that time and in that place.

            Also in my experience, the really good students of a discipline can toe the line in grad school, but when they are out on their own, they can be really creative. I’ve seen that many times: a student studies perceptual categorization, doing endless variants of one or two experimental methods, as a grad student, and then when she gets a position somewhere (probably after a post doc with more of the same or maybe a third method), suddenly discovers fMRI, and higher-order categorization, and maybe related phenomena in vision or in concepts, maybe even starts in on reasoning or causal analysis or something. There is a season, ya know?Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F.
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    Sorry to hear about that nonsense with your faculty. I think I’m lucky in that regard- whenever I come up with a strange or quirky source, my advisers chuckle about it and usually let it slide.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Rufus F.
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      I get it that there’s a special world specific to graduate school: a literature, a language, etc. But excluding substantive critiques from the conversation falsely limits the conversation in a ridiculous, and frankly unproductive, way.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Sam
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        I might be lucky- my dissertation director likes working with me because she says we both have catholic tastes.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam
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        I agree. As I always say, if you have a factual argument then argue the facts. Aesthetic distaste is your own goddamn problem.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam
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        I suspect methodology had something to do with it, too.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Chris
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          I can accept that some texts are excluded from scholarship for methodological reasons. I guess my issue is more that a grad student is an apprentice to the profession, so it seems to me a more appropriate response from a senior scholar would be sympathetic correction, instead of giving the, “not-so-subtle message that it might be time to move on.” As a teacher of undergraduates, I see them as my charges and am far more willing to be a pain in their neck about doing things right than to brush them off if they’re a pain in mine. I don’t know the situation, but it reminds me of some of the professors I’ve witnessed, but luckily not dealt with much. It’s probably not coincidence that the few genuinely brilliant profs I’ve met have all been among the most humane.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F.
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            As Sam notes elsewhere in the thread, this wasn’t an isolated incident. It was more like a last straw. And we haven’t seen the exam, so we don’t really know what happened.

            The students who I’ve seen explicitly shown the door generally had bad grades (by which I mean, C’s or more than a few B’s). Those who were nudged to the door generally just didn’t do the outside-of-the-classroom work (research, writing, whatever). I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone shown the door, directly or indirectly, because they just play by the rules in what literature they used.Report

            • Avatar Sam in reply to Chris
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              I hope I never made that allegation. If I did, it was bad writing and I apologize. The realization was as much mine as it was some of theirs. I think we didn’t like each other at all.Report

  3. Avatar Guy
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    I am giving real though very slight consideration to a PhD in polisci. But although I am interested in politics, the point you make seems of ominous importance, namely that the field seems obsessed with minutae that will never have much practical impact. Seems to me you could have as much real impact while majoring in basically any field by writing essays on the side on pertinent topics rather than devoting all your time to designing window dressing.Report

  4. Avatar Christopher Carr
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    Are we talking about “The Blindspot” here?Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
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    The problem with including emotion in your analysis is that you eventually start substituting emotion for analysis. You don’t care if something’s true or not, because it would feel so much better if it were true.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to DensityDuck
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      I’m not arguing for a wholesale change in political science. I have no investment in it, save the disdain I’ve got for the people who fetishize statistical significance over all things. I’m simply saying, it strikes me as more potent to see somebody accurately describe a situation, even if the conclusion of the explanation is essentially, “Well this is completely f-cked up.”Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam
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        People “fetishize” statistical significance because it allows us to say things like “subsidized birth control and abortions create positive social benefit” even though we’re talking about mass slaughter of defenseless infants (here I use deliberately inflammatory language to make my point.)Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to DensityDuck
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          Whereas a more reasonable person might say, “I don’t care what the numbers are, if you aren’t going to tell men what they’re allowed to do with their bodies, you aren’t justified in dictating to women what to do with theirs.”Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Sam
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            And now we’re at dueling moralities, which means that nobody wins, because you can’t prove that one concept of morality is superior without resorting to unprovable axioms. “But my moral statement is correct and theirs is not!” Yes, that’s what Hitler thought.

            But if I say “birth control results in reduced social costs by reducing the number of infants and women who need financial assistance”, that’s a numerical argument, a statistical argument. People who want to say “yes, well, killing babies is wrong” now have an idea of exactly how much that sentiment costs, and they can decide how much money they want to throw behind supporting their principles.Report

  6. Avatar Sam
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    I wanted to clarify something – rereading this, I fear I may have given the impression that the collapse of my graduate academic career was a result of my inclusion of this article. I gave my professors plenty of reasons to both dislike me and, more importantly, my work. It wasn’t this article so much as it was just another bit of evidence on top of a giant pile that proved that I wasn’t going to make a good political scientist.Report

  7. Avatar Russell Saunders
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    Sam, what do you think the goals of political science are? What do you think they should be?

    I am not a political scientist, and pretty much all I know of the field is from reading Jonathan Bernstein’s blog. But I assume that its goals are similar to those of other sciences — to use the scientific method to better understand the world. Some scientific fields have greater likelihood of practical application than others. I don’t see anyone’s lives changing anytime soon because of string theory, for example. I can see how poli sci would, ideally, have more applicability in our society. But it’s not the same thing as political activism. The one may inform the other, but it’s not the same thing.

    My own office is littered with incredibly dry journal articles, packed with statistical minutiae. A great deal of it will likely never make any child any healthier. Even my own research, which I designed with advocacy in mind, involved hours doing soul-crushing logistic regressions. That’s just the nature of science. When I put on my advocacy hat and march off to lobby some legislator, I focus more on the descriptive stories of my patients rather than the figures in journals, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the latter.

    Finally, I wonder why you so clearly value the Thompson piece over the poli sci texts. If, as even the author concedes, neither makes a whit of difference in the lives of those facing racism, and the only victory comes at the end of a war of attrition, what makes Thompson’s relatively obscure essay that much more useful? If it’s cathartic just to say the Kentucky racism version of “shit is fucked up and bullshit,” well… OK. But that doesn’t help black people in a racist society any more than those books you find so tedious.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Russell Saunders
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      Science is science. If political science wants to call itself political science, it should stick to science. Analysis is science.

      If you don’t want to do that (and this approach has limitations and advantages), then don’t be a political scientist. Study politics and policy instead.

      There’s a long post in my head cracking around in response to this. Maybe I can get it out.Report

      • I just don’t see from the OP how poli sci fails as science. It seems to make a case that it fails as advocacy, which is not what I perceive its obligations to be.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Russell Saunders
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          Right, this.

          I mean, I understand Sam’s meta-point… and I think it has merit. But it’s pointing at the wrong culprit. This is like taking a class about artillery and complaining that it fetishizes calculus because it enables us to kill people with large shells during war when we should be talking about whether or not the war is just or not.

          Totally, we should be talking about that. But it’s a different subject, and it’s not necessarily as well served by an analytical approach. But that’s Politics and Policy, not Political Science.Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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            I really wasn’t intending to have a political science versus actual science debate. I do think the field would be better served if it was just called Politics, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Sam
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              Maybe not.

              But this is the conversation that should be going on. If your field is going to claim the tag line, “Science!”, it really should attempt to be analytical, descriptive, and (eventually) predictive. Certainly falsifiable.

              Really, I’m supportive of Politics and Political Science being two fields. (They are, at my grad school).Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I’m dubious of the “science” that I’ve witnessed and I barely got a passing grade in high school chemistry.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Sam
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                You and Tom Van Dyke should have a conversation about this.

                I only witness Political Science by bad proxies, but I see some older tenured folk who don’t like the whole analytical approach doing bad statistics to get an analytical result that matches their non-analytical idea of what the results should be, and younger folks who aren’t analysts who really ought not to be doing statistics, and then some people in the middle who are muddling it out with good intentions and process.

                I have no idea what the actual proportions of all those folks are, in the wild, though.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                It’s not a serious claim. It’s just a name – and not a claim. A ton of “political science” is openly not science, and makes no claim to the contrary, whatever the name on the department letterhead. This is just something that outside observers have to note and move on from, IMHO.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                …This is not to defend the name, by the way. I’d prefer that the name had never been invented. That’s because, for the overwhelming most part, research into politics shouldn’t remotely pretend to be “science” in any way. Sure, some is systematic enough to sort-of almost qualify (but not really IMO). But do we really want to limit our academic inquiry into the goings on in politics to research like that? Why in the world would we? There’s nothing that makes the validity of research that approximates those kind of analytic standards even greater by calling it “science.” It’s just as intellectually superior to other research (which is not to say how much if at all it in fact is superior), whatever we call it.

                So can it really make sense for universities to have entirely separate departments dedicated to the study of politics on the one hand, and then of political science on the other? That seems insane to me: an artifact of an entirely idiosyncratic and contingent fact of American institutional academic history. I can’t believe anyone would seriously propose such an arrangement as a matter of whole-cloth partitioning of inquiry in academic institutions (though perhaps someone at yours did). Let those who want to study politics as a matter of humanities or letters do so like historians, and let those who want to study it as a matter of a soft science do that more or less like social “scientists.” And let them do it in the same department! The people whose research comes closer to “scientific” standards aren’t really doing science anyway, and if their research is intellectually superior to other research, it ought to rise to greater influence in the field and outside it in the academy anyway.

                And that’s what such departments pretty much do as far as I understand it – they don’t take the “science” aspect all that seriously as an internal matter, nor should they. I really don’t think they honestly hold that their field is a science (I hope they don’t). It would be a shame if a simple nominal tic like that circumscribed the field in a way that prevented it from undertaking study of its field using all the modalities necessary to understand it (i.e. using methods that ostentatiously do not meet the criteria for constituting science). I agree that it would be better if the term had never been invented and all those departments were called just departments of Political Studies or some such, but it was and they’re not. The name doesn’t change what they are or should do given the nature of their object of inquiry. The name is an accident of history. We should ignore it.

                Obviously, I’d be very interested in hearing Professor Hanley’s take on this, as should we all.Report

              • “If your field is going to claim the tag line, ‘Science!’, it really should attempt to be analytical, descriptive, and (eventually) predictive. Certainly falsifiable.”

                That’s one of the reasons I bristle (inwardly) when people describe history as a “social science.” For the most part, history is not falsifiable. (Even if some of its truth claims are falsifiable, those truth claims by themselves are not the end all of history, in my opinion.)Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Pierre Corneille
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                History doesn’t exist to make predictions. It exists to give after-the-fact explanations, the likes of which are basically useless as predictions of the future.

                Why do we do it? Because narrative is part of what makes us human. History is a part of the humanities, not the social sciences.Report

  8. Avatar Sam
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    Russell,

    I’m starting to think that this post failed entirely. My goal wasn’t to argue how much science is in political science (even if I personally believe that the answer is, “Very little at best.”) I simply wanted to praise Thompson’s article for accurately capturing a bad situation in a way that was both useful and accessible.Report

  9. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    Still, there are times when it seems worthwhile to take a critical view of the entire situation and mutter disgustedly under your breath, “This is fucking ridiculous.”

    No, there aren’t. A real and meaningful backlash could come at any time. I am increasingly of the opinion that it’s inevitable. Nothing at any rate prohibits it; history isn’t some one-way ratchet in the direction of gay rights.

    In the history of ideas, the mere existence of a gay or lesbian sexual orientation still only counts as a fad. I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s true. Will gay marriage endure? I have no real reason to think that it will. Nor does anyone else, honestly.

    But less-than-honestly, gay marriage’s proponents like to claim the mantle of inevitability, thinking that it will help their cause. Also less-than-honestly, gay marriage’s opponents warn — similarly — that it’s inevitable unless we do something right now. Like giving us money.

    Both sides have a stake in saying that gay marriage is the way of the future. And both sides could easily be wrong.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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      A backlash against gay rights? From whom and from where?Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Sam
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        From younger people.

        It sounds crazy, I know. But the law has a great power to teach, and virtually all state laws are now saying one thing very clearly: Gay people should not be allowed to get married, or treated as married, or even thought of as married.

        Grow up under a regime like that, and you will come to agree with it. What the law says just wins — with the overwhelming majority of people, just about all the time.

        If I’m right, then the gay rights movement has already run off the cliff. It just hasn’t looked down yet.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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          Did you see the news about the Virginia Legislature voting not to confirm an openly gay judge early this morning?Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Chris
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            God – nothing about this post is ending up being useful. I managed to leave out the word judge from the prosecutor discussion above. That’s what I was referencing in the fifth paragraph.

            However, that backlash came from older Christians, not from youths.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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          It’s a realistic fear Jason though I am unconvinced. My own impression (and experience) is that the major teaching experience for people in the case of gay rights is knowing an openly gay person. This, I submit, has a much greater impact on how the young form opinions on gay rights than whatever the law may say.

          Since there are a great number of gay people living openly now and since it would require something approaching concentrated mass violence to force them back into hiding I think that there is somewhat of a ratchet going on up to a point. The more gay people come out, the more people know gay people, the more sympathetic to gay rights society becomes, the easier it is for gay people to come out, wash-rinse-repeat.
          This assumes, of course, that gay rights don’t over reach but again I see the indicators as being positive: young gay individuals seem to be becoming more ordinary if you will, the movement as a whole seems to be main streaming and the kind of screechy “heteronormative ” spouting queer studies fools who one’d expect to lead the charge on such an over reach appear to be drifting to the fringes.

          All in all I’m optimistic.Report

    • Jason,

      Although I share some of North’s optimism, I tend to agree with your caution. I dislike most (maybe all) “end of history” memes precisely because they are too simplistic and don’t take into account that things can and do change or (which is paradoxically another way of saying the same thing) persist. (I remember in elementary school in the early 1980s being taught about the 1963 march on Washington as if MLK’s speech singlehandedly ended Jim Crow and racism….then I came home and my father told me about how MLK was a communist and the NAACP stood for “N-word Association to Advance the Communist Party.”)*

      *I hope it’s clear I do not endorse that view of MLK or the NAACP, just that I knew people who did.Report

  10. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    This was a great post, Sam. I had not previously read the Hunter S. essay you link, and I’m grateful to have changed that.

    I think you’re getting at something really important with this post- not just that culture matters far more in practice than politics, but that it’s outrageous to simply reach the conclusion that a problem is cultural and shrug one’s shoulders as if that were enough. What makes the Hunter S. essay great is that it goes the essential extra step, putting a mirror to the culture and showing it for what it is, demanding that it reconcile what it says it is versus what it actually is. It makes no direct accusations, though there are surely implied accusations there, instead demanding that people stop using culture as an excuse if they actually believe the things they say about their values.Report

  11. Avatar DensityDuck
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    I should point out that I think Hunter Thompson is a great writer and I really enjoy reading his work(*), but I don’t think for a minute that Getting Really Mad is an appropriate method of analysis.

    (*) albeit in heavily-edited and processed-for-publishing formReport

    • Avatar Sam in reply to DensityDuck
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      It’s unfortunate that he’s remembered more for his drug-fueled insanity (something he seemingly wanted to be remembered for) than some of his substantive political reporting. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is a fantastic book (amongst others).Report

  12. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    This is more interesting as psychology. Racism [and its corollary, “homophobia”] is the wall that the righteous push against, in fact mostly the only prism through which they view things. They need racism; the wall they push against is key to their identity. Using Hunter Thompson’s eyes, we see a nation of swine—not us personally of course—them.

    We are notThem.

    “In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.”

    Of course a nation full of swinish men like Hunter S. Thompson hisself would not work. Nobody would collect the garbage and the cars would all be smashed. Sobriety and speed limits are for other people. You know, them.

    [Not that I didn’t adore me some Hunter Thompson in my pre-swinish days. We are never more free than in our sophomore years. Somebody cleans up after us, and we will never die.]Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      Using Hunter Thompson’s eyes, we see a nation of swine—not us personally of course—them.

      Oddly, I came away from Hunter Thompson’s essay reaching completely the opposite conclusion about its purpose. He bends over backwards to portray Louisville as effectively filled with liberals on the issue of race, people with whom the reader is expected to identify easily and readily. He’s effectively saying “quit patting yourself on the back, Northern White Liberals – this is you, maybe even me too. Changing the laws is nice and all, maybe even important, but it doesn’t amount to much if this is how we’re going to act in our private dealings.”Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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      Tom,

      I’ll ignore your insults. Instead, I want to simply note that Thompson didn’t deny the fact that we-become-them, did he? All of Lousiville might have agreed in the early 1960s, for example, that gay marriage was a no go. 40+ years later and now those same people aghast then at Louisville’s power-structure might be opposed to even the idea of gay marriage, much less its institution. I doubt Thompson would have pretended otherwise.Report

  13. Avatar ktward
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    Sam, just wondering: have you read the folks over at http://themonkeycage.org/

    There’s a reason why sociological/psychological science is called “squishy”. The human condition is, after all, pretty darn squishy. In general, I’d rather scientific discipline oversee the study of our squishiness and argue any methodology flaws. That said, I do recognize that there are so-called “experts” who are bent on promoting an ideological agenda in some scientific fields. Case in point, the ID folks. Is this the point you’re making re the field of PoliSci? An earlier comment (Mr. Saunders maybe?) suggested that you’re confusing advocacy or activism with science. I’m inclined to agree.

    To my mind, scientific research and analysis is primarily about advancing our knowledge base; the payoff is that expanding our knowledge base will, inevitably, expand application of said knowledge. If you’re in it for immediate application, you’ll likely be disappointed.Report

    • Avatar Sam in reply to ktward
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      I’m not in it anymore, at least in part because the work that Thompson did in that particular article strikes me as more valuable than a bookshelf’s worth of political science texts which are largely unreadable and incomprehensible. It is my own bias at play that results in that conclusion. In other words, I’m not impressed by a political scientist who creates a question, finds some data, and then tortures the bejesus out of that data until it returns a statistical significance of 95 percent. I’m much more taken by somebody who can look at a situation and call it for what it is.

      However I clearly failed at accomplishing what I actually intended to, which was communicating my own bias toward Thompson’s effective journalism versus political science’s stilted reportage.Report

      • Avatar ktward in reply to Sam
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        I sure do appreciate your reply.

        There’s no shortage of infighting among political scientists. Same can be said, at one time or another, for sociologists and psychologists. Nature of the squishy beast, as it were.

        Thompson was no scientist. He was a cutting-edge journalist and an activist’s wet dream. I’m just not sure why your understandable appreciation of his style of journalism along with your unfortunate academic experience should be taken as a considered indictment of the field of PoliSci.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to ktward
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          Poli-sci ain’t for me. I don’t begrudge the field the fact that it has its own literature and its own way of doing things; that’s their wont. I do boggle at why having an own literature and an own way of doing things seems to exclude from consideration other approaches, but that’s just me. It strikes me as more convincing to take the commentary that Thompson was offering and combine with empirical findings (that ideally haven’t been waterboarded to death) to create a more interesting hybridized understanding of the situation, but that’s just me.Report

  14. Avatar Citizen
    Ignored
    says:

    The problem with indoctrination is indoctrination. Choose your favorite blight.Report

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