Today’s New York Times discusses a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn to remove political science from National Science Foundation funding. Coburn considers a lot of the discipline’s research to be a waste of money, especially compared to the “hard” sciences such as chemistry and biology. Patricia Cohen raises the question of whether political science has become too mathematical, narrow, and irrelevant.
She quotes Joseph Nye, an “influential” professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard: “The danger is that political science is moving in the direction of saying more and more about less and less.”
That statement could be made about a lot of academic research, I suspect. Indeed, Mark Bauerlein came to that conclusion for humanities research in his American Enterprise Education report “Professors on the Production Line, Students on Their Own.”