Friday, May 11, 2012

House votes to prohibit political science funding

Having first hand experience working on research in the field this obviously pisses me off:

The Flake amendment Henry wrote about appears to have passed the House last night with a 218-208 vote. The amendment prohibits funding for NSF’s political science program, which among others funds many valuable data collection efforts including the National Election Studies. No other program was singled out like this. The vote was essentially party line, with only 5 Democrats voting in favor and 27 Republicans against.

As with everything that Republicans talk about when it comes to spending and the budget, this is complete bullshit. Beyond the merits, the funding for political science in extremely small. It's not sending the deficit into a spiral. It's so small it's barely even there. And on the merits, this shows some of the important things the funding provides.

One of the examples given on the link is the CIRI human rights dataset. I worked with Dr. Richards, one of the originators of the dataset, in grad school. CIRI compiles human rights records of every nation in the world and assigns them a score for how well they upheld numerous human rights. The dataset can be used by the rest of the field to advance our knowledge of the world, which for you Republicans that don't understand science, is the whole fucking point. But it's also used to determine funding by the World Bank. So the research has real world application, though that shouldn't be the measure by which it should be judged. Not all science worth funding has or should have real world application in the sense I'm sure these Republicans in the House want it to.

As I said, this obviously bothers me at a personal level because I got my masters degree in political science and learned/worked under a lot of great professors who do their job well and help us understand the world. But this is also about a larger issue, which is the Republican opposition to science and really anything that doesn't directly benefit rich, white men. For instance, they voted today to raise taxes on poor families with children so that they didn't have to cut defense spending. I can't make this shit up. It's unbelievable. And until they stop blindly hating science and caring only about the one group of people that don't need much help, the rest of the country and the world will suffer.

No comments:

Post a Comment