November 8, 2012

Despite my profound disagreement with his politics, I cannot agree more with Michael Gerson about the sorry state of political science. The insistence of many political “scientists” on reducing politics to prediction and precision is indeed a perversion of what politics is all about. Some in my field (I managed to get a degree from a department commendably named “Politics”) call this “physics-envy” and they have a point. Mr. Gerson is right — politics is about judgment, opinion and how people in a community determine their future. Politics, however, is also about choice — and so those nasty polls still have some meaning. And I doubt anyone would call Nate Silver a scientist.

Gerson S. Sher, Washington