Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 7

What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?

Author(s): Bertell Ollman


Source: The Good Society, Vol. 10, No. 2 (2001), pp. 68-73
Published by: Penn State University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20711033
Accessed: 16-05-2017 06:24 UTC

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted
digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about
JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
http://about.jstor.org/terms

Penn State University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The
Good Society

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
PEGS AND WHOLES

What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?1


Berteli Oilman

Political science is governed by five myths: 1) that it studies poli curiosity. And even as the training, with its combination of academic
tics; 2) that it is scientific; 3) that it is possible to study politics sep (and economic) rewards and punishments succeeds in bringing
arated off from economics, sociology, psychology and history; 4) another wayward soul into the mainstream, the process takes a
that the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neu heavy human toll. The budding young intellectual, inquisitive and
tral, that is available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to what concerned, has become one more social scientist with a bad con
ever group wins the election; and 5) that science. Did not the poet, W.H. Auden
political science, as a discipline, advances implore in a lecture to Harvard under
the cause of democracy. graduates no less, "Thou shalt not sit
Paradoxically, most political scientists, We soon learned that with statisticians, nor commit a social
whose own work embodies at least some of science?"4 But, sadly, most of those who
these myths, would probably agree with a lot political science is not I am addressing here did not listen to
of the criticism that is implied in characteriz about the real world but him. Still, where there is life, there are
ing their beliefs as myths. These colleagues contradictions, and where there are con
simply act as if they are true, because they only about those features of tradictions, there is ... hope.
don't know what else to do and, in some the world that can be In what follows, I shall compare three
cases, may be afraid not to. How else under critical approaches that the most dissat
stand a poll of 500 political scientists in 1964 studied by methods deemed isfied political scientists take to the
that showed that two out of three "agreed" or myths of our discipline. I call these the
to be scientific.... With all
"strongly agreed" that much scholarship in moderate critique, the radical critique,
the discipline is "superficial and trivial," and the more interesting and the Marxist critique. The moderate
that concept formation and development is critique is advanced by liberals as well
questions falling outside as some conservatives and radicals, and
"little more than hair splitting and jargon?"2
There is no reason to believe that the results the bounds of scientific is moderate only in relation to the radi
today would be any different. There is a cal and Marxist critiques that I will
investigation, political
deep-going and on-going malaise among develop later. While a great many share
political scientists that the self-congratula science often strikes the the moderate critique, only a few have
tory tone of most surveys of our discipline bothered?or dared?to write it down.
new graduate student as
cannot succeed in wishing away.3 After all, Charles Lindblom has, and in several
most of us chose this particular subject as an unending war waged places, including the pages of the
graduate students because of a strong interest American Political Science Review (his
against his or her curiosity.
in politics and with certain big questions to extraordinary Presidential Address in
which we hoped to find answers. What hap 1981).5
pened? Lindblom believes our discipline has
Well, we soon learned that political science is not about the real three main failings: first, for all the talk about politics, political sci
world but only about those features of the world that can be studied ence has never decided what exactly it should study. With its heavy
by methods deemed to be scientific. We were told?though not nec emphasis on the question, "How to study?", on methods and tech
essarily in these words?that if something can't be measured, then niques, the question, "What to study?", has been terribly neglected,
that's not it, and if an event didn't happen twice, then it didn't hap and usually answered in an off-hand manner in terms of what can be
pen. This might be a slight exaggeration, but I don't think it's a cari studied given the methods already in place. The result is that many
cature. With all the more interesting questions falling outside the trivial matters receive an inordinate amount of attention and many
bounds of scientific investigation, political science often strikes the important ones go untreated. In short, political science seems to
new graduate student as an unending war waged against his or her have turned around the order in which any person not trained in the

68 The Good Society

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
discipline would try to answer the questions, "What should I study?" the procedures used in the natural sciences, rational choice?with
and "How should I study it?" out ever rejecting the natural science ur-model?has sought to repli
Second, Lindblom takes a very dim view of political science's cate the version of the scientific method (mathematical models and
pretensions to be a science. For him, what qualifies a discipline for all) that it sees at work within economics. What is decisive here is
this honor is not how closely it mirrors the procedures followed in that in both cases the insistence on scientific procedures (or what
the natural sciences?you know the list?but what discoveries it has passes for such in each school) has been used to mask pathetically
made using these procedures. And here political science's hands meager findings. A frequent demand in Walter Mondale's campaign
have come up virtually empty. What has political science found out against Gary Hart was "Where's the beef?" In their book,
about the political sphere that we didn't know before, or that isn't Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory, Ian Shapiro and Donald
abysmally trivial? Green make the same demand of rational choice political science
Lindblom's third major criticism of political science deals with and come up with what the less affluent among us will remember as
the bias he finds in most studies done by political scientists, in their a bread sandwich.7

descriptions and explanations but also in what they choose by totally With so much of the conditions in which people live, work and
"amateur" means (Lindblom's expression) engage in politics left unexamined by
to study. Why, he asks, treat government as behavioral and rational choice scholars, it
trying to serve the common good rather is little wonder that the inequalities
than the exploitative interests of an elite? inscribed in these conditions along with
Or view political socialization as education The operating assumption, their effects on politics narrowly con
rather than as mystification and intellectual strued are missed. The operating assump
"All things being equal, "
impairment? Or treat citizen apathy mainly tion, "All things being equal," with which
as a source of political stability rather than
with which [the behavior both schools begin their studies, makes
an opportunity for elite manipulation of the and rational choice] both even the worst real world inequalities
masses? And he finds many other exam acceptable (not worth bothering about) by
ples?as we all can?of political science schools begin their studies, rendering them irrelevant to the task at
proving more useful to those wishing to makes even the worst real hand. Guess to whose benefit?
retain the status quo than to those who want These are harsh words, but?as I said
to change it. world inequalities earlier?large numbers of political scien
While most of these remarks were
acceptable (not worth tists would agree, or half agree, or at least
addressed to a political science still smart suspect that what political science studies
ing from the effects of the Behavioral
bothering about) by is trivia, that the science is bogus, and that
Revolution, they apply just as well, if not rendering them irrelevant the discipline is full of biases on behalf of
more so, to political science in the Era of to the task at hand. Guess those in power, who are also in best posi
Rational Choice. As different as these two tion to make use of our findings, such as
approaches are, both focus on the question, to whose benefit? they are. The questions that are not asked,
"How to study?", and give the same general or not asked persistently enough, how
answer to the question, "What to study?" ever, are: How systematic are these
That answer is less, less than whatever it biases? And if they are systematic, where

was people in the discipline studied up until that time. In the case of does the discipline of political science fit into the system? Who
behavioralism, this meant dropping history, economics and sociol and/or what is responsible for the working of this system? And what
ogy, and their embodiment in political institutions, and focusing can be done about it? It is by taking these questions seriously that
instead on political behavior, especially on its quantifiable aspects. one graduates from being a moderate critic of political science to
Marc Treibwasser's history of textbooks in American Government being a radical one.
from pre-World War I to recent times provides the ideal canvass on What sets the radical critique of political science apart from the
which to follow intellectual exactions made in the name of (or at moderate position is that it treats the numerous instances of political
least under the threat of) behavioralism.6 bias denounced in the latter, but viewed as phenomena that are more
Rational choice carries the miniaturization of political science or less independent of one another, as evidence for the existence of a
one step further by dismissing what people actually do politically system made to work in just this way. When James Madison, for
and concentrating on their decisions to do it, on the calculations example, sets as the problem of the Constitutional Convention, how
involved (or supposedly involved, or, for some scholars, ideally to avoid the dangers of majority rule [chiefly to property] while pre
involved) in making choices. And if behavioralism tried to replicate serving "the spirit and form of popular government," he is not sim

Volume 10, Number 2 69

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
ply revealing a personal bias or even one shared by most of the other tion. And the political mechanisms they have created?and which
delegates.8 He is revealing the essential character of both the have succeeded only too well in retaining the "spirit and form of
Constitution they drafted and the political system built upon it. And popular government" without its content?get treated with the
when a later president, Herbert Hoover, says "The sole function of utmost respect. As if elections in the United States today are very
government is to bring about a condition of affairs favorable to the different than "taking the Pepsi Challenge." In electoral politics as in
beneficial development of private enterprise," this is not simply evi comparing colas, some insist they can tell a difference, but, given the
dence of his preference or that of his administration but a surprising range of choices available, the only rational response must be "So
r?v?lation concerning the character of what?"
American government as such.9 The harsh truth is that political science,
While virtually everyone, it seems, is like the Constitution itself, presents us
capable of the occasional radical insight? The combination of with a bourgeois fairy tale where equal
Eisenhower, after all, warned the country unbridled ambition and and independent citizens partake in what
about the inordinate power of the military appears to be a fair democratic process to
industrial complex?only a relative few realistic fear go a long way win what appears to be a neutral state to
recognize the fuller pattern and see a sys serve their interests. The inevitable one
tem at work here.10 Once one does, radicals
in explaining why so sided outcomes should have made it clear
believe, the manifestations of this pattern many political scientists by now that what most people really
are found practically everywhere one cares
to look... if one cares to look.
who know (or at least gain/learn from electoral politics is how to
be good losers, to lower their expectations
Viewing society in this way, it is evident suspect) better refuse to (so that even losing?viz. Clinton, Carter,
that the game of politics is thoroughly Kennedy?can count as winning), and, of
confirm the insight that so
rigged. It's like playing poker in which course, to try again next time. ("Keep
your opponent sets all the rules, in which many uneducated people hope alive")
he gets as many cards as he wants while Why do political scientists participate
already have, to wit that
you are limited to five, in which he has a in this manipulative charade? Lindblom,
half dozen wild cards while you have none, the political game is who is at least partly aware of the system
in which he gets to look at the cards you atic nature of the problem, insists that it is
draw while his cards remain secret. Did I
thoroughly rigged. But
because they are "naive," a characteriza
mention that he also gets to deal each hand something else besides tion he repeats over and again.12 Radical
and can cheat without penalty? (His expen critics see something more sinister at
naivete, self-interest, and
sive lawyer gets him off each time with, at work. The rewards in terms of jobs,
worse, a minor fine.) But perhaps his great fear is usually involved in grants, and status for remaining in the
est advantage lies in being allowed to label mainstream are supplemented by an equal
this refusal, and that is
this travesty "democracy," so that most number of penalties for those who dare to
people are misled into believing that the that the nature of the leave it. The combination of unbridled
straitjacket they are forced to wear has little system which does the ambition and realistic fear go a long way
or no affect on their chances of winning the in explaining why so many political scien
game. "Government of the people, by the rigging remains very tists who know (or at least suspect) better
people, and for the people" is a useful defi obscure. refuse to confirm the insight that so many
nition of "democracy," but a close look at uneducated people already have, to wit
the. nnwpr of mnnpv and nf thosp. few who that the nolirical game is thoroughlv
have a lot of it (and not just in election campaigns)?something that rigged. But something else besides naivete, self-interest, and fear is
neither behavioralism or rational choice deign to do?makes it abun usually involved in this refusal, and that is that the nature of the sys
dantly clear that no part of this definition applies to the society in tem which does the rigging remains very obscure. Faced with this
which we live. uncertainty, it is easy for the political scientist to misinterpret his/her
This is where political science enters the picture, for, with a few self-interested silence and fear of retribution as scholarly caution.
honorable exceptions, it presents a view of society that either misses, Radical critics typically react to this impasse by marshalling addi
or dismisses, or at best trivializes the fact that the political game is tional evidence of bias, inequality, and oppression, so as to make the
rigged.11 Once economics, sociology and history are hived off from patterns that emerge from them stand out even more sharply.
political science, those who do the rigging easily escape investiga Perhaps the leading practitioner of this radical approach is Noam

70 The Good Society

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
Chomsky, in his political writings, who seems to believe that his from all this, however, in order to focus on (and to help us bring into
relentless and immensely valuable effort in documenting the perfidy focus) the basic relations that set capitalism apart as a distinctive
of our rulers will eventually bring most people, including many self mode of production and that stay more or less the same for the entire
absorbed political scientists, around to recognizing the systemic capitalist epoch. He does so, because he finds in these basic relations
nature of our problem and the need, therefore, for a systemic solu the dynamic (essentially capital accumulation in conjunction with
tion. And sometime, especially when combined with the polemical market exchange) that is responsible not only for capitalism's many
skills of a Chomsky, a C. Wright Mills, a Fran Piven, or a Mark impressive achievements but for its most important problems as well
Roelofs, it works. I suspect that most members of the Caucus for a as the range of solutions that are available to deal with them. It is
New Political Science, as indeed most progressive intellectuals also here that one uncovers the secret of the capitalist state.
throughout the American academy, are "radical" in the sense that I Marxist analysis is much more oriented toward the state than are
have just defined this term.13 the analyses of either the moderate or radical critics of political sci
What is missing in Chomsky and the radical critique generally, ence. Marx calls the state "the active, conscious and official expres
however, is the clear identification of this system as capitalist, and sion of the present structure of society," and elsewhere, "the form in
an adequate appreciation of the difficulty most people have in grasp which individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests."14
ing it. Treating capitalism as the version of the whole that helps us For Marx, the key to understanding our biased political practices is
make best sense of the distinctive character and development of the to be found in the nature of the state in capitalist society. The way to
parts, including the state, politics, and even political science, is approach politics, therefore, is through a study of the state. But the
Marx's special contribution to our subject. It is also the point (really, state, too, as is evident from Marx's comments, can only be
more of a gradual ascent) where a radical critique of political sci approached indirectly. One cannot grasp what the state is without
ence turns into a Marxist one. looking at what it does, at the social structure that frames its unique
A few years ago, a group of astronomers announced the discovery agenda, rules and behavior, and particularly at who benefits. "What
of a huge structure in the sky composed of millions of galaxies. They is the state?" is really a question about the state's role in society,
called this cosmic structure the "Great Attractor," and claimed it which in turn is a question about capitalist society and what it
exerts a strong attraction on our solar system, and therefore on our requires in the way of political functions.
planet, and therefore on us. When a reporter asked, "If it is so big, Marx's answer, very briefly, is that the state in capitalism has four
why did it take them so long to find it?" One astronomer responded main functions related to the society-wide needs of the dominant
that it is just because it is so big that they had trouble seeing it. capitalist class, that is help it requires in order to reproduce its con
Capitalism is a lot like the Great Attractor. People have difficulty ditions of existence as the dominant class. These are 1) repression, 2)
seeing it not because it is so small, but because it is everywhere. Yet, legitimation, 3) accumulation of capital, and 4) realization of value
it is absolutely essential that we see it if we are to make adequate (selling the finished products). While the first two kinds of help are
sense of the lives that go on inside it. also required by the dominant class in other class societies, the latter
The best short definition of "capitalism" is that it is a form of soci two are peculiar to capitalism. Taken together, the state in capitalism
ety in which wealth takes the form of capital, or self-expanding wealth can be seen as the sum of all the bodies, mechanisms and practices
(i.e. wealth used with the aim of creating still more wealth), and the particularly bodies?that serve the capitalist class in these ways and
main means of production, distribution and exchange are privately that have to serve it in these ways if it is going to prosper but also if
owned. For the owners, the capitalists, the imperative "Accumulate for it is to remain the dominant class, i.e. if capitalism is going to sur
its own sake!" takes the form of profit maximization, or doing what vive. To forego this focus on the state is to lose sight of the main
ever they can and can get away with in order to make the largest pos means by which the ruling class rules, and further mystifies the char
sible profits. The chief victims of the capitalists' drive to amass profits acter of the ruling class, especially as regards those of its require
are the workers (blue, white, and pink collared), whose lack of prop ments that bring it to use just these means in ruling. On this reading,
erty in the means of production forces them to sell their labor power to what political party and which individuals actually occupy the seat
the capitalists just in order to live. Everything else in society is of government is of much less significance than the nature of the
effected directly or indirectly, whether slightly or, as is often the case, connection that any government which takes capitalism as a given
quite substantially, by this imperative to accumulate and the exploita has with the ruling capitalist class. Particularly in this new era of
tive social relations that go along with it. intensified global competition, unless it is ready to overturn capital
Everyone knows, of course, that capitalist societies have a lot in ism, no government can neglect doing whatever is necessary to
common with non-capitalist societies and also that capitalism has make capitalism work as well as possible, which means essentially
evolved in many important respects since the time that Marx wrote. helping capitalists maximize their profits.
This only needs to be said because so many of Marx's critics have Most of what we understand as "politics," then, flows from the
made their reputations on belaboring the obvious. Marx abstracts efforts of the state (national, regional, and international) to provide

Volume 10, Number 2 71

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
and secure these four services to the capitalist class, from the compe It is the absence of capitalism from political science that allows it
tition between factions of the capitalist class (and their allies) to obtain to settle for a range of methods that point researchers in the direction
a larger than average share of the surplus that goes to them as a class, of the political bits and pieces, while increasing our difficulty in see
and from the efforts of workers and other classes in society to protect ing, let alone examining, the whole. Here is the source of the prefer
themselves against this onslaught on their interests in what Marx calls ence for those versions of the scientific method that make everything
the "class struggle." Other forms of oppression in capitalism?racial, in the world much smaller (having been stripped of both its spatial
gender, ethnic, etc.?and the struggles against them acquire their relations and temporal stages) and, therefore, less significant than it
larger political significance (which is not identical to their moral really is. What is lost here are not only the relations that enable us to
Standing or importance in the Uves of partic grasp how the whole works (and how the
ular individuals) when they help either to aspect we are especially concerned with
secure or to undermine the power of the rul works as part of that) but the potential
ing capitalist class, which is to say when // is the absence of inherent in the whole (and only visible
they become part of the class struggle. All of when a good deal of it has been recon
this allows for variation, nuancing and even
capitalism from political structed) for becoming something other
occasional exceptions on relatively minor
science that allows it? than it is. In other words, by hiding capi
matters and/or in the short run. talism, what passes for scientific method
What, then, is the Marxist criticism of
despite all evidence to the in political science also succeeds in hid
political science? In light of the importance contrary?to treat our ing socialism, the possibility of socialism
that Marx attaches to capitalism for under as well as the broad outline of what a
society as a democracy
standing the state and politics in capitalist socialism built on the developed founda
society, it should not surprise anyone that made up of equal citizens tions laid down by capitalism might look
the main criticism is directed not at what like. Yet, if there are realistic alternatives
rather than a dictatorship
political science does but at what it doesn't to the inequality, exploitation, alienation,
do. It doesn't study capitalism. Instead, of the capitalist class, albeit ecological destruction, and other oppres
political science seeks to understand poli one with democratic sions that so disfigure present society,
tics and the state (to the small degree it still both as scholars and citizens we need to
concerns itself with the state) while com trimmings. know what they are.
pletely ignoring the capitalist context that It is also the absence of capitalism from
provides the biggest part of the explanation political science that leads to the ghet
for both. Worse still, the partial, fragmented, static, one-sided, toization of political theory within political science, so that
methodologically individualistic, psychologistic, caricaturally sci American Politics, Comparative Government, International
entistic, mathematics drenched and ideologically biased accounts it Relations, etc. go on as if Aristotle, Hobbes, Montesquieu,
offers for the narrow range of political phenomena it does examine Rousseau, and Burke, let alone Marx, never lived. Their common
makes it much harder for students of political science to grasp a message on the importance of contextualization is simply too threat
Marxist explanation, should they ever come across one. ening to a discipline set on avoiding the capitalist context in which
It is the absence of capitalism from the analyses of political sci everything it studies takes place.
ence that allows it to separate politics from economics, sociology And most disturbing of all, it is the absence of capitalism from
and history in creating a separate political sphere and even, in political science that allows it?despite all evidence to the con
Seymour Martin Lipset's words, a "political man," and then to break trary?to treat our society as a democracy made up of equal citizens
up politics into even smaller pieces-like the act of choosing-that rather than a dictatorship of the capitalist class, albeit one with
seem to be completely independent of the capitalist society in which democratic trimmings. It also enables political scientists to believe
they exist/take place.15 The result is that most political science that their efforts in support of democracy serve mainly to encourage
resembles a combination of reports on one-sided phone conversa our society to live up to its democratic ideals, rather than to trivialize
tions and still photos of a bird in flight. Essential relations and and to hide its non-democratic premises and practices. Here is the
movement (process, change, transformation) are both missing. Here chief source of the ineffectual idealism of so much political science
is the source of the trivia that most political scientists end up study that, on the personal level, appears to moderate critics as "naivete"
ing. Except where moderate and even many radical critics of the dis and to radical critics as "bad faith."

cipline disparage the study of such trivia as-well-trivial, Marxists Whatever else it does, avoiding capitalism, it turns out, is the
view it as very important for what it hides, disguises or rejects. This main job of political science. As in the Sherlock Holmes story, Silver
work has an ideological function that is anything but trivial. Blaze, it is the dog that doesn't bark that furnishes the key to the

72 The Good Society

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
mystery.16 Whereas high school civics teachers can openly sing the Endnotes
praises of our "democratic" capitalist system, political scientists?
1. This paper is a slightly revised version of my contribution to the
dealing with a somewhat more sophisticated audience?serve the
debate held on this topic with Immanuel Wallerstein, Sidney Verba, and
same legitimating purpose by carefully omitting the entire capitalist Robert Bates at the 1999 Meetings of the American Political Science
context, knowledge of which would explode all the myths of the dis Association.
cipline. With capitalism absent, political science can then present the 2. Sommit, A., and Tannenhouse, J., American Political Science,
state (or, through a culpable silence, allow the state to present itself) Profile of a Discipline (New York, 1964), p.14.
as a set of institutions independent of the capitalist class, and there 3. For a good example of such self-satisfaction, see the Introduction
fore more or less available to any group that organizes itself effec in Goodin, R., and Klingeman, H.D., eds., A New Handbook of Political
tively to use it. Denying that this is so, of course, doesn't mean that Science (Oxford Univ. Press, 1996).
Marxists cannot recognize a certain relative autonomy on the part of 4. Auden, W.H., "Under Which Lyre: A Reactionary Tract for the
state institutions and actors in special circumstances; but these are Times," Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957 (Random House, 1967), p.221.
exceptions, and it is the rule, class dictatorship, that needs to be pre 5. Lindblom, C, "Another State of Mind: Presidential Address
sented first and emphasized most. APSA, 1981," APSR, vol. 76 (Mar., 1982); see, too, Inquiry and Change
Few things are more important to the legitimation of capitalist (Yale U.P., 1990); "Political Science in the 1940s and 1950s", in American

rule than the assurance given by political science that the dictator Academic Culture in Transformation: 50 Years, 4 Academic Disciplines,

ship of the capitalist class in which we live is really a democratic ed. by T. Bender and CE. Schorske (Princeton U.P., 1997), pp.243-270;

state of the whole people. In a period of growing economic inequal and Lindblom, C, and Cohen, D.K., Usable Knowledge: Social Science
and Social Problem Solving (Yale U.P., 1979).
ity and its accompanying insecurities, the capitalist class has a press
ing need for the kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that 6. Treibwasser, M., "The Squelching of the Corporate Connection:
the Great American Textbook Coverup," New Political Science (forthcom
only political science, with its academic credentials and pretension
ing). Those wanting more detail on this fascinating story should consult
to objectivity and science, can deliver. And deliver it does. Whoever
Treibwasser's 1200 page Ph.D. thesis, American Government by the Book
it was who called economics the "dismal science" should have
(N.Y.U., 1978).
another look at political science. But, as I said earlier, where there is
7. Shapiro, I, and Green, D., Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory
life, there are contradictions, and where there are contradictions,
(Yale U.P., 1994).
there is hope. In this spirit, let me conclude by saying that if political
8. Madison, J., "Federalist 10," in The Federalist Papers by J.
science really wishes to advance the cause of democracy (as one of
Madison, A. Hamilton and J. Jay (Bantam Books, 1982), p.45.
the myths of our discipline already has it doing), we should help
9. Quoted in Parenti, M., History as Mystery (San Francisco: City
people understand that the main barrier to democracy today is capi
Light Books, 1999), p.209.
talism. This requires, of course, that we drop the loaded assumption,
10. Eisenhower, D. D., "Farewell Address," Speeches of American
"All things being equal," with which most political science studies
Presidents, ed. by J. Podel and S. Anzovin (N.Y.: H.W. Wilson Co., 1998),
begin, and replace it with an examination, however brief, of capital
p.595.
ism and how the inequalities and ideology associated with it impact
11. For an extremely honorable recent exception, see Ferguson, T.,
on what we intend to study. Given the importance of the capitalist
The Golden Rule: the Investment Theory of Party Competition and the
context for everything that goes on inside it, this is also a first step Logic of Money Driven Political Systems (U. of Chicago Press, 1995).
toward making our research truly scientific, that is capable of uncov 12. Lindblom, C, "Political Science in the 1940s and 1950s," in
ering how the state and politics really work, and how?with the American Academic Culture: Transformation: 50 Years, 4 Academic
democratization of undemocratic capitalist relations of production, Disciplines, pp.265-6.
distribution and exchange?they might yet come to work for every 13. See any issue of New Political Science for example.
one. Now here is a non-trivial agenda worthy of a political science
14. Marx, K., and Engels, F., Collected Works, vol. 3 (N.Y.: Progress
that aspires to advance the cause of democracy through the use of Publishers, 1975), p.199; Marx, K., and Engels, F., German Ideology, Parts I
scientific methodsl and III (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1938), p.59.

15. Lipset, S.M., Political Man (London: Mercury Books, 1963).


Berteli Oilman is a professor in the department of politics at New York 16. Doyle, A.C., "Silver Blaze," Sherlock Holmes: the Complete
University. Illustrated Short Stories (Chancellor Press, London, 1986), p.248.

VolumelO, Number 2 73

This content downloaded from 14.139.40.15 on Tue, 16 May 2017 06:24:45 UTC
All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms