January 16, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 59  

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Too many “isms” in poli sci

Marshall Law
Marshall Bellamy

News Editor

“Are you right wing or left wing?”

That seems to be the question on many political science students’ minds when they first meet someone, especially if they’re also in political science. It seems like a strange and impolite question, not unlike asking someone what colour their underwear is or what their third nipple looks like before asking how they are doing, but politics is usually on the mind of most political science students at any given time.

And this is one of the reasons I have become increasingly disappointed with myself for choosing one half of my degree to be political science — the other reason being my inability to comprehend what the hell is being said and written throughout the classes and readings. For example: “the normative consociationalist structure of the concurrent bicameral electorate is differentiated by the blah... blah... blah... blah.”

I have often found myself written off as a leftist, flag-burning, pacifist, deficit-incurring, wishy washy, gun-hating, family values-eroding, union-loving, bleeding heart by many right-wing political science acquaintances, who in turn would be similarly written off as gun-toting, gung ho, warmongering, poor-hating, union-bashing, capitalist whores by many lefties I have met.

While I often disagree with many other political sciences students on some of their views, I do not go so far as to ignore or even dislike those with different views than myself. It’s childish. Plain and simple.

It also seems to be the habit of many to attempt to solicit their political beliefs in an almost dogmatic fashion — they feel the need to make you believe in capitalism, communism, liberalism, authoritarianism, conservatism, pacifism, fascism, socialism, botulism or whatever.

Many partisan political science students, though not all of them, would not be afraid to point out to the survivors emerging from a concentration camp that if they had voted for the right-wing party or the left- wing party, none of this would have ever happened.

Lately, however, I have been realizing that life is too good to be sweating over what someone else believes. In fact, I’m reminded of the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself.”

He had a pretty good point, one we should all take to heart. After all, are someone else’s ideas really worth all of the trouble?



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