Too many “isms” in poli sci
“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
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?