The Perils Of Political Science
Politics and Activism

The Perils Of Political Science

When it comes to politics, everyone thinks they're right.


I am a political science major and I love it. I love the classes, the professors and from time to time, I even enjoy writing the papers. We learn about topics as different as presidential cycles and the Lockean proviso, modern terrorism and Nigerian coups, and even the international political economy and what defines a Machiavellian prince. We learn about the factors that lead to modernization at the same level of depth and complexity as an English major would learn about Shakespeare or a chemistry major would learn about the periodic table.

But what is the difference between political science and all other majors? Well, when a biology major tells you about genetics, you’ll usually take his word that DNA is composed of a chain of nucleotides. However, when a political science major tells you that funding Syrian rebel groups really isn’t a viable option, you might enter into a very long and upsetting conversation where you explain beyond a reasonable doubt that Syrian rebel groups are obviously the best course of action to ensure peace and stability in the region. The experience political science majors receive when recounting what they learned from class is not to be unexpected, but it is disconcerting nonetheless. When I bring up points about American politics, not only do people from other majors think I’m wrong, but they think they know more than me.

I am not an expert, but only a student. I cannot and will not claim that I am some kind of an authority on matters of politics, because I am not. But my major does afford me access to information about politics that my fellow students do not receive. People in other majors probably have not heard the phrase, “Presidential power is the power to persuade.” This maxim, coined by Richard Neustadt, is among the most famous lines to describe the nature of presidential power. Although most people have not heard of Richard Neustadt, they usually agree with the meaning of this statement without even realizing it. Essentially, this quote means that the power of the president resides in his ability to use his office to convince other politicians, the American people, and even members of his own administration to follow his lead.

This conventional view of American politics is generally accepted, and even those with minimal interest in political matter tend to agree because it is logical. However, contemporary studies have disproved this theory by recording the incredible lack of influence presidents actually have on changing anyone’s opinion on anything. But no matter what texts I can reference, like those by George C. Edwards III, I find that the conventional explanations win because they are far easier to accept.

That is the peril of being a political science major. No matter what we learn in class, our knowledge is controversial to everyone. What Shakespeare’s intent was in Hamlet may be very open to debate, but I have never seen students argue on that topic. Conversely, political debates are very common. It often seems as though what I learn is irrelevant, because I will always find resistance when I try to recount an interesting perspective I learned in class. Often, at the lunch table, the best I can hope for is a conciliatory shake of the head as we finish yet another fruitless political discussion.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Politics and Activism

4 Ways The Plan To Deport International Students Is Dumb, According To An Exchange Student

The whole policy isn't very stay-in-place, if you ask me.

Wikimedia Commons

On Monday, July 6, new federal guidelines were announced that do not allow international students to remain in the U.S. unless they are taking classes in person. Which, if you ask me, is stupid.

Keep Reading... Show less

Naya Rivera Is Missing, And She Deserves SO Much More Than Being Labeled 'Big Sean's' Ex'

We are all sending prayers to Naya Rivera hoping she finds them so we can find her.

I woke up this morning looking to find Naya Rivera's name trending No. 1 on Twitter. I was reading all of everyone's prayers wishing to find her so she can be reunited with her baby boy who is only 4 years old.

Naya's son's name is Lord and the entire collective is hoping the Lord is with him right now. I'm a firm believer in the Fear of God, I hope all of Naya's love is protecting Lord right now.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still surging in the United States, where we are averaging 50,000 cases daily, wearing a face mask has become even more important. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has stressed the importance of wearing a mask and is pleading Americans to take notice of the "disturbing" rise in cases. It would be common sense to listen to him, considering we are dealing with a virus that has a mortality rate higher than what we have seen with other viruses.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Sex Toys You NEED To Turn Up The Heat This Summer

They say diamonds are a girl's best friend, but...

It's your fairy sex godmother back at it again and here to tell you that masturbating is an essential need, just like toilet paper.

It comes with so many benefits, besides cumming. According to the New York City Health Department, "you are your safest sex partner" during a pandemic, so why not use the best toys to get the job done? Shopping for the best fit can be tricky because there are a few factors to consider — whether it's the price point, experience, sound, and more.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 3 Smoothies Totally Cleared My Acne-Prone And Scarred Skin

How I drank my way to flawless skin.

With this summer being the first of its kind for most people to be in the midst of a global pandemic, almost everyone is beginning to have an overall focus on improving their health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Everyone remembers the first time they went to one of the Disney parks. Spinning in teacups and having Goofy wrap his arms around my 8-year-old self were some of my fondest childhood memories, and I'm surely not alone in that.

Keep Reading... Show less

These Superfood Beauty Products Show Kale And Matcha Work For SO Much More Than We Thought

Just another summer's day with a cold glass of kombucha on my face.

I've been vegan for about six years now, so a love for fresh vegetables and superfoods has now become a core part of my being. Don't get me wrong. I love my indulgent, creamy pastas and truffle fries more than anyone. But I keep most of my focus on eating clean and healthy so I can indulge guilt-free.

But I'd say about a large part of my diet has always, unknowingly, included superfoods. Being Indian, lentils, beetroot, garlic, ginger, and whole grains have been core essentials on the family dinner table since I could digest solid foods.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments