Yesterday the Senate passed the Coburn amendment cutting off funds for political science research through the National Science Foundation. It was by a voice vote, which is another way of saying that it was so unanimous that no one bothered to even count hands. So that doesn’t bode well. I heard on NPR that the money will instead go to cancer research, which is a pretty clever move. Needless to say, APSA didn’t mention that in the press release. I must say that I would rather that the government spend money to help find a cure for the disease killing Aunt Millie than help Bueno de Mesquita advance selectorate theory.
But……… Coburn, who has probably trying to be too clever, left a weakness in the system as there is an exception for research that promotes “national security or the economic interests of the United States.” Dumbass, this is our bread and butter. We can “securitize” anything. In fact we learned how from you bozos. The bad news for large-N researchers compiling big datasets is that they are going to have to read a lot of Ole Weaver, which is going to be very hard for them. But if th at is the difference between a million dollars in grant money or rerunning the Correlates of War, I think I know what they will choose.
Let’s show you how easy this is by playing six degrees of securitization. You can take any political science problem and justify it on the basis of national security in six steps or fewer.
Example #1: I am interested in obtaining funding to understand the causes of genocide. Genocide generates refugee flows. Refugees come to the United States.
Come on. Give me something harder than that.
Example #2: I am interested in studying the abortion policies of states across the world. This will lead us to insights about China, which currently has a gender gap due to its one-child policy. There are more boys than girls there. Boys are more aggressive than girls. China is coming! China is coming!
Take that, bitches!
Example #2: I am interested in whether criminal justice systems demonstrate racial discrimination in other countries. Racial discrimination impedes the consolidation of democracy abroad. Democracies are good and don’t fight wars. Let’s promote democracy as it is in the security interests of the United States.
I would have also accepted: Kyra Sedgewick was on the Closer, a legal affairs drama on TNT. She is married to Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon appeared in the film a Few Good Men. A Few Good Men’s plotline concerns the goings-on in the American armed forces. The armed services of the United States are in the national interests of the United States. I think?
Now your turn: pick your research question and securitize it in less than six steps! It’s a game the whole family can play! Fuck you, Coburn!