1. I will be speaking at a BIG-TIME PANEL at the APSA against NSF funding for political “scientists.” This is on the basis of a quicky blog that was linked here and there as an example evilthinking. I could bring up the noetic heterogeneity issue. But it seems to me that the expanded and heterogeneous conception of science that emerges—science being any disciplined mode of inquiry that gives us partial but real access to the way things are—would allow for a place for funding for, say, the political science of Mr. Ceaser, THE FEDERALIST, and so forth. To go in other direction, though, the real point of the NSF is mostly technology, to fund those kinds of science that generate knowledge, prediction, and control over areas vital to human well-being—such as health and military power. Political science (thank God) is notoriously weak on the prediction and control front. It goes without saying I don’t really care—the NSF budget for political science is only something like $11 million. To show how fair I’m am in principle, it’s obvious that the NEH is mostly too partisan and should be defunded. NPR too.
2. I have to come up with some talk next week for the ISI honors program on the relationship between rights and duties for the free and relational being. Ideas?
3. Please read Ivan the K’s comment in the thread on the relationship between NOETIC HETEROGENEITY and ETERNITY for Strauss. It has to do with the relationship between the strange and wonderful (and contingent?) human person and being itself. That has a lot to do with the knowing the truth about the free and relational being. And so to what extent our access to who the person is is through “the political.” It goes without saying I’m not dismissing specifically political inquiry as deeply serious and endlessly illuminating. Those who diss along those lines—analytical philosophers, MacIntyreans, rational choice theorists, libertarians, and so forth—end up not knowing what they could about our political life. Tocqueville’s anxious waffling on the status of the political should be our guide here.
4. As usual, you have to pay attention to PETE: Chris Christie (who I like in spite of his many errors and personal shortcomings) misunderstands the threat or promise of Rand Paul. So does John McCain (talk about a completely marginalized Republican) when he muses that it would be tough for him to know whether he’d vote for Rand or Hillary. Prudence has to make a comeback when it comes to both foreign policy and the welfare state. A start is Carl’s comment in the thread that our basic entitlements aren’t unconstitutional, and the Republican (see Yuval) promise is how to mend them so that they can be sustainable given the huge demographic issues. And in foreign policy, the prudent position is neither isolationism nor (usually) interventionism.
5. I’m glad to see there’s a whole week of Tocqueville at UVA.