Paul Stoller considers the implications of ‘anti-science’ political candidates being elected to high office in the US and the likely impact on the humanities and social sciences, in a blog for the Huffington Post.
“…Should an anti-science candidate like Rick Perry get elected to the U.S. presidency, what might we expect in the world of higher education? He would most certainly appoint like-minded cronies to important posts to implement his anti-science policies. Citing the lack of its economic return, he would probably recommend that the federal funding of pure scientific research be cut substantially. Like David Cameron, he would probably be thrilled to cut research in the social science and humanities, an exceedingly small slice of the current federal budget, to unsustainable levels. He would probably want to make deeper cuts to federal programs that help students pay increasingly high college tuitions.These kinds of political moves, which are based upon an ignorant populism that falsely cast scientists and humanists as members of an effete elite, would obliterate higher education in America. In Governor Perry’s Anti-Science America the drastic restriction of education funding would “dumb-down” the curriculum, make it exceedingly difficult for scholars to engage in research to contribute to knowledge and refine teaching, and would make it impossible for millions of deserving students to educate themselves in what is now an highly competitive world in which getting a job requires the skills you acquire in a college or a university.
“But life is more than simply going to work, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, and returning home. If you deny the value of science, the arts, and the humanities, if you cast aspersions on college and university teaching, what does that mean for the quality of social life in America? It means that in Rick Perry’s Anti-Science America, in which the gap between rich and poor would increase even more, poverty would not only be expressed economically, but socially and culturally as well…”