No sci­ence in no­tion

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

I en­joy the col­umns of Dr. Bradley Gitz. Mostly, I be­lieve, he is as­tute. How­ever, last Mon­day he dis­cussed Pres­i­dent Trump’s as­cen­dancy and termed that as­cen­dancy “luck.”

Now Gitz has a spe­cialty in “po­lit­i­cal sci­ence.” I sub­mit that this term is a def­i­nite mis­nomer. There is no sci­ence in pol­i­tics. Some have said that po­lit­i­cal power comes from the bar­rel of a gun. Be that as it may, we Amer­i­cans try to make it other­wise.

Un­til the last cen­tury and a half, there was the quaint no­tion of “di­vine prov­i­dence.” Many promi­nent Amer­i­cans, from the founders—Wash­ing­ton, Adams, Jef­fer­son, Franklin, etc.—through the ter­ri­ble Civil War, Lin­coln and many oth­ers be­lieved that there was pre­cious lit­tle luck in the events shap­ing our coun­try’s progress.

An­drew Jack­son would prob­a­bly be con­sid­ered a “thug” today. He killed men in du­els, was out­spo­ken and brash. Yet I think few called it “luck” when he de­feated the Bri­tish in New Or­leans. Even Jack­son be­gan to see him­self as a ser­vant of “di­vine prov­i­dence.”

This whole idea is un­pop­u­lar today. Per­haps it is be­cause di­vine prov­i­dence im­plies both a di­vine be­ing and a pur­pose. And so the no­tion of “luck” is seen as a bet­ter fit.

Gitz says that most any Repub­li­can could have de­feated Hil­lary. What­ever kind of think­ing this is, it is cer­tainly not sci­ence.


Lit­tle Rock

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