Putting science back into political science

Now here is a proposal for a scientific approach to politics I would absolutely get behind the idea of bringing back the states as the laboratories of democracy:

What do politicians do when they think they have a great idea? They just go and implement it. It’s like someone thinking he’s got a cure for cancer and immediately injecting it into everyone he can. That’s a madman, not a scientist. You always have to at least try out your idea on monkeys to make sure it doesn’t kill them.

Were farm subsidies first tried on monkeys? Social Security? Bank bailouts? No, the unscientific politicians went straight to trying all their ideas on humans, and now we have a bunch of bankrupt people instead of harmless bankrupt monkeys.

But the problem with testing political ideas on monkeys is that forcing them to go billions into debt would violate animal-cruelty laws. The only ones we’re allowed to do that to are people.

So we have to just observe the effects of the politicians’ policies — but that’s not so simple. Many say the Obama stimulus was a failure; others say we’d be even worse off without it. With the data we have, we can’t prove who’s right.

In science, when testing things on people, you always use a control group. If you have a drug you think will cut cholesterol, you give it to one set of test subjects. If everyone in the group that took the drug turns purple and starts choking but the control group is fine, we scientifically conclude there’s a problem with the drug. We have an economy that’s turning purple and choking. Did the stimulus cause that? If we had a control group that looked fine, we’d know.

So what we need to do is isolate part of the country to be the control group. They’ll be free from new taxes, won’t take part in government programs and regulations and can have all the guns they want. In the rest of America, politicians can go crazy with every Keynesian idea, ban trans fats and salt and just generally control everything. Then we can compare the results of the two groups and finally have a scientific answer on what works.

The only serious problem with the proposal is that everyone with half a brain or more would want to live in the unfortunately named control group. And even the liberals would start to figure it out eventually, as can be seen by their ongoing migration from the liberal states they’ve ruined to more conservative states.

Here’s the ironic thing. Due to their tendency towards the political left and their increasing dependence upon government spending, some of the biggest opponents of a scientific approach to politics would probably be scientists and the science lobby.

But it would certainly be amusing to see all the leftists in the experimental groups arguing that the policy would have worked if only it hadn’t relied on a population full of morons like themselves.

PS – For those who are following the Memorial Debate, I have just sent off my Round Two post to Dominic. So, we’re on schedule.