My Intellectual Insurance Policy
My The Myth of the Rational Voter argues that many wonderful policies are extremely unlikely to be adopted because voters are deeply irrational. You could call it a bleak conclusion: If my descriptive views about the world of politics are correct, then the world of politics will persistently trample on my normative ideals.
Very sad, but there is a silver lining: My views provide me with a strange intellectual insurance policy. The more my normative ideals lose, the more my descriptive views win. If political disaster strikes, I can claim victory for my social science. And if great policy reforms come to pass, I can claim victory for my political philosophy. Whatever happens, either I win as a scholar or I win as a human being.
It’s a small consolation, but it’s something.