In the comment box under Targeting People, my friend Matt S made the comment of the year. The paradox of ideology found here:
Too funny: progressives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable suspicion” (racial profiling, abuse of the system), while conservatives fear big government deciding what is “reasonable health care” (genetic and biological profiling, abuse of the system). Big government is big government.
Matt S comment sums up the process of politics — which I like discussing, but do not teach. Hence, I will teach the AP U.S. Government and Politics course next year as well as a course in Macroeconomics for the first time in four years. These are courses I am easily comfortable with and have a vast understanding of, though they are so different from a history course. I will admit that I like the graphs and economic theories that shape public policy. However, as a historian, the study and teaching of history creates greater debates due to being rooted in interpretation and past phenomena. That is not the case for “political science” type courses. They are driven by quantitative and behavioral analysis. People too often get caught up in the emotion of politics, however, those who understand it know that there is a predictability factor making it far more scientific. I am sure there are students wondering if I will approach this course from a biased perspective. The reality of course is that it is hard to be biased when one has data in front of them. Thus, I think I find the teaching of history to be far more interesting. I hope to do a good job blending the two.
As stated in my title, I do not teach politics; I teach about behavioral actions shaped by historical trends that bring about political actions. I will paraphrase what Professor Mark A. Elrod of Harding University once stated: “The teaching of political science is like being a surgeon, he is focused on fixing current problems, whereas a historians is like a mortician, who examines the past.”
I tend to see dead people.