Yesterday I answered the question of how Rutte could have let the parliamentary drama of 1/2 April happen. Does that answer contain knowledge? And if so, is it useful to us? If political science is aimed at making useful political knowledge available, what is it? What kind of political knowledge is worth seeking from a scientific stance? And, perhaps just as important today, what kind of political knowledge is useful tout court?
My answer yesterday was about the dynamics exerted by networked influences of and on individuals, their clubs and institutions and jurisdictions, their roles and their support – and their behavior – and the expectations associated with all these elements. This sounds complicated, but it is no different from what the “common man” has known and feels for a long time, no different from common sense. Is that knowledge useful to us? Is that knowledge at all? Isn’t that more of a mood, a shared but vague feeling?
And if so, can we do something with it?
I imagine it would benefit us if we could name configurations of conditions with the associated probabilities that they lead to political disaster scenarios.
To do this, we need a vocabulary that can be used worldwide to explore political configurations and disaster scenarios. Because the Americans judge parts of Chinese politics as a disaster scenario and the Chinese do the same with parts of American politics, new less value-laden concepts must be developed, preferably in the form of variables that can be filled in by observation and measurement.