May 19, 2007
As a college math major who-- I like to hope-- has found his true calling in law school, I was a little alarmed by this Slate article on Wolfowitz's downfall:
Wolfowitz's doom was all but fated.
Several factors shaped this fate, but not least was the fact that his major in college was math. I've known a few mathematicians who have gone into policy analysis, and they share not merely an intolerance of bureaucracy but a disdain toward all political processes. In math, methodologies and answers are right or wrong, and those who choose the wrong ones are properly ignored or savagely dismissed. Mathematicians who enter the political realm tend to retain this attitude.
Now, dare I say that the methodology of "I've known a few mathematicians who . . . " is probably not a particularly rigorous way to establish that mathematicians who attempt to make decisions about the real world are "fated" for "doom." But maybe that's my intolerant, mathematical background speaking. Comments (4)
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