When the laws of social dynamics are codified, surely the First will be that people see what they want to see. Given its universality, the First Law is no less applicable to scholars than anyone else. As political scientists, seeing what we want to see in a colleague's work, we find it “insightful,” “constructive,” and “important”; alternatively, not seeing in it what we want to see or, even worse, seeing what we don't want to see, we find it “turgid,” “misleading,” and “trivial.”
So it is with Hanrieder's formulation. Since it is only a bare outline and contains no data, no one is likely to regard his article as a definitive statement, but reactions to it are likely to be quite varied and conflicting. Some readers, especially those who worry about the prevalence of a malady they call “methodologism” in political science, will see in Hanrieder's effort to develop the concepts of compatibility and consensus yet another case of the quibbling over words that is the prime symptom of this affliction. After all, such critics will point out, compatibility and consensus are, respectively, only thirteen- and nine-letter words and to claim great explanatory power for them without elaboration is to substitute the form of language for the substance of thought. In a similar manner those long committed to a particular framework for examining foreign policy phenomena will preserve their commitment and wonder why Hanrieder makes so much fuss about the need for a new formulation when the available conceptual equipment seems capable of handling the convergence of national and international politics. After all, these analysts will conclude, Hanrieder himself says that researchers should be less inclined to create new schemes and more ready to build on existing ones; why, then, does he not follow his own advice?
On the other hand, analysts who are themselves perplexed by the convergence of national and international politics are likely to be more sympathetic to Hanrieder's effort, if not to its result. They may have doubts as to whether Hanrieder's unqualified claims for the concepts of compatibility and consensus are justified, but they will see his article as a serious attempt to confront a genuine and difficult problem.