Remember the video for that Blind Melon song ("No Rain") where the little girl walked around dancing in a bee costume for various unappreciative audience until she finally found her way to a field where everyone was dancing around in bee costumes? I feel this way when I read certain literatures about causal inference. Awhile back, I was actually listening to "No Rain" on a quasi-loop right now while looking through articles on problems in causal inference via instrumental variables. (No, I’m not kidding.)
Truth be told, I have long held these grand ambitions about being a leading figure in what I have come to refer to as the Postcounterfactualist School of Causal Reasoning in the social sciences. The only problem is, at least in sociology, the Counterfactualist School still hasn't managed to secure even that much of a foothold, much less the hegemonic-oppressive-strangulation-grip on the discipline it needs to have before the radically clever precepts of Postcounterfactualism will make sense to the masses. If you spend any time following the intellectual history of social thought, you soon conclude that one can only truly make a mark by being exactly one step ahead of things; if you are more than that, the most you can hope for is to be "rediscovered" later by the folks who really mattered, who will perhaps profess their lament for how you were "underappreciated."
So, instead of setting myself up for that sorry fate, I'm biding my time.
Well, biding my time and primping, because the Postcounterfactualists will be fighting such an uphill battle that we will not be able to succeed on the basis of our winning ideas and shining rhetoric alone, but we will have to look appealing as well. Indeed, I have already started saving for the botox, hair plugs, and extensive cosmetic dentistry that will be needed to even start to convince others of the wisdom of the postcounterfactualist heterodoxy. And yet, I am completely convinced that, if only we can muster enough early followers and skin-care products, a victory march through the grove of academe will eventually be ours.
My only worry is that as we Postcounterfactualists finally reach our triumph after decades of struggle, it will turn out to be at the very moment that the alien overlords watching over academia determine that astrosociology is getting too close to discovering The Truth and that the Earth needs to be destroyed.