It is never a good idea when politics tries to dictate what and/or how science works. No matter if it is in terms of methods and/or topics. While it is important to have the structures in place to ensure ethical aspects relating to scientific work then the politics should stay out of the practical aspects of scientific work. We have seen again and again how politics can corrupt and slow down scientific progress. Stem cell research and the discussion on climate change are examples of this.
Politics can set a focus on particular broad area of scientific inquiry but as soon as it sets out what should be researched and on which terms, it takes out a dictating role. A role that can only harm our progress.
There is a role for government and often governments and the scientific community of a country have to work together like in space exploration or during time of war. Government should fund scientific research and use science to formulate evidence for public policy such as in education, efficient and effective delivery of public services.
In the same way scientists should not be put in the situation where they have to be fighting for particular policies in their role as scientists. When politicians deny science, deliberately misrepresent scientific conclusions or try to undermine the credibility of scientific research – the scientific community is forced to respond. That situation can never be good in the long term.