Our nature as a species never ceases to amaze me. Somehow we have turned something as basic as knowledge into a devastating weapon. The concept of combining sticks and stones to break each others bones if you will. Now in the post atomic age we harness the power to make the molecules around us to incinerate a city of 350,000 people killing 140,000 of them.
The A.M.I.C (academic-military-industrial complex) promoted the age of “big science” after the events of WWII, and during the Cold War. The seconded world war had an insurmountable lasting effect on the nations of the world, and the rising death toll related to the conflicts following it. So the prospect of investing in combining science and military applications had promising intentions, as they would improve the safety of the public. But many of the American leaders over the next few decades had views for or against the merging fields. Eisenhower was for this merger, believing in a world of violence and chaos our only way to secure peace is keeping a powerful military establishment, so that no potential enemy can or would want to cause harm to the country. Fulbright has the opposite view, referring to the A.M.I.C as “merchants of death”, even though he doesn’t believe it. But he brings up the important point of students and their interests. The government pursuits would interfere with the student generated pursuits, to paraphrase his cited words on page 348.
I think the conflicting differences between these leaders focus on the two very real outcomes of incorporating scientific pursuits with those of the military would place us as the offenders; Priming ourselves for war, inciting others to ignite war, or to build walls and protect ourselves so that we will stand on top when the world has torn itself apart. Either outcome makes us not the good guys in any respect. I think we should work with the rest of the planet to pioneer our future, and maintain our military to help us take baby steps into the unknown.