Military-Industrial Complex and Big Science

World War II was revolutionary insofar as it employed the use of science more than any war that preceded it, leaving a lasting technological legacy. When you consider science as a frontier, there can be found some ideology that echoes that of militaristic expansionism. Though there is plenty of controversy surrounding academia‘s involvement with the military, the government has a lot of money and research universities desperately want funding to do science with. Vannevar Bush writes that “since health well-being and security are proper concerns of government scientific progress is a must be a vital interest to government” (Bush, 430). With  the rapidly increasing rate at which wartime strategies are being innovated and adapted, “modern war requires the use of the most advanced scientific techniques” (Bush 431). 

Dwight Eisenhower recognized that war was an inevitable and that wars would continue to happen as the future unfolds. He sought balance and progress within industry and worried that overproduction of weapons and the resulting militaristic influence would lead to a bloated sense of power and destructiveness in the nation. 

In his piece, Fulbright admonished the President about the destructive effects of war upon the American people and how the growing militarization of the economy in the universities may lead to deepening crises of poverty and race. He further argued that American society has become so deeply entrenched in expanding our military and with so many people depend upon it for their livelihoods the inevitable result will be the “perpetuation of foreign military commitments”.  Fulbright abhorred the “distortion of scholarship” that came about as a result of the growing ties between the government and academia leading to the neglect of the universities most important purpose which is educating its students. 

Barry Goldwater asserts that the “huge worldwide responsibilities” of the United States necessitates a thriving relationship between militaristic goals and the industry that manufactures weapons needed to turn those goals into reality. Furthermore, he thinks to do away with the military industrial complex would mean turning your back on said worldwide responsibilities, developing a national policy of self-isolation. Clearly the scientific military industrial complex is a very polarizing topic which many have developed varied opinions on. 

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