The natives are restless.
Hello, we are the Alternative National Park Service Twitter Account activated in time of war and censorship to ensure fact-based education. https://t.co/Ez8twyES7p
— AltUSNatParkService (@AltNatParkSer) January 25, 2017
To prevent Hatch Act violations, ownership of this account has been given to two people who are not employees of the federal government.
— Rogue NASA (@RogueNASA) January 26, 2017
Climate change will disappear from one web site, but it will remain a part of our reality.https://t.co/SWRM4H3FB0
— altEPA (@altUSEPA) January 26, 2017
It appears that President Eisenhower was more than prescient when he bade his farewell to the country in 1961. Tweets like these remind me of his words:
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
This self-anointed elite shows its true colors in calling for “resistance” to being subjected to subordination to the elected government, cost-benefit analyses, and what is apparently a much-needed dose of humility. Were I to defy my superiors at my job, I’d be axed in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Should my work make sense and aim to get the most bang for the drachma, er, buck? Absolutely. And the hubris shown in these tweets is astonishing.
The same people who take heed of Ike’s warning about the Military-Industrial Complex have completely neglected his words of warning about the Scientific-Government Complex. When grant money is dependent on toeing the line regarding science, the line will be toed. Just as a defense contract is most difficult to shut down if parts are manufactured in 435 Congressional districts, when institutional science has momentum and is given the power to create policy, freedoms will be trampled. You can’t buy a new compact pickup. The Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10, and Nissan Hardbody are no longer sold in the United States because of EPA regulations regarding fuel mileage. The price of electricity increased under President Obama because of climate regulations. Given a boot, there is a set of people who will apply it to your neck. And some scientists are part of that group.