Posted by: CJ | April 23, 2010

Bad for my hippy cred

Over the past few years, I’ve started to think that maybe, just maybe, accepting defense department money as a scientist isn’t a sin.

Rather than try to explain why I ever thought it was a sin in the first place, I’ll just say that in matters of military force I’m a relatively standard peacenik. The only real difference is that I’m analytical enough and spiteful enough that I’m a peacenik in spite of my natural inclination to torture and murder anything that annoys me.

So on to why I’m not sure anymore that taking defense money is a bad thing. It’s simple. A lot of countries use the government to channel money into long-term research. It’s just prudent planning for the long-term. But America is much better at giving money when it’s labeled defense or military. It’s just a word thing–as a nation, we’re pro-anything-that-might-blow-people-up, and anti-anything-that-might-stop-suffering-without-mini-action-heroes. So the DOD can be just a way for the US federal government to channel more money into long-term research projects without having to tell the public “we’re pouring money into science hoping that if we pour enough in they’ll shit something useful out”.

With this viewpoint, DOD money is more acceptable. Still  not as nice as money from non-people-who-are-glorified-for-leaving-bodies-and-burned-villages-in-their-wake, but politics and business as usual otherwise.

At least this is what I’m currently thinking. I’m not sure how much I’ll believe it in a few years, but it doesn’t seem completely unreasonable.


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