Scarlet letter 'S'
I think many in the information-collection-and-interpretation fields of government might agree with Dr. Kandel:
Noting that it's "a terrible time for science" in the U.S., Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel has compared the effects of government science policy to the Eisenhower-McCarthy era, when scientists were persecuted for their political beliefs.
Kandel's remarks came during an interview with Science & the City*, the webzine of the New York Academy of Sciences, about his new memoir, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (Norton, March 2006).
"There's very little funding, there's political censorship about what one does and how one speaks about it," he said. "I think the scientific community is extremely concerned about the future of this country given the restrictions on science at the moment."
During the past year, folks at the CIA, NASA, and other agencies have publicly complained about being silenced and about being pressured to "fix the intelligence" around a predetermined policy to support the administration's greedy and underhanded goals. The value of science and other objective information-gathering endeavors is to learn truths about the world, or a little part of it. New, unbiased knowledge enables strategy development which leads to implementation of practices, programs and policies to allow our continued coexistence and progress on this planet. This is a simple linear process. If you skip the first step, the other processes will come to a screeching halt too.
I firmly believe that nature will bite you in the ass if you believe you can just lie, suppress, omit and get away with it. The lie-suppress-omit approach can appear to work in the short term, but in the long term - no. Global warming won't go away because we ignore it [new]. WMD won't appear if we throw a tantrum. And Iraq isn't better off just because we insist that it is.
Most of us learned these basic principles, or a few corollaries, as small children. Wealth, ignorance, or both in the case of Tush, does not exempt anyone from the forces of nature.
* Science & the City has also posted a podcast of their interview with Dr. Kandel.
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