Science Insider has printed a courageous article about the left-wing bias of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences yesterday:
How is that possible? Haven't there been some Republican U.S. presidents after Carter, too?
John Marburger – who was a physicist and a Democrat himself but who served to George W. Bush – may be forgiven: he died in 2011. In the same way, Allan Bromley who worked for George H.W. Bush, died in 2005. But there has been at least one more Republican president after Carter, right? Don't you remember his name?
His name was Ronald Reagan.
When he was asked why this guy's science adviser wasn't invited, the current NAS president and a namesake of Marcus Tullius Cicero replied rather arrogantly that "they didn't want to go that far" (after all, Carter is much closer to them). And that's despite the fact that George Keyworth, the adviser, is not only alive but he represented many of the key and worthy values of science and the major positive developments in the world's history of the late 20th century.
First, Keyworth, a physicist, was an important spokesman who was defending Reagan's Star Wars against some critics, including the communists within the U.S. scientific community. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was an important player that helped the democratic world to defeat the Soviet bloc – which got overheated in the arms races and decided to surrender. Paradoxically enough, this defeat was followed by the explosion of Marxists and other leftist activists within the U.S. scientific community itself.
But Keyworth wasn't about the Star Wars only. (I don't want to discuss his recent membership in the Hewlett-Packard board which ended after Keyworth was too open about the Hewlett-Packard internal data.) He insisted on the value of the basic research. That's why he has also been a backer of Reagan's collider, the 40 TeV proton-proton collider with circumference of 87 kilometers, the Superconducting Supercollider. (The LHC may be viewed as an SSC divided by three and thank God for that.) The collider project got stopped by the U.S. Congress in 1993 during the Clinton-Gore administration.
However, those were not the only activities he was doing. Already in the 1980s, Keyworth noticed the growing infatuation with applied research, especially with ill-defined multidisciplinary research projects. All of us see the amazing cancer that has grown out of this obsession (research which, when done properly, doesn't really need to be funded by the government at all) – as well as the dropping attention to the basic research (where the role of the governments is justified). Keyworth is now sorry that he couldn't do more in the fight against this harmful trend before it was too late.
Keyworth surely wanted to be invited to the symposium of the U.S. presidential science advisers. He wasn't invited as the National Academy of Sciences has increasingly resembled the Soviet institutions in the recent decades. Ideologically biased leftists are everywhere. So instead of Keyworth, the Science Magazine observes, the symposium was full of worthless and colorless "blend-into-the-background" leftists who have had nothing to say.
(Of course, if I don't count John Holdren's musings about the need to sterilize the mankind and barcore everyone at birth so that anonymity is eliminated, each exhaled CO2 molecule is attributed to someone, and soldiers may be safely and immediately killed. Or whatever this loon is saying these days.)
That's sad but the U.S. scientific community will probably need some foreigners to ignite their own Star Wars and bring some life and meaning to the National Academy of Sciences.