War on science – what else would you call it?


From Michael Tobis at Only In It For the Gold, an essential blog for Texans:

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Rand Paul proposes half a trillion in cuts to the US government, including:

  • National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is cut by $857 million.
  • NIH is cut by $5.8 billion.
  • DOE is completely defunded, with some nuclear-related tasks shifted to DOD.
  • NASA is cut by $4,500,000,000 (25%)
  • NSF is cut by $4,723,000,000. (62%)

Science? What science?

Cutting the federal budget is difficult.  Yes, we have a crisis in spending.  We also have many crises in education and in research, and many crises in our economy that are, each of them, rooted in a need for new research.

Is Rand Paul a complete fool?  Is he in league with Chinese Exceptionalists?  Are his ears made of tin?  Or is he a warrior against American knowledge and the American future?

This is a debate which needs facts, and people who can evaluate facts and arguments, and people with a vision for a future America — a good vision for a future America.

One gets the feeling that Rand Paul would have gone after the funding for Ben Franklin’s experiments — not because it would help the federal deficits, since Franklin funded his own work — but because he just doesn’t like science. ‘Why should we let Dr. Franklin take lightning from the gods?’ Rand might ask.  ‘Dr. Franklin should stay out of theology.’

And so the modern-day, real Rand Paul, blunders on, waging a War on Science.

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17 Responses to War on science – what else would you call it?

  1. Jim says:

    Apologies for so many typos in my last post. My keyboard is sticking and locking up at times. (I am blaming Ed or Nick or perhaps Ellie or Devona. One of you surely made me laugh recently and gave no advance warning.) A bill for a new keyboard is forthcoming!

    Cheers!
    Jim

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  2. Jim says:

    Greetings, all!

    Much can be said — none of it favorable — about Rand Paul, the politician. (For that matter, I’m not sure much can be said that is positive about Rand Paul, the opthamologist. At least, not based on what I have read.) But this isn’t the time or place for *that* conversation.

    With regard to Paul’s proposed spending cuts, I have no doubt whatsoever than a few of his suggestions aren’t bad at all. I actually like the idea of the DoD being involved — at least to the extent that security is a question — in civilian nuclear power. If we move forward with nuclear technology, and President Obama (extremist liberal that he is, right?) gives every indication that we will, it makes sense to have our military guarding nuclear power plants and even nuclear waste shipments. We’ve seen, in Iraq for instance, that “rent-a-cops” aren’t terribly competent. If we wish to wring our hands about the military industrial complext having access to civilian fissile material, I would respectfully suggest we’ve got the cart before the horse. They are already have control over massive stockpiles of weaponized uranium and nuclear warheads. Securing Davis-Besse or some other plant isn’t going to make them any more war-mad than they might already be. No. Wring your hands and rend your hearts over the fact that nuclear weapons exist at all. There is the great immorality of our age. As to civilian uses, well, the genie is out of the bottle and probably won’t be put back in. You and I might agree that we’re moving too quickly and that the matter of waste disposal, transport and storage is not being taken as seriously as it out. But wishing that our pols would do the right thing hardly means they will.

    I didn’t mean to spill all that here. I’ve been engaged in another forum about nuclear energy and perhaps that’s why it’s coming out now. Apologies. The point I am making is about Rand Paul.

    Yes, the guy is dangerous. Possibly even a madman. He advocates “separate but equal”. He has flirted with the idea of supporting the execution of those involved in abortion (I believe Papa Paul is of that mind, too). And he’s a leading light in the Tea Party movement. That’s enough for me to know he has only the interests of the Plutocracy at heart.

    I think he might be right in proposing cuts to certain line items. If, for instance, transferring control of some nuclear resources to DoD is on the table and will save some money, good. Cuts to NASA? I can live with that. I might not like it, but it’s not an entirely irrational notion. We have got to cut some spending. And those of you who know me, know I am NOT interested in cutting helping programs for the most vulnerable.

    No, the problem with Rand Paul isn’t THIS proposal or THAT proposal. What is it we say about a stopped clock? The problem with Paul and the plutocrats is not so much in what they want to cut (even if we think it’s a bad idea). The problem is with what they absolutely, positively, will NOT cut. And basically, that’s anything benefitting the obscenely rich or the patriarchs of our new Gilded Age.

    Start there “Dr.” Paul. Then we’ll talk.

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  3. Ed Darrell says:

    I think what gets transferred from Energy to Defense under Paul’s plan is nuclear weapons testing. He’s proposing to cut all federal work on nuclear power generation.

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  4. Nick K says:

    The question with the DOE is really do we want the DOD handling civilian nuclear power……

    Until Mr. Paul and his cronies start proposing cuts to the military and to corporate welfare and to propose jettisoning their oh so precious tax cuts to the rich they’re nothing but frauds and hucksters.

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  5. j a higginbotham says:

    Without even considering whether these cuts are good or bad, How can anyone claim Energy is cut 100% ($44b) when about 40% ($18b) is simply transferred elsewhere? How many of the other “cuts” would just be transferred to other agencies?

    ENERGY……………………………………………………$44,200,000,000 (100%)
    The Defense Department takes over all of Energy’s remaining functions (nuclear waste, for example) and about $18 billion of its budget.

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  6. Nick K says:

    To quote:
    Someone is forgetting that the left prefers social entitlements to science programs.

    Someone is forgetting that the right doesn’t like science programs (after all, science teaches people to think) and that the right, as far as social entitlements go, wants the people to just roll over and die.

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  7. Nick K says:

    David writes:
    Rand Paul has put something on the table , lets have the debate without the personal invective. I agree that gutting Gov depts that bring strategic and technological advantage to the US is short sighted , but these are the tough decisions that have been made necessary by America’s present circumstances. Something has to be cut! Obama’s just starting to address this ( inadequately) ..and not to address the debt and deficient would imperil future America even more.

    Then lets see them cut the tax cuts for the rich, David. Lets see them cut military spending. Lets see them get rid of the tax loopholes for the rich and businesses. Lets see them cut corporate welfare.

    In other words, David, lets see them propose cuts that hurt them and hurt their backers first. Until they’re willing to make sacrifices and to ask sacrifices of those who bought them the House, David, they are in no position to ask said sacrifices of anyone else.

    Sorry, David, their sacrifices and who they expect to sacrifice, David, is entirely too one sided.

    So either they put up…or they shut up.

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  8. David Xavier says:

    Rand Paul has put something on the table , lets have the debate without the personal invective. I agree that gutting Gov depts that bring strategic and technological advantage to the US is short sighted , but these are the tough decisions that have been made necessary by America’s present circumstances. Something has to be cut! Obama’s just starting to address this ( inadequately) ..and not to address the debt and deficient would imperil future America even more.

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Someone is forgetting that the left prefers social entitlements to science programs.

    Not fair, not true. Science and education are at the foundation of good social policy.

    It’s not “legal entitlements” that the left favors, it’s good government, a government that works to secure each individuals rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    I suppose the Right is opposed to such “entitlements” as to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness — that’s the impression I get.

    In any case, science helps make business go. Richard T has a good point, and the Miller Center papers make clear that, up to now, the Right wing, the business lobby, and every president with a functioning gray cell and ethical demeanor understood the importance of federal funding of science. 15 states today exist largely as a result of the scientific expedition Thomas Jefferson sent out, under the direction of Professors Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Most of those states would vote to stop such frivolous spending today. Go figure.

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  10. mark says:

    What’s missing from this list? Things that even Defense Secretary Gates said were unneeded.

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  11. Ed Darrell says:

    You’re right, Richard T: We should do more commenting on the self-destructive nature of the anti-science trends.

    See “Abraham Lincoln, Inventor.”

    And see Hunter Dupree’s address at the Miller Center, on presidents and science; I blogged it here at “Science advising and the founders: John Quincy Adams.”

    A good topic for a lengthy series, perhaps.

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  12. […] at Pseudo-Polymath links to this post on Rand Paul’s ideas for cutting the budget, using the line: “Someone is forgetting […]

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  13. Nick K says:

    Kind of telling that the Republican on last weeks’ Real Time with Bill Maher kept on saying that scientists and doctors should out of congress and parliaments.

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  14. Richard T says:

    As a Brit, I suppose this is a bit presumpuous of me to comment but I read of all these libertarians, Tea partiers and Republicans who have been slagging off your President because he delicately pointed out that other folk quite like their own countries too. Yet these super patriots seem hell bent on destroying the knowledge and science base on which you have to grow to survive and where China, India and even socialist old Europe are investing and researching. As an example, they seem totally opposed to high speed rail links so the USA won’t develop the technology or engineering to compete here; the same seems to go for renewables, stem cell research and the rest. Doh! Some of your states seems hell bent of forcing creationism into your schools to destroy the sceince base you need. I just wonder how they cannot see that their whole ethos for the USA is self-destructive.

    And yet I don’t read anyone pointing this out.

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  15. […] Someone is forgetting that the left prefers social entitlements to science programs. […]

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  16. […] Someone is forgetting that the left prefers social entitlements to science programs. […]

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