President Eisenhower was also prescient about the technological revolution

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I could not agree more with the sentiment of John Sabatowski’s letter (“Cheney Promotes an Ideology Eisenhower Warned About,” July 15). President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the influence of the military-industrial complex, expressed in his 1961 farewell address, has never rung more true. But in that farewell address, Mr. Eisenhower also mentioned another concern: “the technological revolution.”

He said: “ … 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.” Further he warned: “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed 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.” Isn’t it funny that this portion of his speech has been largely forgotten?

Lest anyone believe I advocate the end of government funding of research, I again quote Mr. Eisenhower: “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

I would suggest what this country lacks is not the resources or the will, but true statesmen.

KEVIN ELSKEN
Upper St. Clair


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