C.P. Sorensen on Dec 11, 2020
Understanding the War Industry – Chapter 6, excerpt: Brain Drain
“Brain drain” happens when industry herds intelligent people toward purposes of war, like when a graduate of engineering school goes to work for a war corporation instead of a municipality. Humanity loses skilled human beings as a result. Brain drain is a great tragedy, and the war industry’s biggest success. In Boston, the U.S. Air Force alone funds ninety different research projects, according to the Air Force Secretary [see: https://www.lowellsun.com/2018/04/06/air-force-chief-future-bright-at-hanscom/]. That’s just the publicly declared actions of one branch of the military in one city. Likewise, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego, California, employs thousands, cornering numerous ideas (“intellectual property”) in the process. The “largest number of mathematicians in the world” works for NSA [see: https://live.washingtonpost.com/topsecret-0721.html]. Lockheed Martin alone employs nearly 50,000 scientists and engineers [see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3237&v=gdQKnPhGCHk]. Imagine if these minds were working on problems and projects for the betterment of humanity and the planet, instead of devising more ingenious ways to surveil or murder. Imagine the possibilities.
The war industry and the Pentagon have established many more programs to exploit U.S. academia. Covering a fraction of publicly available contracts, this chapter demonstrated the problems associated with academia’s role in the war industry. Many contracts between U.S. academia and the Pentagon are not even disclosed; the public will never know the true extent of the collaboration. Universities have transformed themselves into war corporations because it’s financially and professionally profitable. But there is an added bonus for the Pentagon: Dominating academia with war funding crowds out those who wish to use academia for non-militant scholarship.
Effective science is based on free, open discussion. Pentagon funding and stipulations (compartmentalization, shoehorned focus, classification, near-term deadlines, stovepiped fields) oppose free, open discussion. War science is suffocated at best, stagnant and deviant at worst. Breakthroughs require the open, secure inquiry and inquisitive self-determination of an unrestrained academic. Major breakthroughs do not happen regularly when academics are tied to military-industry funding priorities, schedules, and narrow mental confines. Military and industry shun and condemn the polymath, the free thinker, and the uninhibited tinkerer. Military and industry embrace and fund the careerist, the complicit academic, the rigid functionary, the greedy corporatist, and the aspiring bureaucrat. These people may possess strong minds, but they are minds that will never make the scientific breakthroughs society needs. The corruption of colleges and universities inhibits genuine academic growth. The fields of science and mathematics, integral to the war industry, are particularly corrupted. The university is a corporation in outlook, soul, and deed—a full member of the war industry.
Christian Sorensen is a novelist and independent journalist. His work focuses on the U.S. war industry. His new book is Understanding the War Industry. Support Christian on Patreon. His website is War Industry Muster.
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