Science may cause wars, although an extreme perspective, highly possible. The United States is subjective towards where they spend their dollars. However, they are quick on devoting expenditures towards high technology for the purpose of “national security”. But genuinely speaking, is spending money on technological inventions helpful or harmful?
On March 4th, 1969, a protest broke out on the steps of Massachusetts Institute of Technology otherwise known as MIT. The protest was against the United States and their involvement in the Vietnam War. Primarily, it was to protest the role of science in society. March 4th is a movement, not a day. The reason why the protest broke out at MIT was due to the technology being used during the war and MIT’s involvement in developing such tools for the U.S. Department of Defense. Since the protest on March 4th, the day has been chosen as an annual occasion to gather and talk about the impact science, protest, and technology have on society. However, not many were pleased with the march MIT took against “research stoppage”. But, MIT’s stand against research was necessary. These actives (protesting) arguably helped to end the Vietnam War.Near the end of 1968, a year before the protest broke out, 37,000 American soldiers had died in Vietnam conflict and a draft lottery pulled about 300,000 men into the military that year alone (King and Bernstein 907). American lives were being destroyed and at what cost? Although there are those who argue that the American government saw it as a way of protecting the nation from a greater threat and more lives could have been lost, people must take into consideration that part of the reason wars were breaking out was because the U.S had access to these new inventions. Additionally, it is plausible to assume that the American government had the right idea but not the correct intentions with new technology being built and how they used this technology essentially. It is equally important to show people that science should not just be about creating war toys but instead for the good it can do for people as well. This eventgave individuals a different outlook on how crucial it is to understand the role science and technology play in evaluation to society as well as how protest can be helpful on controlling the use and research of these factors before it gets out of hand.
The United States pays MIT $500 million a yearfor new technological inventions such as drones, nuclear war heads, and other projects for the U.S Department of Defense. Some consider this to be an insane amount of money for scientific inventions that can end lives rather than save lives. The use of research and technology should be for peaceful purposes (King and Bernstein 907). Such as housing, health care, education, environmental protection, etc. On the other hand, it is difficult for science to be for peaceful purposes because of companies, such as Google.Many of Google’s employees protest by walking out because they do not agree with the way Google chooses to handle their work. For instance, Google was working on a project that was meant for communication between friends however, it turned into a project that would track drones and invade a person’s privacy. Employees did not like that, so they would walk out as a protest. Science is starting to become more dangerous because instead of finding ways to save lives or focus on positive effects, scientist are simply giving in to executive orders and creating war inventions.
Young scientists, in particular, need to fight for a peaceful future (King and Bernstein 907). There have been things like climate change that scientist want to tackle but cannot because such commitment and engagement once again must be given up to the renewed danger of nuclear war (King and Bernstein 907). The Trump administration announced that they will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which can create nuclear tension with Russia. Russia soon after began to bolster their nuclear arms. Withdrawing from the treaty with Russia can cause serious national security threats. Congress has agreed to covered $1.7 trillion (King and Bernstein 907) over the next 25 years to rein enforce nuclear arms. Thus, scientist must now stop what they are doing to create new inventions that help individuals, to create more powerful war tools. Although the strength of nuclear power is essential to a dominating force such as the United States, the standard of living must also have substantial value and ought to be a top priority for the government. Science is beginning to become destructive and individuals must begin to protest towards a more helpful tomorrow such as science for health care, climate change, biomedical research, etc.
Douglas G. Deboorah. Director of Collections, Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum; Research Associate, Program in science, Technology, and Society.
King, Jonathan, and Aron, Bernstein. “Mobilize for Peace”. Science. Vol. 363, no. 6430, Mar. 2019, pp. 907.
The Power of Protest: MIT March 4that 50 Years
Costello, Ryan. activist, leader of Coalition to Stop the Genocide in Yeman.
Jaques, Abby. MIT Philosophy; Ethics lead for MIT’s Quest for Intelligence.
Photo by: Associated Press and Dailymail.com Reporter, “‘You’re out of your element, Donald’: Scientists march against Trump’s budget cuts and ‘growing anti-research sentiment'”