On a related note, here's an excerpt from a post put up yesterday by Thomas Levenson
, who in addition to running Inverse Square
is now also a contributor to Balloon Juice.
Leap now from 1922 to 2010: are [Rep. Adrian] Smith (R-Nebraska) and [Rep. Eric] Cantor [R-Virginia] denouncing particular research grants because of the ethnic or religious affiliation of the researchers?
Are they setting up the conditions in which the question of whether or not a given piece of research is “American” enough?
Yes. They are.
Is this dangerous?
A last note, just to make myself clear: I don’t think that this latest witch hunt is (yet) a direct threat to people interested in inappropriate ideas. It does make us dumber, day by day. Pace every invocation of American exceptionalism, there is no particular reason, as readers of this blog know better than most, that the US of A will remain the undisputed king of all disciplines forever. There is some uncertainty, however, about how fast our competition will arrive, and how likely it will be that we slip beneath the top rank of scientific and technologically innovative national leaders.
And there, the answer is— if Smith and Cantor have their way—sooner and more grievously than we think.
I'd call TL's post an early warning worth paying attention to, and I'd encourage you to read all of "First They Came For The NSF...
And I wonder if Chris Mooney
is taking notes for Volume 2.