The Corner

Scientists Libertarian

Jonah: What say I? I say that on reflection, you may be, er, right, and

myself, um, wrong. One says things like that in the flow of blogging

without having all the proper things at the front of your mind.

The main thing I did not have at the front of my mind is M-O-N-E-Y.

Scientists do like to eat and support their families, and a libertarian

regime would offer far, far fewer opportunities for them to do so than the

current arrangement. (I am assuming that a libertarian regime would have,

e.g., a way smaller Dept. of Defense and no such thing as a Dept. of

Energy.)

I think I would still assert some rearguard claim that, financial

self-interest aside, scientists are, **by temperament**, a libertarian lot.

They can read history and literature as well as the next person, and they

know that the grand technocratic fantasies of the early 20th century lead to

no good place — for humanity at large, nor for science.

Scientist as I have encountered them are a wacky lot. Trying to corral them

into some kind of dogmatic establishment or “Mandarinate” would be, as the

saying goes, like herding cats.

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