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
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.