Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Researchers split over NSA hacking"

Here's the comment I posted to this news piece: 

In 1982, I graduated with a B.S. in mathematics. I was young and ignorant and naive, and the only math jobs I knew of were either college teaching or in the military-industrial complex. I didn't think I was good enough in math to go to graduate school and I didn't want to contribute to the war in Viet Nam, so I took another route.

I later came to believe that we should not vilify people who work in industries that we deplore. If liberal academics (like me) condemn others like us except that they might apply for a job that happens to have military connections, only the very boldest will apply and the majority of applicants might well be militaristic jingoist fundamentalists intent on ushering in the apocalypse. (I came of age during the nuclear freeze movement and Secretary of Interior James Watt.)

My characterization of "them" is intentionally exaggerated, but I hope you get the point: If people who share my values are shut out from certain areas of study, only people who don't share my values will have a voice. This is unacceptable in a democracy.

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