What Would a Physicist Do?
Rep. Ehlers (February APS News, Back Page
) has shared his thoughts on having a physicist (or other scientist) as president of the country. While I certainly would not argue with his points on education, innovation and analytical thinking, I otherwise find his discussion narrow and parochial.
As a physicist who has a son in his FOURTH tour of duty in Iraq, I would want to know:
What would a physicist do about the Iraq War? We know Rep. Ehlers voted for it, that’s not a good start for recommending physicists as political leaders.
What would a physicist do about the US military/industrial/university complex that costs the taxpayers $750B to $1T per year, more than the rest of the world combined spends on its military establishments?
What would a physicist do about the American Empire maintained by its military strength exerted through 11 carrier battle groups and more than 700 military installations in over 70 countries world wide, and by its economic strength exerted through the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO?
What would a physicist do about global warming? About an economic model that does not price in war, subsidies, world wide ecological damage, public health, and failed/failing states, and other externalities into the cost of fossil fuels?
What would a physicist do about the new Golden Age of income disparity that threatens our middle class, and hence our democracy? Or about universal health care? Or about our aging infrastructure?
Given that physicists have played, and continue to play, such a key role in development and maintenance of our nuclear arsenal: What would a physicist do about our stockpile of some 8000 warheads? About counter proliferation?
There is much, much more for a physicist, or anyone, to do. Gerard Bricks Kennett Square, PA