Rajiv Narayan alerts us to the dire warning that famed astronomer Carl Sagan made in his last interview done with none other then the incomparable Charlie Rose.
Sagan died (17 years ago) of pneumonia at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He had been battling a bone-marrow disease called myelodysplasia for the previous two years.
In listening to the pertinent snippet, I couldn’t help but recall another ominous warning issued by then President Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell address (1961). In that now renowned speech Eisenhower warned of increasing power of the military-industrial complex and further stated:
“. . . we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Like Eisenhower, Sagan offered a similar warning in saying:
“. . . this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces . . . science is more then a body of knowledge it’s a way of thinking . . . if we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs, for the next charlatan, political or religious who comes ambling along. It’s a thing that Jefferson lay great stress on; there wasn’t enough he said, to enshrine some rights in a constitution or a bill of rights; the people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education, otherwise we don’t run the government, the government runs us.”