in 1969, when (Robert R.)Wilson was in the hot seat testifying before the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Sen. John Pastore demanded to know how a multimillion-dollar particle accelerator improved the security of the country. Wilson said the experimental physics machine had nothing at all to do with security, and the senator persisted.These remarks by Wilson are nonsense. A government-funded accelerator has NOTHING to do with "our love of culture," and NOTHING to do with whether or not we are "good painters, good sculptors, great poets." It is neutral on these points, and one could certainly argue that it is negative regarding "the respect with which we regard another" and "the dignity of men" in that he asked the government to fork over the hard-earned money of American citizens just so he could get a new toy (given that it had nothing to do with national security or any other proper role of government, that's exactly what it was.)
It has only to do, Wilson told the lawmakers, with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.
Do you think going to the moon “improved the security of the country”? Or do you think it had more to do with “the respect with which we regard one another” (as Americans)? Which do you really think was more expensive or contributed more to our knowledge of Science, the particle accelerator or the Apollo mission?