Saturday, October 2, 2010

Christine O'Donnell and Noam Chomsky: BFF

Here's a by-now famous quote about Delaware Senatorial candidate christine O'Donnell: "American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they're already into this experiment."

You don't have to be a biotechnology expert to sense that Ms. O'Donnell is perhaps not the best informed on these issues. Which is unfortunate, if you want a well-informed pro-business, pro-enterprise candidate. Until recently, in the U.S. the Republican Party filled this role. Unfortunately, barely two decades after the Reagan administration, its candidates are now much more interested in scoring populist points through fear than in defending American innovation. The GOP has candidates who frankly are starting to sound like the radical left. For years Noam Chomsky has been claiming that the American biomedical industry was evil because it did no real research, socializing risk and privatizing profit, a claim that the briefest contact with reality will immediately explode. But here comes Christine O'Donnell, parroting a similar line: that the biomedical industry is evil for doing the wrong kind of research. We're left wondering exactly what kind of research Commissar O'Donnell's scientific politburo would be willing to approve. Is this woman pro free-market or not? This is no time to be sitting on the fence, Christine. American industry has enough enemies without you piling on.

As you might expect, the kind of technical illiteracy that would lead someone to vote for O'Donnell and think they're improving America's business edge has more immediate and profound implications:

"...colleges in Russia, China, and even Iran [are] churning out an order of magnitude more programmers than universities in the US. It is only a matter of time...a generation at most - until our military loses its digital superiority." (From Douglas Rushkoff writing about digital illiteracy.)

If Christine O'Donnell wants to improve America, she should be doing everything she can to help "scientific companies".

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