Worried about finds commissionTo the Editor:
I am concerned about what may result from the commission that is being established to investigate the major impact of military funding on research and education at MIT. Unless it produces nothing but idle chatter, it promises to be a menace, because there is no way it could change current policies in a way that would not interfere with normal relations between the military and its contractors, and MIT students and faculty. Any such actions would be unacceptable for three reasons.
First, the academic freedom to choose one's field of interest and sponsors is fundamental to both the philosophy under which MIT operates and our American form of pluralistic, democratic society. Interference in research, education, employment and consulting is inimical to everything that MIT stands for.
Second, the Department of Defense is the primary source of support for many of the disciplines that MIT people are interested in. Maybe the funding should come from elsewhere, but that is a decision for the American people to make through their elected representatives, and not MIT.
Third, MIT has traditionally played a major role in national defense. MIT developments helped prevent a Nazi victory in the Second World War, and have deterred the Soviets from starting the Third.
The MIT community should be glad that the military funds our endeavors, eager to use this opportunity to provide input on the formulation and execution of defense policy, and proud of our contributions to the defense of liberty. I see no way that the commission can improve on the status quo, and I fear the power that it might give to a minority of zealots to restrict our freedoms.
Kenneth P. Katz '85->