Saturday, March 18, 2017

Preventing our slide into authoritarianism

The US is not an authoritarian state - yet. Are we at risk? Arguably so. Amy Siskind has been keeping track of subtle changes in the US since the election. Her latest Facebook post is here. Since the devolution of a state into authoritarianism is likely to be subtle, we may not realize we have crossed the proverbial Rubicon until it is too late. As scientists and scholars, we also have an obligation to be vigilant, as our ability to conduct our work with any degree of validity requires a free and open society that allows for a free and open exchange of data and ideas. It is also worth noting that there is a subset of American scientists who have signed loyalty oaths to the US Constitution, typically as a prerequisite for obtaining employment in various state and Federal agencies. I am among those who has signed such an oath, and I take my allegiance to the US Constitution and all it stands for quite seriously. Even if one has never signed a loyalty oath, I would advise making clear one's opposition to any noticeable apparent threats to our Constitutional order in the months and years to come. This is something any of us can and should do, regardless of our diverse and sometimes divergent ideological or partisan preferences.

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