Going through some old links, I rediscovered this old testimony. This is the most beautiful defense of scientific research I have ever seen:
SENATOR PASTORE. Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of the country?
DR. WILSON. No, sir; I do not believe so.
SENATOR PASTORE. Nothing at all?
DR. WILSON. Nothing at all.
SENATOR PASTORE. It has no value in that respect?
DR. WILSON. It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things.
It has nothing to do with the military. I am sorry.
SENATOR PASTORE. Don’t be sorry for it.
DR. WILSON. I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.
SENATOR PASTORE. Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?
DR. WILSON. Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about.
In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending.